tips for painting a contrasting back on book shelf

did you know i used to be a painter?  during college i apprenticed as a decorative painter (while also being a nanny, waitress, and office assistant), then got hired on, and eventually started my own business after college.  while most of my time was spent on decorative finishes, distressing, glazing… i always had to make sure the base coat was done really well.  so over the years i learned a thing or 2 about painting!  because i was taught how to mix my own colors and match colors,  i have become very opinionated about colors!


8 years ago we painted the back of our bookshelves a really pretty chocolate brown.  i love the idea of a contrasting color on the back of bookshelves!  but… i was tiring of the brown and ready for a small, subtle change.


i painted it magnet by behr (in the new marquee paint), the perfect grey.  grey can be tricky to get right – i didn’t want it too purple or too green.


i love that both the brown and the grey work great with the distressed wood cover over our tv above our mantel.


the supplies were simple: paint, stir stick (which i didn’t use), 3m ScotchBlue tape, a paint can opener, and a purdy angled sash brush.  not pictured was a roll of paper towels.

because i had this paint at my home for a couple weeks (behr sent me a quart – thanks guys!) it needed to be mixed since the paint had probably settled a bit.  while i did my prep work, i turned the can upside down on its lid to start the remixing process.


i started off by taping off the perimeter of the area i wanted to paint, making sure to keep a straight line.  after i layed all the tape, i went over the edge with my nail to burnish the edge nice and tight.  finally i rolled out a strip of paper towels to cover the shelf top incase i had any drips.  the paper towel wouldn’t necessarily stop any drips from seeping through, but it was just a quick precaution.  paper or plastic would’ve been better, but this was quick and on hand!


before i started painting, i took my upside down paint can and gave it a few minutes of really vigorous shaking.  i didn’t use a paint tray since i was going to brush on the whole job, rather than using a roller.  this is because i was working in small sections and the shelf backing is all beadboard.  a roller would’ve just gotten the surface but not the deeper grooves.  and i didn’t feel like getting out the tray & roller ;)


i waited until morning to pull off the tape.  look how crisp the line is!

all in all, this was a really quick job – i started as soon as the kids went to bed and was done in a couple hours or so, prep & all.  the best part?  i only had to do 1 coat!  this marquee paint says its one coat, and it really is!  if this were regular paint, this job would’ve literally taken twice as long.

this is not a paid post.  i was sent a quart of paint from behr and given a roll of tape from 3m, but these opinions are all my own.  i know many of you like to paint – its one of the cheapest ways to transform a pice of furniture or a room.  i just wanted to give you some tips to make it easier!

come back in a couple days and i’ll show you how i styled my shelves!

diy tassels {weather-proof!}


 i know tassels are all the rage, and i’m super late to the game, but i have a fun little (ok i lied, super long) tutorial so you can make your own!  and i have found a trick to make them last much longer than fragile tissue paper tassels…

 so here’s the story morning glory: we were just a few days away from our spring stitch market and i wanted some quick, cheap decorations for our checkout table and our outdoor walkway.  i was walking through every aisle of target, of course, and i stumbled upon the most beautifully colored plastic table cloth in all the land.  first off, i don’t like plastic table cloths unless they are absolutely necessary.  otherwise, they tend to look as cheap as they are.  but this one was so pretty, and as it turned out, nice and thick.  after a couple days of staring at the table cloth, it hit me: tassels!  the best part:  the plastic doesn’t tear and these are weather-proof!

have you ever read one of my tutorials before?  if not, you’re in for a treat.  and by treat i mean a really long, detailed post with lots of pictures.  because when i’m doing something for the first time, i like to have every question answered before i can even ask it.  so thats what i set out to do!


when you first open the package, the tablecloth is folded into a nice small rectangle.  the fold lines are super helpful for this project, so work with them.  see each of those lines?  cut along them.  yes, you’ll be cutting several layers of tablecloth at once.  it really cuts like butter – so easily!


the cuts don’t have to be perfect at all (yay).  just slowly unroll the folded up tablecloth and keep cutting until you have a big stack of these rectangles. do not open them!


next you cut the strips that will be used at the very end to tie the tassel knot.  its inevitable that one or 2 of the rectangles you’ve cut are going to be odd-sized.  usually the first and last rectangles are the smallest.


first i fold the rectangle in half, top to bottom…


then in half again top to bottom so its now in quarters.


then cut it into small strips, maybe 1/2″ wide.


just keep cutting :)


and then you’re left with a pile of folded strips.


line up all those strips with the factory folds together (not the quartered folds you just made).


then chop the fold off!


once you’ve chopped off the folds on both ends you’re left with a pile of strips.  be sure to separate them all.  they tend to be a bit sticky to each other due to the static electricity.


now to start on the tassels!  take one of the original rectangles you cut.  it should have about 4 layers to it (may vary by manufacturer).  cut open the folds one one end…


and then the other end.


you’ll be left with a nice, neat stack of rectangles.  even though they are no longer attached to each other, don;t separate them yet.  it will make things much harder.


fold in half lengthwise.


then in half widthwise.  in this picture, the fold is on the left and the bottom.


now cut your tassel “legs”.  i go up to about 1 1/2″ from the top fold.


keep cutting legs until the whole piece is cut.  they width of the legs is up to you – 1/2″, 1/4″, whatever.


now open up the cut tassel and it looks like this!  this is 4 layers of tassels all stacked together.


separate the layers now.


because this tablecloth (different from the mint target version) was so thin, i doubled up the layers of tassels.  the picture above is of 2 layers of tassels.


now scrunch the uncut center section all together.


so quick and easy, all scrunched!


now start twisting.  i do this with 2 hands (hard to show with one hand needing to take pictures!).


it helps to rest the twist against a table, or i like to do it on my thigh.  it doesn’t make sense in words, but when you’re twisting you’ll see what i mean.


once you have the entire uncut section twisted nice and tight, it starts to make a loop on it own when you fold the twist in half.


next grab one of those strips you made earlier and hold it in the middle against the base of the loop.


holding the strip with one hand, take one leg of the strip and wrap it around and around until you have a couple inches left.


then do the same with the other leg of the strip.


you’ll be left with 2 short legs.  tie them in a couple knots to secure.


and your tassel is done!  honestly, it probably took you longer to read this tutorial than it does to actually make one.  once they are cut (which doesn’t take long at all), the actual twisting and wrapping probably takes maybe 30 seconds.


 i strung mine on yarn, but any sort of string will work.  sometimes i had to tie the yarn around the loop if the tassel was too “slippy”.

best part of these?  you can leave them up outside on your porch, in your yard, wherever and they won’t get ruined!  and when its time to put them away, you can just shove them in a bag or a box and the wrinkles don’t ruin these tassels.

have fun!