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!



are you guys on instagram?  its my favorite.  no joke.  its such a happy place for me – all the people i love, all the people i’d love to be friends with, all the people who inspire me.  i share sneak peeks of my projects, ask for opinions, and give glimpses into my real everyday life.  i’d love for you to join me!  i’m thepleatedpoppy on insta-g.

every friday i link my weekly phone pics up with my friend, jeannett.  i love having a record here on my blog that feels like a weekly diary for my family and i.


sean travels pretty often for work, but is rarely gone for more than 2 nights.  last week he was gone for over a week, and then before he got home i left for a few days for a trip down south with behr paint.  we were like ships in the night, missing each other.  but after parenting solo (with my parents’ help), as much as i wanted to see him, spending a little more time all to myself seemed like a really good idea!  i had a 4 hour drive home (alone!) and made a stop by ikea and anthropologie.  and it was wonderful!  also, i think i was allergic to color that day – all black and white.


our old chore charts were getting a bit outdated, so i made new ones for the kids.  this picture is so lily.  she was so excited when i made these new charts!  she is type-A all the way!


after visiting the behr paint headquarters and learning about their new 1-coat Marquee paint, i was kind of sold on it!  i tested it out on the back of our shelves surrounding our fireplace and was so happy with the results!  i’ll give all the details soon in another post.


and then of course i had to redecorate the shelves after taking them all apart.  and then i hit a wall.  a decorating wall.  i got this one set of shelves done right and nothing else went well after that.  i have been madly rearranging all of my house and i feel like its all backfiring on me.  grrr its frustrating!  i’m taking a break to rethink it all and just live in the disaster.


the boy’s hair was getting out. of. control.  i love his hair all shaggy, but the kids have been swimming a few days a week and its wreaked havoc on his hair, making it stiff and nappy.  this new cut keeps the length on top, but is so nice and clean around his cute kissable neck!


and a little throwback for you from the 4th grade me.  you’re welcome ;)