Tutorial: Decopatch Bookshelves


I’m going to show you how to make these bookshelves.

You will need:

  • A bookshelf in need of a spruce up, which is clean, grease and dust-free
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White – the project took approximately 500ml of paint
  • Annie Sloan Clear Wax
  • 10 to 15 sheets of Decopatch paper
  • Decopatch glue
  • Plywood, to fit the back of the bookshelf (if the bookshelf doesn’t have a back already)
  • ~25 panel pins (to attach the plywood, if necessary)
  • Saw (to cut the plywood to size)


  • Painter’s paintbrush
  • Medium sized flat artist’s paintbrush
  • Three bowls
  • Hammer (if attaching a back panel)
  • Lint-free cloth to apply the wax

This is what I started out with – a rather battered, backless set of painted solid wood bookshelves from my local antiques dealer (£30)


I then made sure that it was clean and dry, and started painting using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. It needed two coats, and it took up about half the tin of paint. It was then waxed using Annie Sloan Clear Wax. This gives a lovely chilled out, slightly textured finish, which avoids the dazzling whiteness that you get with most paints.


At this point, it needed a back. I found a bit of plywood that was about twice the size I needed for £3 at my local wood recycling project. It looked like


I then painted what would become the reverse of the bookshelves, and nailed it on using panel pins


I bought 15 sheets of decopatch paper in blue-based shades. It was nice to have the variety of colours, but in reality I only used the equivalent of 8-10 sheets of the stuff.


I started off by ripping the sheets into small pieces, separating out corner pieces, edge pieces and middle pieces to make it easier to finds bits that fit when gluing


Then the fun bit – start gluing! I used Decopatch glue and a medium sized artists paintbrush. It basically works like as a collage, so I put a thin layer of glue onto the wood, then put each individual piece of Decopatch on, then glued over the top of that piece. There’s some overlap between each piece, and gluing over the top of each piece means that the surface ends up much more durable.




And here it is in situ. I love the way that the busy design just pokes out from behind the books, so that it isn’t overwhelming.


Believe it or not, it was even used as a prop in an student-centric marketing campaign for Beats by Dr Dre headphones!

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3 thoughts on “Tutorial: Decopatch Bookshelves

  1. Decopatch is so ‘in’ just now ae! And yours looks good, I love the papers you chose. I’ve done a vase, some coasters and two dinosaurs. And I’ve got some photoframes in mind now… I find it kinda therapeutic!

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