Friday 28 November 2014

Tears and trantrums or the Billy bookcase debacle

A word of advice.  Never.  Ever.  Paint an IKEA Billy bookcase.

For non Ikea aficionados, a Billy bookcase is made of wood veneer and the one I wanted to paint was the birch veneer like so:

I decided I wanted it white.

There's a load of nonsense  info on the internet about how to paint laminated furniture and how easy it is.  Don't be fooled.

It was a complete nightmare.

I used a primer as advised (Crown cupboard primer).  The blurb said it was "ideal for melamine, MDF, wood, wood veneers and acrylic bath panels".  They lied to me.  It was completely useless and I stopped counting after 6 coats of white satinwood.  It was streaky, drippy (technical term) and horrid and the paint just rubbed off.  It really nearly pushed me over the edge....

Eventually, after days and days of tedious painting it looked OK.   From a distance.   I popped the shelves back in but what I failed to anticipate was that the layers of paint made the shelves too thick and as I struggled to manoeuvre them in, this is what happened:

Readers, I was desperate.  I raided a DIY store for a wallpaper sample and just had enough to stick on the insides like so:

I was so glad when at the end of this sad and sorry saga it looked halfway decent.  What a relief!

If only Emma Kate had posted her wise words on how to paint melamine and suchlike before I embarked on this ridiculous caper.  See here for how to do it properly.

What is it with me and diy/crafting disasters?  See here and here and here for more foolishness.  Mr J and P says that at least I'm trying...  Mmmmmm what can he mean?



  1. Thanks for the warning, so relieved it was a happy ending... and the wallpaper was a triumph. The ladybirds look lovely in their new home.xx

  2. Cor bloomin' sounds enough to drive a person to drink. Glad the outcome was fabulous though. Love the wallpaper idea. Xxx

  3. Oh dear. I managed to paint a black MDF/melamine (or whatever it was) bookcase white with basic emulsion, and although it's a bit streaky it has stuck. My tip is to aggressively sand it with very coarse paper so the paint can stick better. Smooth surface = inevitable peeling. But your solution looks really nice!

  4. What a nightmare. The case does look beautiful now though.

    Jean x

  5. Ooh, the camera print paper is a great idea, nice save!
    That'll teach you to be painting stuff... xxx

  6. Never been brave enough to attempt it myself so well done for giving it a go. It was worth all that effort Loo, it looks fabulous and where did you get that wonderful wallpaper??? C

  7. You've got to admit the bookcase probably looks better now with the addition of the wallpaper, so all is not lost despite the painful process of revamping! Xx

  8. Every cloud as they say, the wallpaper looks fab but my what an ordeal!

  9. But I'm LOVING it with the wallpaper! What awesome wallpaper. It's far more unique now! xx

  10. Feel for you Loo - have attempted to paint various bits of shiny furniture with very mixed results! Your Billy looks smashing now though, love the paper. A bookcase with a story to tell :) xx

  11. Sounds like a bit of a nightmare but the end result is good, like the cameras, perfect for a blogger.
    Lisa x

  12. Oh dear, but well rescued and the end result looks great so that's something to be thankful for after all your hard work x

  13. Looks great now though!
    Hope you have a lovely Christmas and a very happy and peaceful new year ...
    M x

  14. Great escape, and fantastic paper.

  15. Hello Loo!!!
    Not sure if you'll read this, but all of a sudden you popped into my head and I just had to write to let you know.
    I hope things at Chez J &P are ticking along nicely. All ok here. On school.hols and off to Tasmania for a week on Sunday. I bet you've been
    on a few hols yourself since this post ;)
    Miss your blog posts (and all the other goodies that have bitten the dust). Drop me a line sometime. Love Kylie x

  16. Hiya, hope all's good these days. I've been away sooo long and just checking in to see who's about. The bookcase saga sounds EXACTLY like the kind of thing that would happen to me - I've never had great results even with painting regular wood! It does look great with the wallpaper though, so every cloud and all that...