my cupcakes bring all the boys to the yard

IKEA mini-hack of Billy the Bookcase

with 9 comments

mini-hack with floral wrapping paper

mini-hack with floral wrapping paper

It’s really not much of a hack. Behold, the Billy bookcase.  Yes, IKEA, I will purchase the white one because it costs half of what every other color does ($25 vs. $50—for colors?!).


1. Lay paper on the floor, face down.  Place back board on top of the paper. Trace your board. I needed to cut a second piece of paper to match up because I wasn’t thinking clearly: Roll your paper out long enough so you can fit the whole board on there at once.

2. Cut your paper.

3. If you’re a crafty pro or have an extra set of hands lying around, use spray adhesive to affix the paper to the board. If you’re making do because you want to get it done now & are impatient like me, grab some double sided tape you’ve got laying around and go to town.

4. Cover with contact paper.

5. Slide & tack your board as you normally would.

The bookcase itself is super easy to put together. Really, I built each of them in about 20 minutes (I bought 3 for storage in all of our new giant closets). I, of course, decided to make it ‘difficult’ on myself & papered the back board prior to sliding it in the groove & tacking the bottom edge. It was only mildly aggravating. It would have been better if I could find all the tools I own (mainly my rotary cutter & spray adhesive).

I purchased wrapping paper from The Container Store, the one pictured & a second pattern of dark brown & light blue. This floral pattern paper, while adorable, was the one that was not-so-great to work with. It was a little slick, a little shiny & a little thin which made it bothersome to tack to the back board without wrinkling. That and the pattern was not an easy repeat to line up. If I had the forethought, I would have just unrolled the paper to the proper length. The other paper was really nice, a decent weight to it & matte. I would try to find these qualities when you’re looking for paper!

All in all: worth it! Takes a plain white bookcase & turns it into something a bit prettier. I will most likely end up attacking all of the bookcases in the house with this technique, much to my husband’s chagrin, I’m sure.


Written by Julie

May 4, 2009 at 2:06 pm

9 Responses

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  1. This is great! Now if only we could figure out a way to cover those holes along the inside.


    May 6, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  2. […] •  Apartment Therapy Chicago’s recap of my Ikea Billy hack. […]

  3. cute project…and the contact paper is a great idea. found you through AT, of course, and was excited to see you’re a chicago girl too! we’re thinking about doing a meet-up…would you be interested?


    May 9, 2009 at 10:41 am

    • thanks! sure, I’d be down with a meetup. 🙂


      May 10, 2009 at 9:53 am

  4. […] Apartment Therapy Chicago’s recap of my Ikea Billy hack. […]

  5. Really cute! I’ve been trying to find some attractive (read: not something my grandma would use) contact paper with no luck, I never thought to use clear contact paper over wallpaper! Genious, thanks for sharing.


    October 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    • thanks! i hope it serves you well!


      October 17, 2009 at 11:34 am

  6. So glad I found this – we are moving in 2 weeks and have today decided upon Billy bookcases for our entire wall in the study. I’ll now spend the next few days sourcing good weight and gorgeous paper to make the office pop!

    sharon pakir

    September 10, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    • That’s fantastic! I am so glad you found it helpful!
      I would suggest actually trying to find a paper that’s on the thinner side (unless you are going to skip the contact paper step)… the channel in the back of the bookcases where the back board slides in is pretty thing and I found when I used thicker paper (I used a blue/brown paper for a bedroom bookcase), that it was a bit of a struggle to get the back fitted in there properly.

      As for sources, I highly suggest Paper Source ( or somewhat surprisingly, the Container Store! They have a marvelous high-quality stock of completely lovely wrapping paper!

      Good luck! I hope I get to see some pictures!


      September 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm

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