DIY: Bookshelf Hack
Senior editor Sally Armstrong dresses up plain bookshelves with rolls of wood-veneer trim.
Has your bookshelf felt more drab than fab lately? Even the simplest unit deserves a dash of personal style — and decorative wood trim is an easy way to do it. I looked in a few different retailers before finding this arrow-patterned trim, but there are plenty of options out there. Applying it to the edges of the shelves was a subtle change, but one that had a big impact on the space with minimal effort.
You’ll need wood-veneer trim (wooden banding), utility knife, cutting mat, cabinetmaker’s glue (or other wood glue), binding tape (or other strong tape), and wood strips.
Measure the front edges of your bookshelf’s gables (vertical boards) to determine the amount of trim needed. The banding I used was from Lee Valley and came in lengths of 1 meter; I used just under 2 meters per edge. Mark these measurements on your banding and cut to size using a utility knife.
Apply cabinetmaker’s glue down the center of a shelf edge; use sparingly so that excess glue doesn’t push out the sides of the banding.
Press the decorative trim onto the shelf edge, being careful to ensure that it’s applied evenly so that it doesn’t bunch. (If you don’t want to permanently commit to the banding, consider installing it with double-sided tape rather than glue.)
Lay a wooden strip that’s the same length and width as your shelf edge (you can get one cut at The Home Depot) over the trim and tape it tightly to the shelf using binding tape. This will maintain pressure on the trim while it dries without having to attach tape directly to the band. Leave strip on for at least 1 hour.
Carefully peel off the tape to remove the wooden strip.
Allow the glue holding the decorative trim to dry for another 24 hours to ensure it’s fully bonded. Fill your shelves and enjoy!
Here’s a close-up of the finished product. I love the chevron look of this trim!