Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nursery progress: Modge Podge in the house

I have heard so much about Modge Podge on the Internets in the last couple years that I finally decided the nursery gave me an opportunity to try it out. It also helped me achieve my goal of adding those desired bright pops of color to the nursery's overall neutral palette of gray and white.

I decided to line the back of an inexpensive IKEA bookcase (this white Billy bookcase we bought a few weeks ago, to be exact) after being inspired by this post from IHeart Organizing about revamping a bookcase for bathroom storage. Even though Jen stenciled and painted the back of her bookcase, I decided the paper and Modge Podge route would be easier for me to tackle.

Then, inspired by this post from Young House Love about lining the drawers of their nursery dresser with pretty gift wrap, I did virtually the same thing to the inside of our nursery dresser drawers.

For both the bookcase and the dresser drawers I decided to use the same paper to create a consistent look. I figure the curtains are the biggest statement piece in the nursery, and I don't want to go too crazy with too many conflicting patterns in our relatively small room. I found thick single-sheet wrapping paper at World Market with a modern orange pattern (5 sheets at $2.69 each). I got my first-ever bottle of Modge Podge at Jo-Ann Fabrics (16 oz. for $8) a couple weeks ago.

If you've never before worked with Modge Podge, I have to say that it is a shockingly forgiving substance. It's sort of like Elmer's Glue (the old school kind), except something about its water-based make up means it's even easier to work with and glides on smoothly. When it dries it's perfectly clear, so you don't have to be worried about applying perfectly even coats to still get the results you're hoping for.

Here are my Modge Podging supplies all laid out: my giant bottle of matte finish Modge Podge as well as a foam brush I picked up in a bulk set from Michael's years ago.

After cutting the five pieces of gift wrap to fit in the bookcase backing and dresser drawers, I spread a thin layer of Modge Podge onto each surface and then immediately placed the gift wrap inside, taking care to press down firmly on the middle of the paper first and then smoothing the rest of the paper from the middle out to the edges of the surface to prevent bubbles.

I gave a little bit of drying time between getting the paper to adhere to the surfaces and then putting a layer of Modge Podge over the paper to protect the paper's surface, but I have to say that the hour or so I allowed for drying was not enough. If you are striving for absolute perfection -- absolutely no air bubbles -- definitely take the advice of the Young House Love folks and give yourself four hours of drying time between gluing the paper in and then sealing it.

In all honesty, as I approach the final stretch of pregnancy my patience is waning and my sense of urgency in regard to completing all projects is only increasing, so I decided on the express route (i.e. not striving for perfection). The good news is that there are no visible air bubbles on the back of the bookcase, but there are some inside one of the three dresser drawers.

Now that the Modge Podging is complete, one question remains: What to do about those pesky holes on the sides of the Billy bookcase? Granted, a few sets of holes will be filled in when I install the remaining four shelves. But most of the holes are going to be visible if I don't do anything. Although we have a Billy bookcase in a wood tone and we have the holes exposed on that one and it doesn't bother me, the holes are so much more prominent on this white bookcase. So, I feel like I should do something to make them less visible. One option would be the putty them up, but that seems semi-permanent and thus defeats the purpose of adjustable shelves. An idea from my in-laws is to cover them with ribbon, and I have orange ribbon that rather perfectly matches the gift wrap color.

But maybe you all have other ideas. What would you do? Suggestions welcome!


  1. This looks awesome Stephanie! Love the gift wrap you chose.

  2. I have this exact unit and am planning on doing the same thing! Glad you used the same Mod Podge I was about to buy, I'm confident to go do this now, thanks so much.