DIY Cedar Planked Bookcase


DIY Cedar Planked Bookcase

This DIY Cedar Planked Bookcase has been one of my favorite projects! Find the story of how this bookcase was reborn below!

cedar planks

bookshelfA friend of my mothers was moving out of their house and they were getting rid of some furniture so I was able to pick up this beautiful antique bookcase  for FREE. I love FREE. It belonged to the owners grandfather (maybe great-grandfather), how cool, right? It’s not often that you get something like this for no cost at all so I’m very grateful for their generosity. The bookcase also had shelving but it’s not pictured.



Cedar Planks 6ft

Drill and Wood Screws

Stanley 33-115 10-Foot-by-1/4-Inch PowerLock Pocket Tape Rule

(not pictured: Palm Sander, Hammer, Flathead Screwdriver, decorative paint, table saw)

Pure White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Brush

Annie Sloan Clear Wax and Brush (any paint brush)

Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Water-Based Interior/Exterior Primer Sealer, 1-Quart

bookshelf remodelI wanted to do something different with this piece. Something that would stand out and make it a unique display. I decided to rip off the backing. This was pretty easy to do. I pried it apart using a flathead screwdriver and a hammer.  I thought about applying wanes-coating and then I saw an add on Facebook for free wooden pallets (insert lightbulb emoji). Wooden planks! Perfect.  I had my husband go pick up 5 pallets and bring them home so I could start ripping the planks off. Yeah…much harder than you think! After both of us spent about 30 minutes trying to pry off ONE nail from ONE board, we quickly determined this was not going to work.  We went to Home Depot to get some other ideas.

woodplanksI have to give credit to my husband for this one. This was his idea. Cedar Fencing Planks! The total cost for four 6ft long planks was $10- score! Cheap and so much easier than spending the entire weekend ripping apart wooden pallets.

cedar planksThe bookcase measured exactly 3 feet wide so I measured the boards and marked them just slightly less then 3 feet because I didn’t want them hanging out off the side.

bookshelf makeoverThe planks were prickly and rough so I took my palm sander with 220 grit sandpaper and quickly sanded down the planks. We don’t own a table saw so I asked my husband’s grandfather if he could make the cuts being that he is our “handyman”. I hauled the planks off to his house.


I wanted the planks to have a beachy drift wood look so I took about 1/4 cup white paint (doesn’t have to be chalk paint) and mixed it with 1/4 cup water. Using a regular paint brush, I painted on the mixture with the grain of the wood. This wood had not had time to dry out completely so it took about 3 coats before it had the effect I was looking for.

whitewashedThis part is hard to give instructions on because you really just have to play with it. I’ll do my best! Like I said earlier, I wanted the planks to have a tranquil feel so I took some leftover paint we had from our dining room, barely dipped the bristles of the brush into the paint (see picture above) and brushed it on in random areas. This particular color is called Rainwashed by Sherwin Williams. The rainwashed color almost blended right in with the white wash I had just put on so I added some Gray paint to give it some deeper tones and add some darker contrast. This paint is leftover from the exterior of our house (Gauntlet by Sherwin Williams) and I mixed it 1:1 with water to thin it out a bit. I applied that in random places as well until I had the look I wanted. Just play with it. You may have to go back and add in some white if it get’s too dark for your taste. My suggestion is using the paint VERY sparingly on your brush! You can always add more. If you get too much paint on your brush it won’t blend well.

bookshelf makeoverAfter going back and forth, back and forth between paint colors, this is what the end product looked like.


On to the bookcase! I covered the bookcase in one coat of Zinsser primer hoping that it would save me a third coat of Annie Sloan Pure White Chalk Paint. If I had been using a darker paint, like Graphite, I would have skipped this step.

After the Zinsser Primer.

AnnieSloanPureWhiteI really do love white Furniture but I hate painting with white paint! You almost always need about 3 coats if you want full coverage. This process took the longest. I ended up doing about 2 1/2 coats. Here’s a tip when painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint- add a VERY small amount of water to your paint and mix it really well for the second and third coat. It helps the paint last  a little longer and the second and third coat goes on a lot smoother. You don’t want to add too much water though or it will be a runny, sloppy mess. I would guess about 1/2-1 teaspoon per 1/2 cup paint. If you’ve read my other tutorials you would know that I’m a big fan of sanding. I love smooth surfaces…most of the time. For this project I did not sand, not even between coats of paint. I wanted it to have a little bit of a rougher texture.

IMG_5184After the paint dried it was time to wax it for a durable finish. I have a love/hate relationship with Annie Sloan Wax.  Come on Annie, your products are so awesome so why is the wax technique so hard to master?! If you’re new to the wax, this video helped me!

bookcase makeoverThis was the part I was most excited for! I couldn’t wait to see it all come together and I was crossing my fingers that I would love it. Using the wood screws I had purchased, I started screwing the planks to the back of the bookcase. Careful not to place the screw too close to the edge of the plank or it will split the wood (I know from experience. See pic below.)


Once you’re finished screwing the planks to the back of the bookcase, apply any hardware and shelving if you have it and you are finished! Because this had such a cool planked backing to it, I didn’t apply the doors on the bottom. I have them and will be more than happy to attach them if the customer desires but for right now they are off. Want more furniture Tutorials? Click HERE!




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