DIY Fabric Inserts for Shelving

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So the other day I had this sudden urge to get out of the house and find me a project to create! I hadn't had one in a while and I was just itching to create something really amazing. For a while, I had been eyeing those custom wallpapered bookshelves that you see everywhere, but just never got around to figuring out how to construct one on a budget with the bookshelves I already had. The idea kind of just fell into the background and didn't resurface until last week.

The shelves I have are from Target and aren't what you call... the highest of quality. They are the kind of shelving that you put together yourself, and the backing is not the prettiest. It's that terrible cardboard that is covered in a fake wood veneer. Not noticeable in general, but it bothered me like crazy just knowing it was there. Thankfully I was able to come up with a high end look for literally JUST $40!!! Since I already had the shelves, all I had to buy was the fabric and cardboard. Ain't too shabby if you ask me;)

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As you can see, above you will find the before and after. I really wanted something that made a statement and was bright and graphic. My goal was to decrease the decor (aka clutter - says my husband) and give the bookshelves a more cohesive design. Focusing less on the decoration on each shelf, and more on the overall look of the design. Below is my tutorial on creating these wonderful fabric inserts for yourself!

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1. Book Shelves from Target (on sale) - $80 or $160 for both
2. Cardboard $10
3. Fabric - about 6 yards (on clearance HALF off $9.99) - Total of $30
4. Scissors and/or exacto knife
5. Glue gun and hot glue

Step by Step:
1. Collect all of your supplies.
2. Measure each shelf's height and width. Draw out those measurements onto your cardboard and cut.
3. Pop in your insert into the appropriate shelf to make sure it fits correctly. Adjust if needed. My inserts fit tightly into the back of the bookshelf so they will stay in place. I might velcro them to the back later on down the road, but for now, they stay in place just fine.
4. Take out your insert and place over fabric. Cut fabric about 2 inches extra on each side of the cardboard so you have room to wrap around the cardboard. Once your fabric is cut, flip over the cardboard, tightly wrap the fabric around and begin gluing the fabric to the cardboard. Make sure to keep the fabric tight during the gluing process so there won't be any wrinkles on the front of the panel. Once you are done gluing, flip the panel back around and insert into the book shelf.
As you can see, this project is VERY easy and extremely affordable to create. At only $40, it ended up becoming one of my favorite DIY projects over these past few months. Such a big bang for your buck!


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And just a quick reminder that Google Friend Connect will be GOING AWAY on July 1st, so please please please follow along with Bloglovin. It is SUCH a great blog reader, and I even like it better than GFC! Who knew?? It took me 2 seconds to sign up for FREE and it literally transferred ALL of my blogs over in about 30 seconds. Can't get much better than that, right??

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26 Responses to "DIY Fabric Inserts for Shelving"

  • Julia Konya
    April 23, 2013 - 11:01 am

    Looks awesome Amy. Love the fabric you picked. Your kitty is so cute too and reminds me of my Harry!

  • Jamie Alanna
    April 23, 2013 - 5:12 pm

    Wow, amazing! I love this! I’d love it if you could link this up to our party, Give Me The Goods Monday! {1 party, 5 blogs}
    Have a great week!
    Jamie @

    PS: I’m a bloglovin follower now ;)

  • Jenny Eanes
    April 23, 2013 - 9:39 pm

    It look awesome!! I have a similar bookshelf and it totally needs a facelift! I’m like you, I need to complete a project soon!

    Jenny from

  • Kammy Wielenga
    April 24, 2013 - 1:22 am

    ah HAAAAA… cardboard! Good thinking! I’m SO GLAD you linked this up and I saw this before I attempted my own because I wouldn’t have done that. Phew! It looks AWESOME and I also love your photos and professional looking blog! Oh, and I can’t leave before mentioned how beautiful the cat is. Love me some furry felines!!

  • Tami Rebekah
    April 24, 2013 - 5:17 pm

    wow!! So impressed!! Love everything about your blog!! Following along with BlogLovin! :) Have a wonderful week!

  • marty (A Stroll Thru Life)
    April 25, 2013 - 6:54 pm

    It looks amazing. Great idea. I love your fabric choice too. I would love for you to link up to my Inspire Me party that is ongoing. This is gorgeous and great tutorial.

    Hugs, Marty

  • marty (A Stroll Thru Life)
    April 25, 2013 - 9:52 pm

    I did beadboard in mine, but your fabric is just so clever and pretty. Thanks for linking up, I hope to see you next week too. Hugs, Marty

  • My name is Rita
    April 26, 2013 - 6:24 am

    I love how fabric looks inside a bookshelf. It is a project I keep putting aside. Your look so good! I love the fabric choice! Thank you so much for linking up this week! Hope you can join the party again.

  • Jenna LaFevor
    April 26, 2013 - 9:01 pm

    I love, love, love this! I did something similar, except painted a grain stripe on my fabric. I love the pattern you chose! So glad you linked up to Give Me The Goods Monday! Can’t wait to see what goods you bring next week! Hope you have a great weekend! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

  • Bonnie @ Uncommon
    April 29, 2013 - 1:36 am

    Ok…I am a little in love with these! The fabric choice is absolutely perfect! Made those generic bookcases look WAY expensive!! Thanks for sharing at MOnday Funday!;) Bonnie @ Uncommon Designs!

  • Val @ Home Made Modern
    April 29, 2013 - 2:08 am

    I just did something similar with wrapping paper. LOVE how yours turned out! I’m a new follower. :)

  • Krista thehappyhousie
    May 1, 2013 - 9:13 pm

    Stunning Amy, I LOVE It! Your whole space is gorgeous, I love how you use and mix colour and pattern… I really love your style!!
    Krista @thehappyhousie

  • Jennifer Hughes
    May 3, 2013 - 11:45 pm

    Visiting from Monday Funday. I’d like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend at And who knows, you may just get featured next week.


  • Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon
    May 4, 2013 - 11:57 am

    This was one of our favorite projects this week at our Monday Funday link party! We will be featuring it tomorrow! Thanks so much for linking up!

    Take care,


  • Brittany Barnes
    May 6, 2013 - 3:18 am

    Okay um…… cutie cute cute!!! Great pictures too. I’m excited to browse through your blog!

    A new fan….

  • Marni @ Haberdashery Fun
    May 6, 2013 - 12:33 pm

    Love these shelves!! Great blog

  • Cassia
    May 7, 2013 - 12:35 am

    ADORE!! Great work! I’m loving your blog!! I’m thinking we just may need to partner up sometime in the near future! xox

  • Shannah @ Just Us Four
    May 7, 2013 - 11:52 am

    This is awesome! We are getting ready to do this to a Billy bookcase for my daughter and I can’t wait.

    This is a fantastic project! Would you consider linking this up at my Pinworthy Projects Party? I hope to see you there!

  • Carrie
    May 27, 2013 - 4:42 am

    Would you be willing to share your fabric source?

  • Sarah
    June 13, 2013 - 12:23 pm

    I have the same self from target in a smaller version and the same thing bugs me about it. Such a good idea and easier than I thought it would be. Definitely going to be doing this soon. Thanks for the idea!

  • Traci
    June 13, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    So pretty. I need to try this for our black book shelf.

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  • Kalliste
    July 19, 2014 - 8:43 am

    I never thought about putting fabric into a shelf to liven it up a bit, to the point where I nearly skipped this altogether.. I might give it a try on my tired old shelf.

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