Do you have an old broken bookshelf that you are about to throw away? This one tip may be able to help you restore it to great condition.
I cannot tell you how many cheap bookshelves I’ve bought and eventually throwing away because they fell apart in a short amount of time. Why do I keep buying them is beyond me but sometimes I need something to fill a spot for books and I look around and find that I don’t want to spend too for a small shelf. So after searching and searching, I may go ahead and purchase what looks like it has great reviews for a reasonable cost. Only to have it fall apart not very long after.
Now usually, the ones that are cheaper are made from laminate along with a very thing cardboard backing. So that these may be why they tend to fall apart. Note: We do have a set of tall bookshelves that we’ve purchased from IKEA a few years back that holds some of our tried and true books.
I’d purchase a white bookshelf from Amazon to organize one of our closets but since it was no longer needed in that area, I moved it out. To accommodate for homeschooling, I bought a similar shelf at Wayfair so both could be used for that purpose. This one fell apart so I moved it to the garage. I didn’t want to toss the shelves as I thought maybe I could turn them into something else. And then it occurred to me.. “Why not check Home Depot to see if I can get a good piece of bookshelf backing?” I mean, I think they would have something of that sort, won’t they? Sure enough, Home Depot had a ton of cardboard of various sizes! I don’t know why I have not thought of that ideas before but now I know.
Here is the flimsy cardboard backing that came with the shelf. You can see how it even bends and folds – that’s saying something.
In any event, I was able to restore the shelf with a piece of cardboard I bought from Home Depot. It was an easy fix and still surprised that I have not done that with other bookshelves before. Now the shelf is stronger and everything is in it’s place. I don’t worry about it falling apart if I move the shelf from one corner to the next or if it has too many books on it.
This is the piece of cardboard I used. Home Depot had a few sizes (in thickness and length) to choose from. I wanted an 1/8 inch thick and the size wide and long enough to cover the back. The 1/8 pieces of cardboard they had on display was a tad to small in size. The person that helped me asked if I wanted a different size. Even though I really wanted the 1/8″ I had to settle for something slightly thicker. I don’t have the exact size of the thickness as I think the person who helped me was relatively new or didn’t couldn’t find the size written on the board. But it worked and because the pieces of this size were relatively long and rather inexpensive, I ended up just buying the whole thing and had him cut it into 4 pieces (just in-case I need to repair another).
I also go these 1″ size nails to attach the cardboard to the shelf. I bought two sizes (this one and 4″) but these seem to work just fine.
To repair the shelf
- Simply remove what is left of the old backing (as seen above)
- Line the cardboard properly so the nails would go in the right places
- Hammer on the nails to the new backing
Note: I had a few miss-hammered nails that ended up in the wrong spot. It was harder to remove them and of course, the little corners ended up breaking some.
Doesn’t that look “perfect” and so much better? What was going on with the backing the shelf came with? I have no idea but I’m so glad I didn’t throw away the shelf but found a solution for it. Now I can use it for the purpose for which I bought it.
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What do you think? Was this easy enough and have you done it before? Your thoughts are appreciated in the comments!!