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How to Decoupage Fabric Onto Shelves

Give those boring shelves a complete makeover – decoupage fabric with Mod Podge Hard Coat – this is an easy and budget friendly project!

How to decoupage fabric onto shelves

Hi! This is Heidi from Hands Occupied with tips on how to decoupage fabric onto shelves. It’s easier than you might think – especially when you’re working with something like a simple shelf.

I had some shelves to makeover because I moved to a new apartment, and the black shelves went well with my old living room decor, not so much with my new kitchen decor that’s all white, natural-finish wood and light green.

Decoupage Shelves

Supplies

Directions

Start by sanding and priming your shelves (if necessary). The color of the shelf will show through the fabric you decoupage onto it, which is how you’ll know if priming is needed.

My shelves are those ekby bjarnums from IKEA, in the dark finish, with brackets covering the left and right-facing ends. I only needed to prime the front edge, top, and bottom of the shelves. My fabric is white, which is why I used white primer on my shelves.

Decoupage Fabric Shelf

Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover your shelf, plus half an inch on the ends.

Since my shelf only required coverage on the top, bottom and front edge, I only needed a rectangle large enough to wrap around my shelf (like a Christmas present).

However, I needed open ends on the short sides of the shelf and a little bit extra on the long side. This was so I could wrap the fabric over to the edge that would be facing the wall the shelf is mounted on.

Next, apply a layer of Mod Podge Matte onto one side of your shelf. Carefully align the fabric so it lays square on the shelf, leaving about an extra half inch of fabric hanging off the first end.

This is the time to get your fabric perfectly straight – you won’t be able to adjust it after this step. When you’re all lined up, smooth down the fabric onto the shelf and Mod Podge.

Decoupage Fabric Shelf

Apply Mod Podge to the front edge of the shelf. Carefully fold the fabric over it, smoothing it into place snugly. Feel free to pull on your fabric as needed. However, don’t pull on it so hard that you stretch your fabric weirdly, warping the pattern.

Next, paint Mod Podge onto the third side of the shelf and smooth the fabric into place once again. There should be about a half inch of extra fabric on both raw ends of your fabric.

Paint a last layer of Mod Podge onto the wall-side edge of your shelf and stick the raw ends onto it.

Decoupage Fabric Shelf

The next phase is to – one side at a time – paint Mod Podge all over the outside of your fabric. Use a brayer to force the Mod Podge all the way through the fabric. Do all four sides and let the whole shelf dry completely.

Decoupage Fabric Shelf

After your shelves are dry, paint over all four sides again with a layer of Mod Podge Hard Coat. Let your shelves dry completely once again. Before hanging them up, let them sit and cure for four days.

Decoupage Fabric Shelf
Give those boring shelves a complete makeover - decoupage fabric with Mod Podge Hard Coat - this is an easy and budget friendly project!

Fabric Covered Shelves

Yield: 2 shelves
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5

Learn how to cover shelves with fabric using Mod Podge! These decoupage shelves are very easy to do.

Materials

  • Wood shelves in need of a makeover
  • Mod Podge Matte
  • Mod Podge Hard Coat
  • (optional) sanding & priming supplies

Tools

  • Sponge brush
  • Brayer
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Iron (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sand and prime if necessary. If your fabric is thin, you'll want to prime with white so that the color of the shelves doesn't show through the fabric.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover your shelf, plus half an inch on the ends.
  3. Apply a layer of Mod Podge Matte onto one side of your shelf. Carefully align the fabric so it lays square on the shelf, leaving about an extra half inch of fabric hanging off the first end.
  4. Apply Mod Podge to the front edge of the shelf and carefully fold the fabric over it, smoothing it into place. Feel free to pull on your fabric as needed.
  5. Paint Mod Podge onto the third side of the shelf and smooth the fabric into place once again. There should be about a half inch of extra fabric on both raw ends of your fabric.
  6. Paint a last layer of Mod Podge onto the wall-side edge of your shelf and stick the raw ends onto it.
  7. Paint Mod Podge all over the outside of your fabric and use a brayer to force the Mod Podge all the way through the fabric. Do all four sides and let the whole shelf dry completely.
  8. Paint all four sides again with a layer of Mod Podge Hard Coat, and let your shelves dry completely before hanging.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

If you enjoyed these fabric covered shelves, I’d love for you to check out some of my other home decor projects:

DIY Cake Stands Made from Craft Store Supplies
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DIY Cake Stands Made from Craft Store Supplies
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Charlotte

Tuesday 24th of September 2013

What a great idea! love it! I have just started doing a couple of decoupage projects but haven't been that brave yet! This could well be the next thing I try - will let you know how it goes!

bobbi

Thursday 5th of September 2013

How about using fabric to cover the brackets too? The shelf would appear to float! Bobbi from Rhode island.

Hillary

Wednesday 4th of September 2013

This is such a pretty and inexpensive way to add color to a bookcase or shelf. I love this idea - Great job!

Kiri

Tuesday 3rd of September 2013

Love the idea of using fabric to cover the shelves, it really opens up a whole world of prints and textures.