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DIY Open Shelf Display

Many years ago, while scooping up deals at a closing-out store, I found a role of contact paper with blue and brown polka dots. It was so many of my favourite things all in one: the blue and brown colour combination, polka dots, and sticker paper. I snapped it up for a couple of bucks, with visions of covering everything I owned in this adorable pattern.

Fast forward to today: admittedly, the polka dot paper is in pretty good use, but it’s mostly contained to my home office. It’s used as a clipboard cover, acrylic container liner, and the background of a glass frame dry-erase board. I’m not sure if my gentleman friend shares my affinity for polka dots, so the paper hasn’t made it that far into the rest of the house…until recently.

We moved an old microwave cart into the dining room, including the tabletop wine rack that was already on it. (What, did you think we would put a microwave on it?? That’s just silly.) The cart has an open shelf underneath the top, where we decided to store our wine glasses so we could keep everything together.

The next day, I walked into the dining room and shuddered. The open shelf, which I had never really looked at before (mostly because it was full of stuff), had a stark white background (you know, the fake-white colour of MDF). This looked terrible with the lighter-coloured wood of the cart itself, plus the darker hardwood floors.

I was so sad. It looked awful.

Pinterest inspiration

I decided to cover a piece of cardboard with something and stick it in the back of the shelf to hide that awful white.

And what might that something be? Why, that fancy contact paper, of course! My polka dots no longer needed to be contained to the office…they could be on display for the world to see.

Armed with the measurements of the shelf background, I set out to find a piece of cardboard to fit. Sadly, none of the boxes we had were the right size without creases or gaps. I didn’t want the display to fall over on top of the glasses, or worse, push them off the shelf.

Option #2

Up next was bristol board, of which I had a few pieces in my craft closet.

Hindsight: Bristol board is not very thick, so it doesn’t stand up on its own, nor does it fold well, so I would recommend a sturdier product.

My bristol board was cut a little smaller than the shelf background, because I wanted some wiggle room. I also knew the majority of the wine glasses will remain on the shelf, so the back ones can hold the display in place.

Next, I measured my contact paper and cut it to the exact. same. size as the bristol board.

Hindsight: Cutting the contact paper to the exact same size as the item it’s going to cover is a dumbass idea.

The thing with applying contact paper: it requires precision. It takes time and patience to ensure you remove any air bubbles and keep the paper going in the right direction.

Mine did not have air bubbles. Mine also did not go in the right direction.

Even though I made every effort to avoid it, I could see the damn contact paper going off the rails after I covered about a quarter of the bristol board. At that point, I tried to correct it by backing off and starting again, but it was too far gone. That super-precise measurement screwed me up big time.

At this point, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and I kept going. My patience level was pretty thin, so I decided the wonky end could go at the top of the shelf background, since the top shelf created a deep enough shadow to block anyone seeing it.

diy open shelf display closeup

So, yeah. There it is: my sad attempt at crafting. Seriously, it doesn’t get much more basic than applying contact paper to bristol board, and I still couldn’t do that right.

Questionable craft skills aside, I’m glad that we now have something behind that shelf. It truly does look better with the polka dots. They just add a touch of something to make the wine glasses pop.

Looks like the polka dots are here to stay.

1 Comment
  1. I like it. Keep it coming Krista

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