The original plan for Sawyer’s IKEA Billy Bookcase was very different than how it turned out. I would say that around half of my ideas change shape from the original idea – that’s a part of design and planning, sometimes plans change. In my mind, the bookcase would have no glass, and cane webbing in place of the glass. Then when I actually purchased the IKEA bookcase, I realized that the glass was incased in between the wood doors. And I wasn’t going to break out the glass so it was staying put. After unboxing the door, I realized I only had about 1/18 inch of wood to staple the cane webbing into the wood… um what?! The cane bookcase idea wasn’t going to work. As usual, I went to the Internet to brainstorm other possibilities for the IKEA Billy Bookcase boho hack. Jen of City Farmhouse actually paints right over the glass – her bookcase unit turned out beautifully, check it out here. I considered decoupaging paper and fabric, stapling fabric, contact paper, and peel and stick wall paper. I ordered some free contact paper samples and knew right away that paper wasn’t going to get us the boho look. We needed texture! Sawyer has had a burlap pin board for several years and she wanted to keep it with her new room design, so we decided to try out some burlap fabric in the bookcase.
IKEA Billy Bookcase Boho Hack – Tutorial
The steps are easy and straight forward. In fact, there are probably many other ways to attach fabric to cabinet doors, but this is how I did it. You can also check out my short video to see how easy it is, but here are the steps:
- Measure the cabinet door and determine how much fabric or burlap you need to buy.
(I only needed three yards for this 8′ bookcase because the burlap is 45″ wide.)
- Cut the burlap in half and iron out any creases.
- Apply double sided tape around the inside of the bookcase, right against the edge of the wood frame near the glass.
(The tape is just to reinforce the edge of the burlap and help keep it in place. It may not be necessary at all.)
- Use a small nail and lightly hammer the nail into each corner of the wood to make a start for the thumbtack.
- Then carefully hammer a flat thumbtack into the shallow nail hole until it’s flush with the wood.
(I evenly placed 10 thumbtacks around each cabinet door.)
- Add door hinges and attach doors and handles to the cabinet.
IKEA Billy Bookcase Boho Hack – Video
Be sure to watch the entire video from start to finish. It’s short and the end shows how I organized the inside of the bookcase, shelf by shelf! Also, please hit that Like button!
IKEA Billy Bookcase Boho Hack – Shop this space
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IKEA Billy Bookcase Boho Hack
Full disclaimer: It’s not perfect. There, I said it! I didn’t cut the burlap perfectly straight, I didn’t cut the burlap correctly (just google it), and I didn’t finish the burlap edge with a stitched edge or glue – nothing. But it still looks good, it works well, and it really does look cool in-person. This bookcase is a place for my daughter’s stuff and even though it’s organized stuff, it’s not stuff that she wants to look at all the time. So, covering the glass doors with inexpensive burlap was our fix. I love the idea of painting these doors, but that style wasn’t as good as a fit for this room. We could have found a different cabinet for her things, but we wanted a tall and slim bookcase to do the job – and the IKEA price couldn’t be beat. The point is, this worked for us and I hope it inspires ideas to help make your furniture or design work for you. Design plans don’t always pan out, so be encouraged that you’ll find a solution that works well and looks good too! And I’m always happy to help brainstorm possible ideas, so leave me a comment or shoot me an email!
If you don’t want clear glass doors on your cabinet or bookcase, there are lots of different techniques to consider. Using burlap is just one idea to consider and it was really easy to install and it’s not permanent. If we remove the burlap, tacks, and tape, there will be 10 tiny tack holes left, but we’re not worried about those. If you like this side of my teen daughter’s room, you gotta check out the other side with her bed. I created boho farmhouse shiplap with a plant shelf – it’s relaxing and soothing~