Design Your Own Bookshelf Lining

Design Your Own Bookshelf WallpaperFor two-and-a-half years I have been unhappy with the dark wood built-ins that take up the majority of one of the walls in my older kids' shared bedroom in our rental. For two-and-a-half years it has made their tiny room feel even smaller and outdated, and I was just biding my time until we moved. I considered removable wallpaper but didn't find any I liked for their shared style that was also in our price range (read: low budget). I also had someone suggest cutting cardboard panels and wrapping them in fabric, but that just felt like a lot of room for error. One day I decided I would at least make the effort to see if lining them with blueprints from Kinkos would help.

Spoiler alert: It did!

Before and AfterHad I known what a transformation $26 could've made, I would've done it the week we moved in. It turned an underutilized, ugly spot into a lovely showcase wall and added just enough pattern to help tie the room together. Also, it was such an easy installation and will come down easily when we move without doing any damage to the landlord's beloved dark wood.

Built-InsDraw ItSupplies:
-8.5" x 11" sheet of white computer paper
-access to a Kinkos

First, I measured my shelves to be sure I was printing off the best fit. They were roughly 24" wide with the shelving on the left and right sides being removable. I knew I wanted a larger pattern but didn't want to sweat over getting any illustration details just right. I considered having my son write something funny or inspiring in lines on a page and using that as my pattern, but I'd already done something similar for their gallery wall. Finally I just decided to freehand some geometric shapes and was really happy with the end result.

I suggest starting with a pencil and then tracing and maybe filling things in with a Sharpie. A bold line will help your pattern stand out. I also suggest sticking with a design that can be trimmed down to make it easier to make adjustments after you get home. A happy accident I stumbled upon when I was putting the papers together was that my shapes almost line up perfectly on two sides. By drawing triangles that were centered, but went off the edge of the page, I was able to create the illusion of a seam that matched up. 

SeamsMy next step was taking my paper to Kinkos to have it copied onto six 2' x 3' blueprint panels.I only used five, but I wanted a backup just in case one got crushed or ripped on the way home. Blueprint panels come in a few sizes, so be sure you are printing a size equal to or larger than you need. 

After cutting my prints to fit each panel, I adhered my papers to the built-in using double-sided photo splits. They can be found in almost all scrapbooking sections of any craft stores and are acid free. Always be sure to test your adhesives in an inconspicuous spot before committing to be sure you aren't going to damage your surface.

I was able to hide my seams by adjusting the height of my shelving so that you can't tell I used a print-and-a-half. I also switched up the direction of the print in the center panels so it would look more fluid. 

CornersA month later and the paper still looks great, other than one corner that sits near a diffuser. Since it is just paper held up with double-sided tape, it won't have the same flush look as wallpaper that has been glued on, but you can still get pretty close. The best part is that if one section gets ripped or colored on, I can always go print off another panel to replace it!

Let Them Be Little Print by Tina AszmusDesign Your Own Shelf LinerBuilt-Ins Face LiftThis little project has gone a long way in making this an enjoyable space and has inspired a few other projects in their room. I love how the momentum from one project can carry over to the next until you have a whole new space! -Rachel

Credits// Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Let Them Be Little print c/o Tina Aszmus. Photos edited with the Fresh Collection.

  • Amazing idea. Really brightens up the room. Your DIYs are really creative!

  • This is definitely great work. The closet looks so cute and lovely . Just lovely 🙂

  • Sure! Yes, I used a rotary cutter and straight ruler to get sharp corners and make sure it was all even. The width was already perfect so I just had to cut the height on a few. Good luck!

  • Since this is my kids’ shared room and they aren’t quite tall enough to utilize a high book shelf, all of their books are in a floor shelf that isn’t quite shown in this photo. 😉

  • This turned out beautifully! I love the pattern that you made!


  • good contras between the wood and the background.. nice! greetings from germany..

  • such a nice idea, i want to make something like that, but first i need the furniture XD

    xo Ruzu

  • That is so beautiful! And simple! You guys always have the best ideas 🙂

    Love, Lily

    Check out:

  • This is a wonderful DYI

  • What a difference! Using photos or left over wallpaper – even left over paint could be other alternatives (if you were allowed of course!). That’s really brightened up the room!

  • Wow, love the transformation, it really brightens up the room. Love the simple pattern, even i can do it 😛 Awesome DIY.


  • Wonderful idea, wallpaper looks awesome! How many little toys 🙂

  • Awesome! Simple! And perfect timing for me! Thank you! Sorry about all the !!!

  • Using blueprint paper is such a good idea! Thanks for showing us the results! 🙂 Looks fabulous!

  • Rachel,
    Looks so great! Could you elaborate a little more about how to cut each panel to size? Did you take exact measurements of each shelf background and then use scissors/exacto? I feel like anytime I’ve tried to line that back of a bookshelf, I’m somehow off…

  • __Hola

    Wow!! te ha quedado genial 🙂 Ese patrón geométrico quiero uno también uno en mi habitación.


  • It’s crazy how much of a difference this small change makes!
    And good job on the pattern, it looks amazing!

  • This is genius, so simple but so effective, makes a huge difference !

  • WOAH! I cannot believe this is just computer paper! It completely changes the look of the shelves in such a nice way!!

    -Emily |

  • The constellation patterns looks super cool! What an unique idea 🙂

    Xo Eveline from

  • This is sooo easy but looks so great! Fantastic for brightening up a space. I saw a DIY where a guy cut out construction paper and pasted it into a checkerboard pattern on the backs of his shelves; either way it looks amazing.

  • Man oh man. The wallpaper completely brightened & opened up the room. This is a spectacular idea! :] // ☼

  • This makes such a huge difference! Love this idea and the pattern. Too cute.

  • I love the Darth Vader clock! Cute styling!

    ♥ Naomi Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups

  • Constellations~ My babies! This would be perfect for my bathroom cupboards! x

  • I have built in storage in my rental that’s been calling out for something to do be done to it, I’m going to have to give something like this a try

  • This is such a simple cost effective way to make a huge difference too any room! :0

  • Ohh, yeah, I need something like this. I’m not a kid but still.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.