diy: bookshelf brightener

I've been wanting to do something about my boring old Target bookcase for a long time; it's black when everything else in my room is light-colored wood and it kind of weighs the whole place down, plopped off to the side like some hulking beast. Painting it was a possibility, but that seemed like a ton of effort for a pretty low-quality piece (I was also afraid to sand it and bust through to whatever might be underneath the "wood"), especially since I might end up putting it somewhere entirely different in the future. My first thought was to line the shelves with wallpaper, since all I could find in my price range was gingham and weird old flowers -  all the cute contact paper was hideously expensive.

Why, hello there, shelf liners from TJ Maxx. How are you doin'?

You guys, why didn't anyone ever tell me they sold home stuff at TJ Maxx. Oh right, probably because I would NEVER LEAVE. (Okay, I did leave, but just so I could do a project. I will return! For the deals!)

As soon as I saw this paper, I was in love and I knew that it was time to make it happen. This bookcase was going to get a facelift! Or her makeup done, as is more apropos.

The Before

The During

 All my poor books hangin' out on the floor, like dangerous little stacks of enchantment. I did enjoy having Neil Gaiman staring up at me from the back of American Gods (which is a great book, by the way, one of my very favorites. Check it out!)

The actual process of lining the shelves started out VERY easy - the top shelf comes out! I was able to measure the liner out along the length of it, leaving extra room, and basically wrapped it like a present, just folding the overlap down and smoothing it all out. The liners are the best kind of sticky - not too difficult to handle, but I had no doubt that they would stay in place once they were stuck. The middle shelf was a little trickier since it didn't come out, but the bottom shelf was the real struggle. It goes directly into the bottom of the case, so there's a strange little lip that isn't really deep enough to wrap the liner UNDER, but there's no real way to line it up right (no way for me and my inability to cut a straight line, at least). The good news is that it's far enough own that I don't think anyone is really paying attention!

The Sort-Of After

The Actual After

And ahhh, the books let out a sigh of relief once they were returned to their newly decorated home. All in all, this was a super easy project (like, an hour's worth of time, maybe? I probably spent more time rearranging my books on the shelf than actually putting the liners on) that brightens the whole thing up nicely and is easily removable, in case I change my mind! Chalk this one up for Team Me.

product review: sally hansen salon effects

Confession time: I can't paint my own nails. Yes, I've done it, but rarely and poorly. My hands are just too wobbly; I make a mess even when I'm painting with my right hand, you don't even want to see what happens when I've got the nail brush in my left! With practice, I'm sure I could get better, but usually I just pressgang whoever happens to be around (a friend or my sister, usually) into painting them for me. It's always been depressing that the beautiful nail art I admire could not be mine...until now!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips; they come in a variety of patterns, little stickers that harden into a polish-like coat with no dry time or spills or effort!

The polish strips are pretty easy to apply; there was a little bit of fumbling, but I think that had more to do with my own low dexterity (obviously I need to get some safety scissors and work on my "small motor skills" like I made the toddlers do in play group) than actual difficulty. They looked pretty great once they were on! From close up, it's pretty clear that they're stickers, but from the normal distance that you view someone's hand, I don't think you'd be able to tell, especially if you didn't know it's not a fancy manicure.

Unfortunately, there were already a few small chips by the time I woke up the next morning. This pattern doesn't show chips too badly, but a different one would make it very obvious. The inital chips may have been related to poor application, but they continued to chip throughout the weekend, and I really wasn't doing anything particularly rough on my hands (as if!) - just some sleeping and shopping. Weirdly, most of the chips are on my non-dominant hand...mysterious! The other major downside? The sticker adheres at your cuticle but it isn't really ON your nail, so when it sets, it forms a hard ridge that's just slightly separate from your nail. Just big enough for, say, a few strands of hair? Yep, these things snagged my hair while I was trying to wash it in the shower:  not very pleasant.

Basically, these are really cool, but probably aren't a great long-term choice and definitely won't replace actually painting your nails. I think they'd be a terrific option for a special event, when you could apply them the morning of (or even later - no drying time!) and then not care if they chipped afterward. I have another set waiting for me (they were on a two for one sale) so I'll give another pattern a go and let you know if a (theoretically) superior application helps any of these issues.

Hooray, a terrible webcam photo! The nails, after two weeks. Impressive, huh?

So, I sat on this post for two weeks (as I do) and have revised my opinion somewhat. These little buggers have held on, for real! The chipping is definitely getting more significant, but they are really solidly on there and most are fine. The non-dominant chipping has right hand is almost perfect still. So, I'll upgrade these to a solid 4 out of 5. Try 'em out if you get a chance!


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