How to Make a Canvas Cover for a Bookshelf

Written by ruth o'neil
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Canvas bookshelf covers protect your books, knick-knacks or whatever else you display on your shelves. These covers keep dust and excess light off antique books. You can make your own bookshelf covers with only minor sewing. Use a sturdy canvas fabric and colours or designs you like to match the decor of your home.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Canvas
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Grommet tool and grommets
  • Screw-in hooks

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  1. 1

    Measure the opening of the bookshelf. Measure the length and the width. Add 1 inch on three of the sides to accommodate the hems. Add 2 inches to the top side to allow for folding over.

  2. 2

    Cut out the necessary measurements of the canvas using very sharp scissors. Cut through only one layer of canvas at a time.

  3. 3

    Lay the canvas right-side down on a flat surface. Fold the bottom and the side edges under ½ inch and pin in place.

  4. 4

    Sew all the way around the three sides to form a hem.

  5. 5

    Fold down the top of the canvas 2 inches. Use pins to hold the fabric in place and sew straight across.

  6. 6

    Follow the directions that came with your grommet tool to install the grommets on the top part of the canvas cover. Make sure to measure in from the end of your canvas cover 1 inch from each end and mark with a pencil the placement for your grommets before making any holes. Add an extra grommet in the middle of your canvas cover if the bookshelf is extra wide, to prevent sagging in the middle.

  7. 7

    Measure 1 inch from either end of the bookshelf. Screw in the hooks.

  8. 8

    Hang the canvas covers on the bookshelf by setting the grommets on the hooks.

Tips and warnings

  • You can make a less permanent canvas bookshelf cover by using spring tension rods. Instead of adding grommets to the covers, make a casing to hold the rod. Slip the rod into the insides of the bookshelf. Keep in mind, though, that if you use large pieces of canvas to cover the entire bookshelf, it may be heavy and tension rods may not hold very well. Also, depending on the size of the openings in your bookshelf, it may be difficult to find small tension rods to fit.
  • Use pinking shears to cut out your canvas and create a fabric edge that will not unravel.
  • Sewing through too many layers will ruin a lot of sewing machine needles if you do not use a heavy-duty sewing machine.

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