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Clutter Cover Up Idea! My Sister is a Genius!

I made a quick trip to Ohio recently to see the family.  My sister Phebe – sober voice of reason/organizer extraordinaire has a new house and she had come up with what I thought was a genius solution to hiding the clutter of all those DVD cases.  I asked if she would mind doing a tutorial on it and she has agreed. Clutter Cover Up Tutorial Cheltenham Road

So, I’ll turn it over to my sister (with some editorial notes from me perhaps).

So our cashe of DVDs grew throughout the 90s and onward…movies as gifts & gags, or rare old friends to be enjoyed once a year…and, even though they are in alphabetical order (Ed Note: she’s serious.  Her spices are too), the shelves look, well…disordered! Phebe's Bookshelf Makeover - DVD Hiding Coverup

My kids say, “just download, Mom, throw out the actual discs–they are a thing of the past!” I know I am dating myself–but I experienced record albums & cassettes, movies that stayed in theaters for 6-8 MONTHS, only 3 channels on our TV, 8-tracks (for pity’s sake!), VHS tapes (in two different case sizes—thanks, Disney)…and finally the DVDs. I’m ready to stop now! Stand still! Keep the dang things and use them as is! (Ed Note: and get off my lawn!)

But they are a bit ugly. I want them near enough to the TV to easily feed a rainy day whim, but how to cover them up? I came up with these  DVD shelf covers.Materials for Bookcase Makeover

It’s pretty easy to see what I did. They are basically a 3-sided box made from foam display board. I cut strips the height of each shelf (they were all different heights!) I needed the width of the shelf plus 12 inches (6 inches per side to accommodate the depth of the DVDs).

I made a vertical slice (not all the way through—just enough to fold back to make a 90 degree corner on each end) about 6 inches in from each side, making sure that left me with a front panel that fit the width of the shelf exactly. I had to adjust and re-cut the first one because I forgot to accommodate for the depth of the foam board once the corner was made (hoorah for duct tape!), so play around with these measurements carefully to fit your particular shelves. In the center, I cut a hole for the grommet about 1.5 inches down from the top edge.

At this point, I got crazy with duct tape and used it to reinforce the corners…holding them at 90 degree angles as I smoothed the tape around both inside and outside each corner. This will help keep the foam board from tearing where I cut it partway through (I hope!).

Next I cut a fabric strip wide enough to cover all three sides with no seams and tall enough to fold over to the inside of the foam board with several inches to spare. I used spray glue (do this outside—very sticky!) and smoothed the fabric on and around the edge to the inside. I didn’t use the spray at the inside corners, I painted glue on those places and really worked the fabric deep into the corners. I even stitched down the folded miters of fabric at the ends on the inside to ensure that they would stay put and be smooth.DVD Collection Cover-Up Tutorial I cut open the hole for the grommetCreate a Hole for the Grommet and folded and glued the fabric to the inside. Last, I glued in one half of the grommet (the foam board is too thick to use both halves) to make an easy finger grip.Front View Grommet Installed

I did put small, flat bookends to hold the DVDs upright so that the sides of my covers slide right in next to the end DVD on each shelf. I have pushed the covers snug to leave a shelf to throw my keys on…a simple pull on the finger hole gets me access to the discs! My “tidy” gene is satisfied! Hey, did my brother get one of those? (Ed Note:  Yes! He did but lacks the willpower and skills to actually make things tidy…..please visit)

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

11 responses »

  1. Okay, that’s just brilliant in its simplicity. I love it. And the fabrics she used are eye-catching as well. Great instructions too, though I probably would omit doing any sewing if I could help it (my lazy gene). 🙂 Excellent post!

  2. When I read the “stitched down and folded miters of fabric…” I thought to myself “This is where she loses me. Was it with stitch down or miter? No matter, I’m lost”

    Great idea! I’d just have to execute it with pieces of wood I could paint rather than foam board and fabric/grommets/sticky glue which must be sprayed outside. I love how we’re all different.

    Kudos for creativity! I’m pinning this.

    • Hmmmm…..I’ll get Phebe to weigh on that detail – perhaps she can illuminate us non-stitchers.

    • Sorry, I folded a mitered corner on the inside of the “box” and stitched it down (with needle and thread) to secure it. I think I didn’t miter some of them, just folded them in smoothly, but I stitched all corners down.

  3. What a great idea! It’s like a privacy screen for your DVDs. Nice when they would like a little “alone” time. But it does make my brain start buzzing. Humm, fabric, yes, maybe wallpaper, maybe, scrapbook paper, themed collage…..dare I say it….decoupage? I think I’d go with something with a bit more stability than foam core though (but not as heavy as wood). Great, now this is going to occupy my brainwaves all day.

    • I like those ideas! I chose foam core over wood to keep it light and it is working fine…but what is in between that you would use?

      • It’s kind of difficult to find a material that would be as light as foam core. But maybe using something like a thin/medium sheet of Masonite/MDF. It would weigh more but the options for decorating it would really open up. Plus it might be neat to attach a drawer-type handle on the front. Or better yet, make it look like the top of a vintage piece of luggage with a faux leather finish and vintage labels scattered here and there. Hummm, I like the luggage idea (I just came up with it while I typed). Foam core is great if you’re covering in fabric. But if you wanted to embellish with paint, stencils, decoupage, etc. I think you’d have to go with a wood or wood processed material (kind of like Velveeta is to cheese).

  4. Cool.

    I alphabetize my spices. That’s how you find them in the grocery store, and I worked in a grocery store in high school and college.

    And, I must be close to the same age as your sister, because we remember/experienced the same things!


  5. Love the neat way this looks.

    Foam core is great for those of us who don’t have a wood working shop, with saws, clamps etc. Foam core is quite sturdy. I’ve used it to make stable shelves that sit on rubber covered wire shelves so things won’t tip over when set on them. I’ve been using some of them for approximately 15 years. It really is quite strong.

    Have to admit, the stitching part threw me too. Did you stitich it by hand? Or did you fold a miter, cut off the excess fabric, and glue it down, just calling it stitching?


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