kinda genius: painted foam core bookcase inserts


After we had built-in bookcases added to our living room, I had every intention of painting the backs. A year later, they’re still white. I can’t bring myself to decide on a color (green? yellow?) and given the number of shelves, I want to get it right the first time. I seplaceed for papers that I could put up but no go. Then I stumbled across the blog Recently. Cut foam core to size, then paint and insert. Since it’s thicker than paper, it stays in place. No stickie tape or nothin’. If you’re in an apartment, have a stained piece you don’t want to paint, or just can’t make up your mind, like me, it seems like a perfect solution. — Sarah L.

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Smart! Do you have to worry about the foam core warping? My son and I did an art project on foam core and when the glue dried, the foam core had a serious curve going on. Would paint do the same thing? Then again, I have a dark bookshelf in a boring room. Maybe I could find some fun fabric or wrapping paper and “upholster” some foam core for the backs of those shelves!

I would kiss you on the mouth right now for this idea, if only I lived closer to you.


I used to work for Neiman Marcus and our visual people used to cover foam core with fabric and put it in the backs of all the displays. It always seemed super easy and very effective

Also, continuing your brainstorm….you could even pick up some pretty gift papers from Paper Source or something and use spray adhesive to attach them to foam core, then proceed as directed. I am loving this!

good idea, paint it orange, orange and white go well together!


Caveat: it can be hard to get a smooth edge when cutting foam core at home.


That’s a great idea! I painted the back of a tall, white glass-door bookcase a soft yellow, using a leftover paint tester, and it looks fabulous in my blue living room. But I was able to take the back out easily. I just wish I had built-in bookshelves!

This is perfect for the built in cabinet in the kitchen of our next rental. Thanks!

This idea? Brilliant.