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Upcycled Concrete and Timber Bookcase

Upcycled Concrete and Timber Bookcase

If you want a simple solution for storage inside or outside your home that’s a bit different to regular furniture items – look no further. We’ve got you covered with this unique besser block and timber bookshelf!

Besser blocks are pretty inexpensive and available in many sizes, and when teamed with recycled or new timber boards, you can design your own functional, easily shiftable bookcase.

To create this look, we have chosen to keep the industrial look by enhancing the natural characteristics of the timber and concrete and just used clear coats. However, the skies the limit when it comes to the look you want to create, as the timber boards and besser blocks are easy to paint with the colour of your choice.

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Depending on whether you are sourcing pre-loved or new materials, you will need to clean and sand where needed before sealing.

Use a soft brush to remove any loose concrete particles from the besser blocks. For heavier dirt stains on pre-loved bricks, use a hose and scrubbing brush to remove any stains.

Next, organise your timber shelving. We have chosen 18mm plywood for its strength and visual appeal of the end grain. If needed, have your timber cut to size to suit your design. Sand the timber surface back by sanding with the grain. Start with a coarser grit to sand out marks and scratches before working your way up to a finer grit to achieve a smooth surface. Don’t forget the edges!


Clear Varnish on Timber

TIP: Choose the sheen level of your varnish based on the finish you want to achieve.

If you are after a subtle muted finish that blends in naturally, choose matt. A matt finish absorbs light, allowing the natural wood grain to be visible with a smooth, sophisticated finish. We chose Cabot’s Cabothane Water Based in a matt finish which is perfect for bookcases as it shows less dust and fingerprints.

For a finish with a little more shine, choose a satin finish which will reflect some light and create a statement piece. Gloss will reflect a lot of light around and show up more dust. No matter what you choose, the painted surface will be highly durable and hard wearing.

Open the can of Cabot’s Cabothane and stir thoroughly with a large timber stirrer, continuing to stir throughout the application for an even consistency. Apply your first coat with a paint brush working with the grain from top to bottom.

Let dry for minimum of 2 hours in normal conditions between coats. For best results, lightly sand with a 240 grit paper in between coats. Remove all sanding dust before applying a second and third coat following the same steps.

TIP: Although Cabot’s Cabothane has a fast 2 hour dry time, leave to cure for at least 24 hours before assembling the bookcase and stacking with books and nick-nacks.

Clear Sealer on Concrete

Using a smaller 38mm Angled Sash Cutter to get into the smaller area of the blocks, apply two coats of Berger Jet Dry Stone & Paving Sealer. This will protect against stains, allow easy cleaning and seal up any potential concrete dust loosening over time. The blocks will be touch dry in 20mins and will be ready to be recoated in 2 hours. Leave dry for at least 12 hours before assembling.

So, it’s that simple! Only a few steps to get a bespoke piece of furniture for your abode. Snap some pics and tag us @insppaint – we’d love to see all the unique custom pieces that get created!