Back to School Projects!

I've been busy this week getting things ready for back to school.  Next week is my last week of summer, so I have to get in gear!

I already made a To-Do list, painted my table caddies, transferred books on tape to mp3, put together my teacher planner, and many of you already saw on Instagram that I got rid of my desk in favor of a smaller computer desk!  I've been checking the new 2nd-3rd blog Owl-Ways be Inspired each day for a new fun freebie to use in my classroom.  I already have 3 reading centers prepped and ready to go!

If you follow my Instagram, you already know that this week I worked on painting my bookshelves.  I have 5 shelves that I use for my classroom library and they were all different shades of wood, one spray painted green, and one really old and full of tape and staples.  I am ready for a cohesive room, so I painted them black.  Many other teacher bloggers have black bookshelves, like Jaimie from 2nd Grade Stuff, Deanna Jump, Alisha from The Bubbly Blonde, and Dandelions and Dragonflies.  I already have one tall black shelf and the red dirt here gets everywhere making white out of the question.  So I bit the bullet and went with black!

First, I had to scrape tape and pull staples from the shelves.  I used a glass scraper and a staple remover.

Then I sanded the shelf to rough it up.  I used a sanding block and the same sandpaper that I had leftover from my spray painting project.

I wiped the dust away with a sponge.

Then I rolled the paint on.  I needed to use a brush inside on the corners and edges and also on the very bottom skirt of the shelf.  I painted the back of the inside, but not the top of the shelf or the back of the entire unit.  I did two coats to make sure there was good coverage.

I taped the metal guides, but when I took the tape off, it pulled some paint with it, so I just used a brush and a steady hand on the rest of the shelves.  

After it dried, I sanded again with FINE sandpaper, wiped the dust off, and brushed on a thin coat of polyurethane to the top of each shelf (top of the unit, top of the middle shelf, top of the bottom shelf).  I wanted these areas to be extra protected since these shelves will have book bins on them.

They came out beautiful!  I'm so excited about how good they look!

Here is a Before and After:

I have one more project for you: I also made some cute magnetic business cards to hand out at Open House!

I printed them on magnetic business cards from Avery.  Of course I bought mine on Amazon since there are no stores here!  You could also print on card stock and glue a small magnet to the back.
You can download your very own editable file!  I made it in PowerPoint, so you will need that program to open it up and edit with your information!  Directions are included.

How are you getting ready for back to school?

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

And also with Classroom Freebies
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your new and improved shelves! I have been wanting to repaint my classroom shelves (boy do they need it) and your post truly inspired me to do so! Your library book baskets look great, too!


    1. I bet yours will come out great! With 5 shelves, this project took me a good 4 days to complete, but I honestly think it's worth it! I'm keeping the left over paint at home, just in case I need to do any touch-ups throughout the year.

  2. Your shelves look great! I've never redone any of my classroom furniture since the school owns it, but I think I will ask now. Love the way your look!
    Thanks for the editable cards!

    1. I figured since the shelves had been painted before that they wouldn't mind me painting them again. I was right! The custodian didn't care :)

  3. Thank you for the editable cards! I made business cards last year, but they were so boring compared to these. Your shelves look amazing; I'm so jealous!

    Ladybugs Lounge

  4. The black bookcase makes the baskets color pop! Love it!
    My Second Sense

  5. A fresh coat of black paint makes everything better! I painted all my shelves last year and it was a huge project. But in the end, so worth it! I love the way everything in my room flows now.

    Love the business card magnets! I'm going to have to go look for those!

    A View Into My Classroom

  6. Thank you so much - I am just about to paint some shelves today and this really helps a lot.
    They look spectacular with the colorful baskets!
    Whimsy Workshop

  7. Your bookcases look great! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. I love that you are changing the shelves to black. I think it looks so sharp in the classroom! Your "after" pictures looks so neat and organized!

    A Rocky Top Teacher

  9. Wow Nicole!!! I can't believe how different those shelves look!!! Incredible...and gorgeous! You've gotten so much accomplished, you must be so proud. Best of luck with your prep for the beginning of the year :) :)

  10. Using the magnet is a great idea! I really love how vibrant your classroom looks! Great work :)
    Mrs. Brosseau's Binder - Math & Science Teaching with a Twist

  11. Your book shelves turned out AMAZING! IT makes the basket colors really pop!

    Adventures in Room 204

  12. They look great. You have been very busy!

    Chickadee Jubilee

  13. Your shelves look so much more cheerful, especially with the bright colored bins! I stained my book box holder last year and it still looks great too!

    For the Love of First Grade

  14. Those shelves are GREAT! I am also doing a black and bright color scheme for my room this year. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Mrs. Thompson
    Adventures in Teaching (A First Grade Blog)
    My TpT Store

  15. Your shelves look awesome!! :) I think I might need to paint some of my shelves now. ;)

  16. Looks awesome! I am painting some new bookcases black as well. Here goes...
    3 Teacher Chicks

  17. Your shelves look awesome! The black just makes your colors pop!. I feel like I need to buy some white paint now!! I have the ugliest brown shelves in my classroom :(
    Corinna (✿◠‿◠)
    Surfin' Through Second

  18. What a huge difference painting those shelves made. I have one of those exact shelves on wheels behind my desk and the colour is HIDEOUS. Why didn't I think of painting it? DUH! My other new bookshelf is black so guess what? I'm going to be painting too! Thanks for the inspiration. Also thanks for the file with the business card template. Love the idea of printing them on Avery labels. Might just be doing that too! Great post!

  19. I need to redo my whole classroom...the sanding, wiping, painting and sanding debacle. Want to come and help?! :)

  20. Your shelves look beautiful! Thanks for the freebie!


  21. Your shelves make a big impact! I love the way the baskets now POP on them. Way to go! Thanks for the freebie, too. :-)

    Renee J
    Growing a Teacher

  22. I love the magnet idea for open house! Thank you for the freebie :) I will definitely be doing that!
    Just Keep Teaching

  23. Thank you for the magnet card idea for Open House! I love that.

  24. Thank you for the super cute business cards!! I need to redo mine this year because I am switching grade levels and these will be perfect. :) Good idea with the mom just painted all my book shelves black and I was wondering about the sliding of the book baskets...thanks for the idea.

  25. Nice back to school projects. Now I have great ideas of what to do with kids at school.
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