Upgrade a Bookshelf With Cane Webbing

Cane furniture is hot in home design, but it can be pricy. Give your basic, open-back bookshelf a trendy new look with this easy how-to.

March 15, 2022
White Cubby Bookshelf

White Bookshelf With Woven Baskets and Cane Back

This cubby-style bookshelf was updated with a trendy cane backing. Woven baskets, books and chic accessories complete the look.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Make Over a Bookshelf 01:26

Sturdy rattan webbing creates a classy backing for these plain bookshelves.

Materials Needed

  • 1/4" staples
  • scissors
  • wood glue
  • ribbon

Prepare Bookshelf and Workspace

Clear off and clean the cubby bookshelf. Put a tarp on the floor and lay the bookshelf so the front side is facing down and the back side is facing up.

White Cubby Bookshelf

Cane Webbing Bookshelf Upgrade: Lay Bookshelf on Floor

Clear off and clean the cubby bookshelf. Put a tarp on the floor and lay the bookshelf so the front side is facing down and the back side is facing up.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Roll Out Webbing

Roll out the cane webbing over the entire back of bookshelf. If it tries to roll itself back up as you work, place small hand weights on the corners to hold everything in place.

Cane Webbing Roll

Cane Webbing Bookshelf Upgrade: Roll Out Webbing

Roll out the cane webbing over the entire back of bookshelf. If it tries to roll itself back up as you work, place small hand weights on the corners to hold everything in place.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Cut Webbing to Size

Leave a few inches overhang on the sides to give you some wiggle room. Cut the cane webbing with scissors.

Cutting Cane Webbing Roll With Scissors

Cane Webbing Bookshelf Upgrade: Cut Webbing to Size

Leave a few inches overhang on the sides to give you some wiggle room. Cut the cane webbing with scissors.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Soak Webbing

Fill the bathtub with warm water and submerge your cut piece of cane webbing for one hour. This will soften it up and make it more pliable.

Soaking Cane Webbing Roll in Tub

Cane Webbing Bookshelf Upgrade: Soak Webbing

Fill the bathtub with warm water and submerge your cut piece of cane webbing for one hour. This will soften it up and make it more pliable.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Lay It Out

Shake excess water off the cane webbing as you remove it from the tub. Place a tarp on the bookshelf. Lay the damp webbing flat on the bookshelf to dry some, but not fully.

Cane Webbing on Bookshelf

Cane Webbing Bookshelf Upgrade: Lay Out Webbing to Dry

Shake excess water off the cane webbing as you remove it from the tub. Place a tarp on the bookshelf. Lay the damp webbing flat on the bookshelf to dry some, but not fully.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Staple Webbing to Bookshelf

Remove the tarp. Make sure the cane webbing looks even and still has overhang. Use a staple gun to secure one end of the webbing to the bookshelf (Image 1). Pull taught as you work your way down, stapling in small sections at a time. Use a clothespin to clip the webbing if it’s still rolling back up as you work (Image 2).

Hammer Down Staples

The cane webbing will tighten up as it dries. Once it’s completely dry, hammer down any staples that aren’t flat.

Hammering Staples on Cane Webbing-Backed Bookshelf

Cane Webbing Bookshelf Upgrade: Hammer Down Staples

DIYNOT400 Bookshelf Upgrade

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Cut Excess Webbing

Use scissors to cut away the excess overhang on all sides.

Cutting Cane Webbing With Scissors

Cane Webbing Bookshelf Upgrade: Cut Excess Webbing

Use scissors to cut away the excess overhang on all sides.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Add Trim

The edges of cut cane webbing can be sharp. Add a thin layer of wood glue along the cut edges (Image 1). Place a ribbon over the glue and let dry (Image 2). This will cover those edges and give the piece a finished look.

Decorate

Style your upgraded bookshelf with baskets, books and decorative accents.

White Cubby Bookshelf

White Cubby-Style Cane-Back Bookshelf

This cubby-style bookshelf was updated with a trendy cane backing. Woven baskets, books and chic accessories complete the look.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

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