DIY Indianapolis Theme Stenciled Bookcase

Turn your flea market furniture into charming masterpieces with a stencil.  We turned a plain boring $20 bookcase into an Indianapolis theme stenciled bookcase with our WW234 Indianapolis Theme Stencil and chalk paint. If you are a DIYer or interested in re-purposing, you know how personalizing a furniture piece adds value, interest, beauty, and in this case, fun! Stencils are a very professional low cost way to personalize your pieces and increase profit if you are in the business of re-purposing. Stencils can be used on any smooth surface.  Stenciled bookcases, tables, desks, headboards, chairs, flooring -are now easily customized with stencils.  Supplies for this project are below:


  • Water
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Latex Paint
  • WW234 Indianapolis Theme Stencil
  • Chip brush
  • 4 inch foam roller
  • 2 oz bottle of liquid acrylic paint (stencil paint)
  • water based topcoat

Step 1

I found this bookcase at a garage sale for $20.  It was oak veneer and very sturdy.  Typically, I don’t like to paint oak, but since it was veneer, I caved.  I removed the wood back panel. Then I made my own chalk paint (see below), and applied two coats with a roller and chip brush, for the hard to reach places. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly before giving it a second coat (about 2 hours).

Chalk Paint Recipe

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup plaster of Paris
  • 1 cup latex paint (Antique White Glidden)

Mix water and plaster together thoroughly, then add latex paint.  Only make what you think you will use immediately.  I tried storing and reusing the chalk paint I made and found that the plaster started clumping or coming out of the solution.  Play it safe and just make a fresh batch as needed.

Step 2

I applied two coats of General Finishes High Performance water based topcoat. This topcoat turned yellowed the chalk paint just a tiny bit.  There are some furniture pieces that I wouldn’t mind this effect, like this bookcase.  But there are others that I would not.  So if you are using this combination of paint and topcoat, beware, because it does yellow.

For the back panel, using a foam roller, I applied two coats of  Diplomat Gray from Pratt & Lambert, lightened just a bit with antique white paint from Glidden, to achieve a medium gray brown shade. I used this same paint and applied 2 coats to the shelves.

After the back panel was dry, I laid it flat onto the floor.  I then positioned the first section of WW234 Indianapolis Theme stencil onto the panel.  I applied an off-white liquid acrylic paint using a half inch stencil brush.  Don’t forget to offload on a paper towel to remove most of the paint before stenciling.  For more details, please view our stenciling basics video.  

I immediately removed the stencil and then repeated this procedure with the second section of the stencil. To add durability to the stenciled bookcase back panel, I applied two coats of General Finishes High Performance water based topcoat.  I allowed the back to dry overnight and then attached the back to the bookcase with small nail brads.  I love the way this turned out.  Sold for $100.  $80 profit not bad.


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