How to Paint and Refresh a Little Free Library

Our Little Free Book Library needs a refresh. Over the last several years, the sun and weather have faded the paint, and cracks have developed in the wood.  So, it's time for new paint and sealant.  We have also decided to decorate the library with cute vinyl stickers. This will be a fun weekend project.

Repainting and sealing the library will extend its life many more years and keep it waterproof.

This library was purchased from the Official Little Free Library website in 2020.  We bought the library kit, assembled it ourselves, and put it in our front yard.  If you want to start a Little Free Library, check their website or Amazon for some options.How to Paint a Little Free Library - fb

What is a Little Free Library?

Little Free Library book-sharing boxes foster the love of reading in the neighborhood where they are installed and provide 24-hour book access.

The motto is "Take a Book, Share a Book." Visitors can take a book they would like to read and exchange it for another or keep it. Little free libraries work best when people both take and donate books.

Our own little free library has been thriving for the past four years, and visitors regularly visit and exchange books. We keep teen and children's books on the lower shelf and adult reading on the top shelf of our free little library.

Little free library stewards are the owners or the people who sponsor the library. As a steward, I check the library often and add books when needed. I find books at our local thrift store for low cost or even free.

Little free libraries can be installed with permission in public places or on your property. Anyone can become a little free library steward.  Your library can be registered using its charter number and listed on the Little Free Library world map.

Little free libraries are not meant to compete with your local library but to work alongside them.

Keep reading or click the link to the YouTube video below to learn how we refreshed our Little Book Library. 

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Paint and Refresh a Little Free Library to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

WHAT YOU NEED for this little free library design

LFL Supplies

Step-by-Step Instructions to Refresh Your Little Book Library

Our library is in the sun for most of the day, damaging the paint and wood. It's still in good condition, but the wood is starting to crack, and it looks like a woodpecker may have been pecking it. The library is still waterproof, so the books are protected. LFL Back Before Refresh

The inside of the library is still nice, so we decided to paint and decorate the outside.LFL Before Refresh1

Step 1: Choose Paint

I found Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Outdoor paint and Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Satin Clear spray paint at our local hardware store. 

The outdoor use paint would be sufficient to refresh and protect the library. Since we will be putting vinyl stickers on it, I will use clear coat sealant to seal the stickers.

Step 2: Prepare for Painting

Prepare the library to be painted.  Lightly sand the library to help the paint adhere.  

Then, use painter's tape around the roof, window, hinges, official charter sign, and door handle.  This will keep the paint from getting on those sections.LFL Front Taped

The side of the library has a Little Free Library emblem, so we covered that with tape and taped it along the roof line.LFL Side

Step 3: Paint the library

The paint has been stirred and put into a small tray.  We used a paintbrush to paint the library.  A small roller could be used for the flat sections, but the paintbrush worked well and didn't take long to paint.LFL Painting

Carefully paint around the hinges and door handle.LFL Painting Around Handle

Let the paint dry. Check to see if it needs another coat. Since the wood where the sun beats on the library had cracks, we applied multiple coats to ensure the cracks were well covered.

Allow the paint to dry completely.  Remove the painter's tape.

The library already looks nicer with just some paint.  LFL Painted FrontLFL Painted Side

LFL Painted Side 2

Step 4: Purchase or create Stickers

We will decorate the library with vinyl stickers. I used vinyl sticker paper purchased from Amazon and my Cricut machine's print-and-cut feature to make the stickers.

If you do not have a Cricut, stickers can be purchased from Etsy!  

After applying them to the library, I will spray clear sealant over the vinyl stickers. I hope this will help prevent them from peeling off or fading. We will see and give an update in about a year.

Create Stickers with Cricut Design Space

Cricut Design Space can make stickers with or without a subscription. If you don't have a subscription, you can import images and use them to create stickers.

Since I have a Design Space subscription, I searched for images and projects to use for my stickers. The flowers were a project design shared in Design Space, so they were easy to print and cut.LFL Stickers

The bees, beehives, and honeycomb were images. Import the photos into a project and use the new "Create Sticker" button to create a sticker design quickly. If you have a design space subscription, be sure to try out this new feature.

Print the design onto vinyl sticker paper with a home printer using the print-and-cut feature. Then, place the printout onto a Cricut mat in the top left corner. Load the mat into the Cricut cutting machine, and it will scan for the registration marks printed around the images. 

The Cricut uses the registration marks (or black lines) to determine where the image is printed on the page to cut around each sticker on the sheet accurately.LFL Cutting Stickers

If you want to purchase a Cricut or learn more about these cutting machines, please scroll down to the end of this article to find links to the current sales and where to purchase.

Step 5: Apply stickers

It's time to apply the stickers and decorate the library.LFL Painted Back

Peel the stickers off the backing and apply them to the painted library. LFL Apply Stickers

Step 6: Seal Stickers

After the stickers are applied to the library, waterproof them by spraying clear coat sealant over the stickers.LFL Apply Sealant


Here is our refreshed Little Free Book Library.  I hope this refresh will last several years and our library will continue to foster the love of books in our neighborhood.LFL Finished Front

Cute bees are flying around the front of the library.LFL Finished Side Front

Bees, hives, flowers, and honeycomb are on the sides and back of the library.LFL Closeup Stickers

LFL Closeup Stickers Sealed LFL Stickers On Back LFL Stickers on Side LFL Stickers on Side 2

We hope you enjoyed learning how to update a Little Free Book Library.

Chris's Signature  


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

Other Tutorials you may be interested in are:

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

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