I got this bookcase at the Salvation Army store for $8, and finally got around to crack-filling, sanding, scraping, priming, and painting it! It now holds my television as well as some books and DVDs.
The shelf was one of those plywood cabinets that you used to be able to buy to hold sets of Childcraft encyclopedia (there was a Childcraft logo burned into the kickboard). It looked like it had been in a classroom for a long time. It was covered in crayon and marker, and for some reason, a TON of tape... the kind that is so yellowed and brittle and no longer sticky, just good and STUCK. It took a lot of scraping and sanding to get the residue off. ( I never think to take a before picture before my project is already underway, but here are a few I scraped together so you get the gist. )
For anyone interested in refinishing crappy old furniture like this, I recommend three things:
1) sanding well before and between every coat
2) priming with a high-quality primer (I use Zinsser Bull's Eye 1-2-3) and WAITING THE FULL SEVEN DAYS FOR IT TO CURE. That is the worst part, but you will regret it if you don't, because your paint will be tacky until the end of time instead of nicely hardened.
3) using a gently FLECKED foam roller (usually at specialty paint stores). A foam roller alone will give you air bubbles, but the feltiness of the flecked roller will give you a nice smooth finish.
Thanks for looking!