How to Build a Bookcase

Building a bookcase can be a complicated project requiring craftsman skills or a simple straightforward project.

Here's a design that you can make with standard lumber from the lumbar yard using some common tools. You certainly don't have to be a craftsman to make this practical but inexpensive piece of furniture.

What you'll need

1 piece of 2"x 10" x 12' lumber (cut in half) 2 pieces of 1"x 10" x 8' lumber cut into 32" sections "L" brackets (4 per shelf). A saw or router. Piece of thin hardboard or 1/4" plywood. Brads (1/2") and screws (#8 3/4" long) Sandpaper, stain, and paint. Drill and drill bits Screwdriver and hammer

Cut (or have your lumberyard cut) a 2"x10"x 12' piece of lumber into two pieces 72" long. These two pieces will form the sides of your bookcase.

Cut (or have your lumberyard cut) 2 pieces of 1"x10"x8' lumber into three sections each. These 32" sections will form the top, bottom and shelves of the bookcase.

Sand the edges of all the boards. Paint or stain all the boards as well as the piece of hardboard or plywood.

Determine the optimum spacing of your bookcase shelves (depends on the size of your books) and mark the spacing on the sides of the bookcase.

Attach "L" brackets to the sides of the bookcase aligning them so the shelf heights will match your requirements. (Put the brackets 3" from the front and 3" from the rear of the bookcase sides).

Fasten the top shelf to the L brackets on both sides of the bookcase and then work your way down, attaching the shelves as per your layout. You may want to position the top shelf 1" from the top of the bookcase for appearance.

Paint the "L" brackets so they blend in with the bookcase color.

Cut the hardboard to fit the back of the bookcase and attach it with the brads.

Things You Will Need

  • 1 piece of 2"x 10" x 12' lumber (cut in half)
  • 2 pieces of 1"x 10" x 8' lumber cut into 32" sections
  • "L" brackets (4 per shelf).
  • Piece of thin hardboard or 1/4" plywood.
  • Brads (1/2") and screws (#8 3/4" long)
  • Sandpaper, stain, and paint.
  • Screwdriver and hammer

Tips

  • The walls and shelves of this bookcase are made from very strong material, so the bookcase can hold heavy materials. Be sure you use "L" brackets that can support the weight. L brackets are available from 1/2" all the way up to 4 or 5 inches, so use an appropriate size.
  • There are other ways you could attach your shelves to the sides of the bookcase. For example, you could drill two columns of evenly spaced holes in the bookcase's sides and insert shelf sleeve and support brackets that the shelves could rest on. This modification would give you an adjustable bookcase.
  • You could attach the shelves using screws through the outside of the bookcase. Countersinking the screw heads and then filling and finishing the holes will make them virtually invisible.
  • You could attach pilaster strips to the sides of your bookcase (either in routed grooves or surface mounted) and have shelves that are adjustable in 1/2" increments.
  • Adding decorative molding to the top and or front facing of the bookshelf would also add character to your creation.