DIY Collapsible Bookshelf
A collapsible bookshelf is a useful piece of furniture for college students and teachers because it is easily moved and sturdy enough for textbooks. The bookshelf can fold up into a small, relatively flat unit that slides under the bed or behind boxes in the closet. Made out of wood, the fold-up bookshelf can hold the same weight in books as a standard wooden bookshelf without worry. Create your own bookshelf to match the decor of your dorm or classroom.
Mark four horizontal lines across the width of a 48-by-26-by-1/4-inch plywood sheet, the back of the bookshelf, with a pencil. Mark the first line along one 26-inch edge, making this the top of the bookshelf. From the top mark another line at 10 inches down, at 21 inches down and at 34 inches down.
Mark two 48-by-6-by-1-inch pine boards with the same horizontal lines. These boards arethe sides of the bookshelf.
Cut two 1/2-inch long grooves into four 24-by-6-by-1-inch pine boards, the shelves, with a 1/4-inch diameter round router bit and a router. The grooves are on the 6-inch-long side edges, 1 inch from a 24-inch-long side. These grooves hold the shelves in place while the bookshelf is standing.
Drill a 1/4-inch diameter hole 3/4 inch under each line drawn on the bookshelf sides 1 inch from the front of the board with a 1/4-inch boring bit and a cordless drill. Set the depth of the drill to 1/2 inch deep. Choose the front of the board with wood grain and color in mind to guarantee the bookshelf is attractive.
Lay the back of the bookshelf on the worktable or floor with the horizontal lines facing up. Lay the sides next to the back with the horizontal lines aligned.
Fold the sides onto the back, keeping the lines aligned, and connect the sides to the back with two medium hinges on each side. Use wood glue and 1/2-inch wood screws to secure the hinges to the back and sides.
Open the bookshelf sides and attach a shelf to each line with two small hinges. Use wood glue, a cordless drill and 1/2-inch screws to connect the shelf to the back with the hinges flush with the lines and the sides with the grooves facing down.
Drip a drop of wood glue into all the holes on the sides of the bookshelf and insert a 1-inch piece of 1/4-inch diameter dowel into each hole.
Screw a 30-by-8-by-1-inch pine board, the base, to the bottom of the back using 1/2-inch wood screws and a cordless drill. Secure the base to the back with flat L-brackets, wood glue and 1/2-inch wood screws.
Stand the bookshelf up, pull the sides out toward the front and set the four shelves on the dowels aligning the grooves on the bottom of each shelf.
- Shelves Cabinets & Bookcases: Editors of Fine Woodworking
- For more stability, add sliding bolt locks to the inside of the sides or replaceable dowels on the inside of the sides.
- Close the bookshelf by pushing the shelves down and the sides and base up over the shelves.
- Wear protective eye gear when working with wood.
Amanda Fetherlin is a writer, mother and former teacher with extensive experience in home remodeling, daycare education and domestic activities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from St. Louis University.
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