How to make wooden bookends

Updated February 21, 2017

Bookends are sometimes necessary to hold books up properly on the shelves. Books can topple over if there are not enough books to completely fill the shelf, but if you use a wooden bookend at either side, the books will stay in place. You can buy bookends or easily make your own. This is a great woodworking craft to do with kids. Make as many bookends as you need and then make extra to give away as gifts.

Use the measuring tape and pencil to mark the pine board for cutting. Mark two pieces that are 15 cm (6 inches) long and two others that are 20 cm (8 inches) long.

Cut out the pieces of the pine board using the circular saw or any other saw you already own that will do the job. Make sure you have two pieces of pine for each measurement for each set of bookends you plan to make.

Sand all the surfaces of the wood until they are completely smooth. Take special care at the sides and edges of each piece of pine.

Wipe off the pine with a damp rag to remove all traces of sawdust.

Measure on the outside of the 20 cm (8 inch) pieces of pine, two marks that are 5 cm (2 inches) in from the side edges and 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) up from the bottom.

Stand one of the 15 cm (6 inch) pieces of pine on its side. Set the 20 cm (8 inch) piece on top of the six-inch pine making an "L" shape. Match up the bottom edges so they are flush with each other.

Use the marks you previously made on the 20 cm (8 inch) piece of pine and hammer two nails through it into the 15 cm (6 inch) pine to connect them and make one bookend. Repeat with the other two pieces of pine.

Spray paint the bookends any colour you want that matches the decor of your home. Use more than one coat if necessary.

Add a spray-on clear coat to protect the paint on the bookends and make them last longer.


Add painted designs to your bookends. Paint a base coat and then paint a design once the base coat dries. Finish with the clear coat to protect you work. You could also stain and polyurethane your bookends if desired. Just make sure to allow the polyurethane plenty of time to dry before putting in on your bookshelf so the finish does not stick to the books. Get creative when finishing your bookends. Add decoupage or carve a design out of the wood to give the bookends your own personal touch.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • 2.5 x 20 cm (1 x 8 inch) pine board
  • Circular saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Rag
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Spray paint
  • Spray-on clear coat
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