How to Build Your Own Book Case

Written by mary jane
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Build Your Own Book Case
Bookcases can help you organise and display your favourite books. (Bookshelf 8 image by Tomasz Nowicki from

Building your own bookcase can save you money and time, as bookcases can be rather expensive and difficult to transport home. It is quite easy to build a bookcase at home and it is possible to personalise it with the amount of shelves you choose to build as well as the finish colour and appearance.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Saw
  • Framing square
  • Sandpaper
  • Lumber of choice
  • Large piece of plywood
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Leveller
  • Wood stain or paint
  • Paintbrushes

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Decide on the size of the bookcase and the amount of shelves it will have. Use the measuring tape to gather measurements, including the height, the width and the depth of the space for the bookcase. Write these measurements down.

  2. 2

    Purchase the lumber which will be used for the bookcase. Use the measurements collected in step 1 to ensure enough lumber is bought. Make sure to purchase enough lumber for the shelves. A general rule of thumb is that each shelf will be the depth of the case by the width. The top and the bottom of the bookcase will also be the same size as the shelves.

  3. 3

    Measure the shelving space by measuring the tallest books or biggest items that will be on the shelves. Decide how many shelves the bookcase will have, depending on the measurements collected in step 1.

  4. 4

    Use the measurements collected in step 1 to cut the two side pieces. Use the height and the depth measurements for this. Use a measuring tape and a pencil to check the measurements collected earlier for accuracy. Cut the pieces using the saw. Use sandpaper to make the edges smooth.

  5. 5

    Use the measurements for the shelves to cut the appropriate amount. The measurements should be the width and the depth of the entire bookcase. Use the pencil to make the appropriate marks before cutting using the saw. Cut two shelves first, which will be used for the top and the bottom. Cut additional shelves as required, based on the decision made in step 3. Use sandpaper to smooth the sides of each shelf.

  6. 6

    Lay one of the side pieces so it is laying on its side. The flat surface should be facing left and right, rather than up and down. Use the measuring tape and pencil to mark where the shelves will be attached. The marking should go on the outside surface of the side piece. There should be at least two markings per shelf.

  7. 7

    Use the framing square to draw a straight line across the markings made on the flat outside surface of the bookcase. It is important that the shelves are attached evenly.

  8. 8

    Line each shelf up with the markings made, but on the opposite side of the side piece. The line indicates where the screws will enter and the shelf should be on the opposite side of the side piece to connect to the screws. Use a screwdriver to connect a shelf using two screws. Continue until each shelf has been connected on one side piece.

  9. 9

    Place the second side piece so it lines up with all of the shelves attached in the previous step, including the top shelf and the bottom shelf. Attach each shelf to the secondary side piece with screws. When attaching each shelf, use the leveller to make sure each shelf is level.

  10. 10

    Measure the height and the width of the finished bookcase while it is still lying down. Use these measurements to cut the plywood, which will be the backside of the bookcase. The plywood should cover the entire bookcase. When cut, lay it on top of the bookcase. Secure it by hammering small nails into the outside frame of the bookcase. Ensure that each nail is embedded in the side pieces, the top piece and the bottom piece.

  11. 11

    Paint or stain the bookcase as preferred. While some enjoy a wooden bookcase, others prefer painting it certain colours. When it dries, place the books on the shelves and enjoy.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.