How to Build a Bookcase

Only a few basic tools are needed to build a bookcase. You can do the project yourself and use standard lumber.

Required Tools and Materials

Screwdriver and hammer
Brads (1/2")
Screws (#8 3/4" long)
Piece of thin hardboard or 1/4" plywood
"L" brackets (4 per shelf)
2 pieces of 1"x 10" x 8′ lumber cut into 32" sections
1 piece of 2"x 10" x 12′ lumber (cut in half)

Step 1

Cut the 2" x 10" x 12’ lumber into a couple of pieces 72 inches long. These will make up the bookcase sides.

Step 2

Cut the wood pieces so you have 1" x 10" x 8′ pieces. These parts will be used for the shelves, top and bottom of the bookcase.

Note: you can have the lumberyard cut the wood pieces so you don’t have to cut them yourself.

Step 3

Sand all the board edges until they become smooth. Stain the boards or paint them. You can also paint the plywood or hardboard when you build a bookcase.

Step 4

Mark the spacing on the bookcase’s sides. The spacing will depend on the size of the books you will put there.

Step 5

Put the L brackets on the bookcase sides. Set them so the bookcase height will meet your requirements. Place the 3” on the back and other 3”on the front.

Step 6

Secure the upper shelf onto the L shape brackets on the bookcase sides. Start working your way down. Connect the shelves according to your design. You can position the top shelf an inch of the bookcase top.

Step 7

If you want, paint the L brackets so they match the bookcase color.

Step 8

Chop the hardboard so it can be set on the rear of the bookcase. Fasten it with the brads.

Tips and Warnings

Use only strong materials if you are going to put large books on the shelves. Make sure also that the L brackets are strong enough to support the books. L brackets are available in various sizes. The smallest is around ½” but it can reach up to 5 inches.

Pick the one that is most appropriate. You can also drill uniformly spaced holes by the sides. Then put the shelf sleeve in as well as the support brackets. You can set the shelves here.

After you build a bookcase, put the books in place. Do not overload the bookcase. If you need more space, just make another one. Adjust the spacing of the shelves as necessary.

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