How to Build a Bookcase

Before you begin to build a bookcase, you should get the following equipment from the hardware store. Wear safety glasses when you start cutting the lumber.

Required Tools and Materials

2" x 10" x 12′ lumber (1 piece)
1" x 10" x 8′ lumber (2 pieces)
Screwdriver
L brackets (4 for each shelf)
¼” plywood
Hammer
Saw
Paint
½” brads
Stain
#8 ¾” screws
Sandpaper

Step 1

Saw the 2 x 10 x 12 into two 72” long pieces. These will make up the bookcase sides. Next, cut the 1" x 10" x 8 and turn them into 32” sections. Mark them as the bottom, top and shelves of the bookcase.

Step 2

Before you proceed to build a bookcase, sand the boards. You can paint all the wood pieces now. You can also stain the boards. Allow them to dry.

Step 3

Get some of your books. Use them to figure out the ideal spacing for the shelves. Take note of the spatial distribution on the bookcase sides.

Step 4

Get the L brackets and connect them to the bookcase sides. Align the brackets so they correspond to your required heights. The 3” brackets should be placed on the front and in the back.

Step 5

Grab the top shelf and secure it to the L brackets. You can build a bookcase by working downwards. Put the shelves according to the layout you prefer. When the pieces are installed, you can paint the brackets. Use the appropriate colors so it blends in with the rest of the bookcase.

Step 6

Slice the hardboard so it can fit in the bookcase’s back. Join it to the structure by using the brads. Add as many as necessary.

Notes on the L Brackets

There are many types of L brackets. They start from ½” up to 5 inches. If you are going to use heavy lumber, buy L brackets that can handle their weight.

Tips and Warnings

Here’s another way to join the shelves as you build a bookcase. Drill a couple of holes on each side. Put in the support brackets and shelf sleeve. This technique will make the bookcase adjustable. If you use this method, the shelves can be installed by screwing them outside of the bookcase.

Countersink the holes, filling and finishing will render them virtually invisible. For adjustable shelves (in half an inch increments) put pilaster strips on the sides. Of course you can also use molding to make your shelves more attractive.

Gauge the number of books you want to put in a bookcase. This will help you determine how many pieces of lumber are needed. The layout of a bookcase is simple enough; but if it helps, you can draw the layout on paper. You can also include the dimensions on the paper to help you with the wood cutting.

After you build a bookcase, you just need to put in all your books in place. If your book collection starts growing, you can always make another one.

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