How to Make a DIY Front-Facing Bookshelf Set for No More than $50!
While preparing for a ServeRDU project a few years ago, I was inspired by this picture as an idea for a wall-mounted, DIY front-facing bookshelf:
It was found on Pinterest, but credit goes to AlmostMakesPerfect.
(Note: ServeRDU is a yearly service project organized by The Summit Church. For this project, we helped with the vision, design, and install of a kids playroom makeover at the Raleigh Rescue Mission).
DIY Bookshelf Inspiration
I just loved these bookshelves so much, I had to incorporate them into my girls’ bedroom makeover. After all, my daughter’s wishlist included a bookshelf. Ask and you shall receive, munchkin!
Here’s how the bookshelves turned out for the service project at the Raleigh Rescue Mission:
Cute right?!? You can read more about that project here.
We made these shelves purely based on a picture since there was no tutorial in the blog post I found featuring them.
Now, it must be said that a similar look can be achieved with way less effort by purchasing these spice racks from IKEA. They are about 2.5 feet wide and would look super cute in a smaller space. The only reason we chose not to move in that direction for either project was because the space looked more balanced with wider shelves.
Things to consider before buying materials:
If you go back and look at the ServeRDU Project post, you’ll see that Uriah installed a tall strip of plywood along the back of the shelf to make it extra stable. I didn’t particularly like that look for our girls’ room, as functional as it was. So we modified ours a bit to be made without that thick plywood extending to the sidewall height of a shelf.
- Length and depth and number of shelves
The space for book storage was about 6 feet long, but I wanted 2 feet on either side, leaving us with 4 feet to work with. (It’s a good rule of thumb to allow extra breathing room on either side of your shelves, rather than maxing out the space). The depth also matters: consider the types of books that will be stored there, and how many.
- Type of wood
You can buy stock lumber at Home Depot (that’s what we did) or go to your local lumber yard. Home Depot carried both white wood and poplar. We opted for poplar for the girls’ room because we felt it complemented their wooden platform bed better than plain white wood. You just have to be picky and weed through the boards with a green tint.
Material List for DIY Bookshelf
Would you believe our material list rung up to less than $50 dollars?
I tend to like things in odd numbers: 1, 3, 5. We chose to make three shelves, so this material list is based on materials needed to make three 4-ft long shelves. The construction of these wooden bookshelves involved the following materials and tools.
- 3/4 “ plywood (we had extra). Ideally, if you have to buy a whole sheet, you can use the remainder for another project to minimize waste
- Three 1′ x 4′ x 8′ boards
- Six 1′ x 2′ x 8′ sticks
- Three 1′ x 1′ x 8′ strips used to hold the books in on the front of the bookcase
- Wood Screws
- Drywall anchors
Tools You’ll Need:
- Table saw
- Chop saw
- Nail gun
The 1 x 4’s came in 8-ft sticks, so we cut two in half … and did the same for the ½ moon sticks.
Prepping the Pieces
The 1 x 4’s become the bottom board and act as a foundation where the books will sit.
End pieces are next – cut to desired height and round the edges with a skill saw.
Next, the plywood comes into play: cut the back support piece. Rip the board to create a 2” strip from the longest side of the board. Then, cut this piece to span within the two end pieces. It will be slightly shorter than your bottom 1 x 4 pieces.
Plywood generally isn’t pretty to look at. It’s for this reason I wanted the back support to sit within the end pieces and be no more than 2” tall – I don’t want to see it once the books are in.
Then, sand all the pieces and prep for assembly.
DIY Front-Facing Bookshelf Assembly
Take your bottom board and connect your two end pieces using wood screws and wood glue.
Place the plywood strip on top of the bottom board, on the backside of the 1 x 4.
Attach by screwing in from the bottom with wood screws and use a craig jig to connect it to the end pieces on both sides.
Then attach your ½ stick on the front of both end pieces, like so:
One more sand and a coat of matte polyurethane and voila – you are good to go!
This DIY front-facing bookshelf cost less than $50 AND is completely functional for organization and decor!
If you like this little tutorial, be sure to leave me a note! I’d love to connect with you! And check out our other DIY tips here.
I’m Katelynn, but my friends call me Katie. I’m a mama of 4 and full-time real estate investor who has flipped over 75 homes with my husband Uriah. I love making spaces people want to call home.
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