How To Build A Bookshelf – Building The Frame

To build the frame, lay the two six-foot boards on the ground, set on the one-inch side parallel to each other. Screw the 2’6″ section to one end of the boards, with a screw in each corner of the 2’6″ top board, making sure that the top piece overlaps the sideboards.

One the other end, attach the two-inch strips so that they span between the sideboards, with the 2″ surface facing out from the bookshelf. Attach one board flush with the front of the shelf, one flush with the back. These will serve double-duty as both trim and support for the bookshelf, so use two screws per end, per board, so that the boards remain sturdily affixed.

Next, cut another 2’4″ board from a new 1 x 2 x 6 board. This board will be your bottom shelf. Place this board at a right angle flush against the tops of the two base strips (the 1″ x 2″ x 2’4″ boards). Use the four corner braces and the ½” screws to attach the bottom shelf to the two strips.

Screws shouldn’t be seen

Doing it this way prevents visible screws along the side of the bookshelf. Of course, if you don’t care if screws show, you can skip using the braces and just screw the bottom shelf securely to the bottom brace-boards and the sides of the bookshelf.

How To Build A Bookshelf – Building The Frame


One of the most simple things when learning how to build a bookshelf is putting on the back of the bookshelf. Lay the bookshelf front-side down. Line up your plywood sheet with the edges of the bookshelf frame and tack it down all the way around the frame of the bookshelf with your nails. Try to space the nails about four inches apart to reduce the chances of the back warping and pulling away. You’ll come back and add some more nails after adding the shelves, too.

Adding shelves

First, measure from the top of the bottom shelf up 13″ and make a mark about 3″ in from the front edge of the bookcase. Make another mark at 14″, also 3″ in. From the 14″ mark, measure up and mark the next 13″ and 14″. Continue to the top until you have five 13″ intervals separated by four one-inch intervals. The one-inch intervals mark the “base position” for your shelves. Do the same for the other side (front) and again for both sides at the back, but only go in 2″ from the back instead of 3″.

Go back to your one-inch intervals and mark a small circle in the very center (make sure it is still 3″ from the front). If you want to have adjustable shelves, mark two more one-inch intervals below the “base position” and two more one-inch intervals above. Mark the center of each of these, as well. Do the same for all of the other one-inch intervals on each side, front and back, remaining 3″ in from the front and 2″ in from the back.

Take your drill and drill shallow holes, just slightly smaller in circumference than your shelf pins. This way the pins fit snuggly. Now, all that is left is to put the pins into the holes and place the shelves on top.

When learning how to build a bookshelf, If you want to hide the pins, you can cut small grooves into the bottoms of the shelves where they sit on the pins. This will allow the shelf to conceal the pins. On the other end of the spectrum, if you really don’t care about screw, pins, etc. showing then you can bypass buying shelf pins and drilling holes and, instead, simply screw the shelf to the sides of the bookshelf (going into the shelf from the outside of the bookshelf).

While building a bookshelf, make sure it compliments your beautiful home. Design the bookshelf according to your home.