I think I sometimes make life more complicated by building things myself. If only it weren’t so rewarding! I come up with the most convoluted ways of doing things because I am still new to building, and self taught to boot. Nonetheless, I get it done and the finished product is usually the exact vision I had, and way stronger than it needed to be. My latest project was figuring out how to build a bookcase.
My daughter has very specific taste. I don’t know where she gets it (can you hear my sarcasm?)! We are mid makeover in her room and she wanted the dimensions of her bookcase to be exactly the way she wanted it. So off I went to build a bookcase and make her book storage dreams come true.
The dimensions for this bookcase are 36.5″H x 38.75″W x 14.25″D. Like I said, this was very specific to her instruction.
- Dust Mask
- Ear Plugs
- Eye Protection
- Miter Saw
- Circular Saw
- Orbital Sander
- Tape Measure
- Speed Square
- 120 and 220 grit sandpaper
- Kreg Jig I have a K5
- Wood Glue
- 1- 4×4 sheet of 1/4″ sanded plywood, I use Purebond because they don’t use formaldehyde
- Cut to 33.5″Hx35.5″W
- 3- 1x12x8 boards
- Cut 2 shelves at 37″
- Top 35.5″
- Sides 2- 33.5″
- Bottom 35.5
- Inset pieces to support the shelves were cut as follows: 2 – 11″ 2- 9.75″ 2- 10.75″
- can be adjusted based on the desired shelf height.
- 6- 2x2x8 boards
- Cut as frames for top 2- 38.75″ 2- 14.25″ mitered at 45°
- Frame for each side- 2- 35″ mitered to 45° at the bottom, straight edge on top 1- 14.25″ mitered to 45° on both ends
- Bottom- 2- 35.5″ straight edge
- Shelf faces- 2- 35.5″ straight edge
I wanted to use solid boards for the majority of this bookcase instead of plywood. Unfortunately, the widest board sold at my lumber yard is 12″. Reference daughter dearest’s dimensions and you can see, that won’t cut it. She has books that are 13″ wide. How would they fit? Where would they go? If you haven’t realized, I have Belle as a daughter, she wants All The Books! My remedy for the 12″ shortcoming: Add a 2×2 boarder around the 12″ wood to make it than much wider. Ta Da!
Cut the 1×12″ to 35.5″ long. Then, using the 2×2, cut a frame with 45° mitered corners to fit perfectly around it.
Using the Kreg Jig, drill a substantial amount of holes in the 1×12 to hold that 2×2 on.
Glue and Screw:
The 2×2 should be flush with the top of the 1×12. This is a great way to get the look of a chunkier piece of wood without the cost.
Construct and Attach the Sides:
Using pocket holes, attach 1- 2×2 on the long edges of the sides with the straight edge toward the top and the mitered edges at the bottom. Drill pocket holes at the top as well. You will use those to attach the sides to the top.
To complete the frame, you need to add the bottom. Take a 1×12 and attach 1- 2×2 on either long edge using pocket holes. There are no mitered cuts on this piece. Clamps will help you work through this project to make sure all your pieces stay aligned while you screw them in.
The clamps also make a great second set of hands to hold up the bottom while you attach it to the sides.
Attach the bottom with pocket holes directly into the bottom 2×2 on the sides.
Attach the lower shelf 12″ up from the bottom. The upper shelf will be 10 1/2″ up from that. Please note, these measurements are to the top of the shelf, not the underside.
You could skip this next part and just fill the pocket holes and go about your life. I didn’t feel like doing that so I did this instead.
Glue and clamp the inset pieces in place. From the bottom up they go as follows: 11″, 9.75″ and 10.75″
Can you see the difference? It looks a bit heftier at the bottom, right?
After all the shelves are in place, glue and nail the remaining 2x2s to the front of the shelves to give them a more substantial look.
Cut the plywood to size nail in place with a nail gun along the back of the bookcase.
A little wood putty and some caulk to fill all the holes and you are good to go.
I can’t wait to show you the paint idea my daughter had! You can see the wonderful paint job this baby got right here.