One of the most functional pieces of furniture is the bookcase. It helps in organizing books and reading materials while providing a space to display your favorite accent pieces, photo frames, and personal mementos. If you like do-it-yourself home projects, making bookcases can be fun because you can design a bookcase that will give your space an instant makeover. If you are not into it, buying bookcases becomes the next best alternative.

How to make a bookcase?

Building your own bookcase is quite easy. Follow these basic steps for hassle-free construction:

1. Design an easy-to-make bookcase and take measurements. It is important to make sure that your bookcase will fit the area where you want it to be.

  • Find the perfect length and width. The standard size is about 12 to 16 inches deep and comes with 2, 3, or 5-shelves, but it all depends on what you need.
  • Decide if you are going to use it to house your coffee table, hardback, or paperback books. You can optimize its versatility by having adjustable shelves to accommodate different book sizes.

2. Select the material. Getting the right material is another essential step on how to make a simple bookcase. There are different kinds of wood to choose from, but be ready to shell out more money if you prefer solid wood. For a more affordable option, you can use premium plywood with a hardwood veneer.

  • For the body, buy ¾-inch plywood.
  • If you want a closed back to prevent the book from touching the wall, buy ¼ -inch plywood.

3. Use the right saw to get the perfect cut. The best choices are circular saw and table saw. When cutting the pieces, remember to:

  • Ensure a clean cut by pushing the wood or plywood through the saw. Use a roller table or horses to support the cutting process.
  • Make a 3/8-inch cut into the wood pieces to secure and allow proper sitting on two sides.
  • Use a drill bit to create holes and ensure the adjustability of the shelves.

4. Assemble the pieces. At this juncture, you are ready to display your skills in making bookcases.

  • Place the top piece to the side pieces. Apply glue on the rabbet grooves, then place the top piece. To stabilize and secure the top, use pocket screws.
  • Add the center and bottom shelves. Secure them by applying glue to supporting blocks and attaching them with 2-inch wood screws.
  • Put the support blocks. To strengthen the frame, you can put the support blocks at the bottom or center shelf. However, adding support blocks in the center will not allow you to adjust the shelves anymore.
  • Attach the back panel. Secure the back panel with 1-inch brads that keep it in place. Make sure that there are no loose screws at the back to create a perfect finished look.
  • Fit the trim or molding. Customize the design of a bookcase by making a classic or modern bookcase molding. It provides an impression of a built-in item and makes your DIY project more professional looking. Glue and nail the edges of the molding to prevent possible splitting.

How to make a bookcase with doors?

If you want your bookcase hidden from the sight and create a seamless, minimalist theme in the room, adding a door is the ideal solution. The procedure on how to make a bookcase is the same, with the addition of building and attaching the door to the finished item.

Make sure that the frame has room for the reverse-bevel hinges. This lets you install a flush-mount door directly to the bookcase. Use light and attractive hardwood plywood for the door.

  • Measure the bookcase opening and add 3 inches to the width and length. For instance, the opening is 35 by 70 inches, make it 38 by 73 inches.
  • Cut the plywood to a single piece following the necessary measurement, then create a 30-degree bevel on the four edges of the bottom part.
  • Flip the plywood upside down and split it into two pieces lengthwise.
  • Sand to smooth the plywood edges with an orbital sander. Apply wipe stain or paint the door to match the existing bookcase structure. For this procedure, you need to wait for 24 hours to allow the finish to set in.
  • Use reverse bevel hinges on the top and bottom corners to attach the door. Secure the small, rectangular plate of the hinges to the back of the doors with 5/8-inch screws, 2 inches up from the bottom and 2 inches down from the top.
  • Fit the door on your bookcase and attach the hinges securely using screws and a cordless gun.

How to paint a bookcase?

For finishing touches, proper sanding is vital to guarantee a successful painting or staining process. A 150 grit sandpaper works excellently in removing raised grain and handling marks.

You may also want to browse and get inspiration from painted bookcases ideas to make your own project a statement piece in the room.

  • Make your bookcase captivating by painting it with bright colors, contrasting colors, or different shades of colors. This will bring an impactful look that transforms it into a creative, modern bookcase.
  • Opt for a high-gloss finish like metallic teal or glossy black. Any of these colors will highlight your book collection and accent pieces.

To paint the unit, here are the steps you need to do:

  • Apply primer to help the wood absorb the paint evenly and create a uniform finish.
  • Let it dry before applying the first coat of paint.
  • Allow it to dry again before applying the final coat.

How to choose a bookcase?

For people who want a ready-to-use bookcase, check out this buying guide:

  • Consider the space of the room where you will put it. If you have a big space, buy a wide bookcase. For limited space, go for tall and narrow bookcases that offer a lot of dividers.
  • Know your purpose to find the right style and material to maximize its usage. A standard bookcase will suffice if you just want a place for your books and decorative stuff. If you want a functional and decorative piece, buy a cube bookcase with storage boxes or a modern bookcase with a unique shape or shelves.

Whether you want to buy or make your own bookcase, always consider the style that fits your needs and suits your living or working space.