How to Make a Bookshelf: Learn Steps to Build a Bookshelf

We all prefer to do different things in our free time, some will opt to watch movies from their laptops, go camping with family, while others will prefer to read. In this article, we will be catering to the latter, book lovers. 

An enchanting little space painstakingly prepared to act as a little getaway, a place you can go and tour the world without leaving your home. A secret getaway for some, and a hidden street of imagination for others, a place nestled with books to keep your interests on fire – a bookshelf.

A simple yet useful thing in the life of every book lover. Its simplicity is in the sense that it is a box-like item with a shelf or shelves placed in the middle to hold as much literature as it can. There are numerous ways to create a beautiful reading spot in your home or workspace; making a bookshelf can be exciting to bibliophiles. If you’re a minimalist, we got you covered with easy steps to follow.

How to Make a Bookshelf 

You can have a carpenter make you a simple or sophisticated bookshelf, but if you are a DIY fanatic, you can make it at home, using locally available items. The beauty of DIY is that you can use it as an excuse to spend more time with your children if you have any.

Kids love hands-on activities, and this can be a great project to indulge them. After all, don’t they also need a space to keep their books or even toys? Besides, it will give them pride if they take part in its creation.

To put together a simple yet functional bookshelf to fill up that space that seems too empty in your home, follow these simple steps:

Assemble the Supplies

Assemble all the supplies you will use before you start the process of building a bookshelf. Most bookshelves are wooden, although you can make a metallic one. Metallic is quite challenging; therefore, if doing a DIY, wood is easy to work with.

You can go down to the lumberyard to buy hardwood and plywood. The hardwood would be for the sides, while plywood for the back. Other items you will need to include:

  1. Hand saw
  2. Miter saw
  3. Power drill
  4. Wood glue
  5. Tape measure
  6. Grit sandpaper
  7. Finishing nails
  8. Overall and gloves (optional)

Measure and cut the wood

Using your tape measure, take measurements of your wood, depending on how big or small you want your bookshelf. The best tool for cutting your wood is a miter saw, but if you don’t feel like cutting your own wood, you can have them cut at the lumberyard for free if you buy from their store.

The standards measurements are 3/4 inches thick and 28 1/2 inches tall. If you want a decorative piece at the top, then make the shelf 30 inches tall.

Sand your wood pieces

With your wood pieces ready, you will need a smooth finish before you start joining them. Using either an electric sander or grit sandpaper, sand down each piece of wood thoroughly until the wood is smooth enough. Getting the sand done at the lumber store can be a little costly; that is why it is DIY is preferred to save on costs. Sanding removes uneven surfaces and leaves the wood flawless.

Drill pocket holes and join the wooden pieces

Using a power drill, create pocket holes on the boards. Pocket holes keep wood from splitting and make it easy to assemble and join the woods to each other. Please note that the hardwood is used to fix the sides of the bookshelf, give it balance, and hold as many books as the bookshelf can, while the plywood is used to support the back of the bookshelf so that the books will not fall off.

Some bookshelves can also be backless, especially if they are placed against the wall, so the wall can protect the books from falling. Depending on your preference, you can choose to ignore plywood.

Pro Tip: When joining the wooden pieces to each other, you can either use screws or wood glue. In some instances, you may use both for a stronger grip.

A little paint goes a long way!

Your bookshelf is now ready to show off, but wait, a little paint to add a shine to it won’t do any harm. You can let it be as it is for that rusty, distressed look, or you can choose to paint it. Black or brown paint works perfectly for an edgy finish, while white creates a new, sophisticated look.

How to Organize your Bookshelf

How to Make a Bookshelf

Congratulations! You have managed to make your own bookshelf at home, and it’s now time to populate it with your literature. You can organize your bookshelf in any way you want, but here are a few clever tips that can go a long way in helping you with this quest.

Organize your bookshelf by the cover

Books come either in soft copy, paperbacks, or hardcover. You can read your soft copies on Kindle but for the physical book, arrange them by the type of cover they have. Paperbacks are delicate and can suffer tears when mishandled.

Organize them in such a way that the paperbacks stay on one side and the hardcovers stay on another side. This way, choosing which book to read after vacuuming the house will be so easy

Arrange your books by color

Some readers associate stories with colors, and if you are one, you can transform this into a bookshelf arrangement idea. You can arrange your books by color, and you can be creative by color blocking the different colors or stacking the colors between each other to create a rainbow feel. Many people do color coordination in their wardrobes, but you can try it with your bookshelf.

Stack them together

Stacking might be an old habit, but we all know that old habits die hard. You can stack your books neatly on the bookshelf, ranging from the biggest to the smallest. You can stack them by size, color, or genre; there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Organize your books by Subject

Grouping your books by subject makes it easier to find a book, especially when you are in a hurry. Have them in groups of fiction and non-fiction, contemporary, travel books, cookbooks, English literature, and so on.

Organizing books in this manner saves you the hustle of rummaging through your bookshelf looking for a particular book. When you know what genre it is, you go to where it is located and pull out the book you need.

Separate books alphabetically

Alphabetical order is a great way to organize your bookshelf, especially if you know the book titles or authors by heart; otherwise, you may still rummage through the already arranged bookshelf looking for a book that is in plain sight.

Alphabetical order is also encouraged if you have a large collection of books; it makes it easy for other people who don’t live with you to find a book easily when they visit. You won’t have to stop what you are doing to grab a book for them.

How to Decorate a Bookshelf

Your bookshelf does not need to be plain and boring; you can throw in a few decorative items to make it more stylish. Here are a few ideas for decorating your shelf.

Add a flower vase at the top of the shelf

Yes! A flower has the ability to change the look of any space, a bookshelf notwithstanding. You can add a simple flower vase on top of the bookshelf, either with an artificial flower or a living one, which of course, you will have to water frequently to keep fresh.

Bookends, please!

Bookends are pretty items used to keep your books from falling, but that’s not the only purpose they serve. They can be used to express your personality, especially from the type of bookend you choose to use. Besides keeping your books together, they add a decorative touch to your shelf, making it more stylish. There are a variety of bookends for your selection; animals, foodstuff, birds, name it. The choice ultimately lies with you!

How about some lighting?

Your reading space needs to be inviting and calming simultaneously, and lighting provides both effects. You can either add some fairy lights or a lamp that is disguised as a book. Lighting adds some sparkle and turns your reading space into a little fairyland, just like a page out of the books you’re reading.

Stay unique

Finding ideas for decorating your bookshelf is great, but ultimately, you are the number one architect of your space. Let your bookshelf reflect your personality and make it unique to you. Figure out what you like and how you want it to look like, and make it happen. The unwritten rule remains; create a space you will always love to be in.

Making your own bookshelf saves you money and allows you to fill up the empty spaces in your home. With all the available DIY ideas and inspiration these days, this is a perfect opportunity to learn some woodwork and other basic carpentry skills, even for future use.