How to Build Bookshelves

Table of Contents

Are you tired of buying bookshelves that don't fit your needs or style? Why not build your own bookshelves? Building bookshelves can be a fun and fulfilling DIY project that allows you to customize the shelves to fit your exact needs. In this article, we'll show you how to build bookshelves from scratch.

Materials Needed

Before you start building your bookshelves, you'll need to gather some materials. Here's a list of what you'll need:

  • 1-inch thick lumber for shelves and sides
  • Table saw or circular saw
  • Drill with drill bits
  • Screws
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or stain (optional)

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Lumber

Measure the length and width of the space where you want to place your bookshelves. Cut the lumber to the desired length and width using a table saw or circular saw. Make sure to cut enough pieces for the sides and shelves of the bookshelves.

Step 2: Drill Holes for Shelves

Mark where you want to place the shelves on the sides of the bookshelves. Drill holes in the sides where you marked the shelves. These holes will hold the shelves in place.

Step 3: Assemble the Bookshelves

Apply wood glue to the ends of the shelves and slide them into the holes in the sides. Use screws to secure the shelves in place. Make sure the bookshelves are level before tightening the screws.

Step 4: Sand and Finish

Once the bookshelves are assembled, sand them to remove any rough edges or splinters. You can then paint or stain the bookshelves to match your decor.

Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Bookshelves

Like any DIY project, building your own bookshelves has its pros and cons. Here are some things to consider before starting your project:


  • You can customize the design to fit your exact needs and style.
  • It can be a fun and fulfilling project to tackle.
  • Building your own bookshelves can be more cost-effective than buying pre-made ones.


  • It can be time-consuming, especially if you're new to DIY projects.
  • You'll need to have the necessary tools and materials on hand.
  • If you make a mistake, it can be costly to fix.


Q: How long does it take to build bookshelves?

A: The time it takes to build bookshelves depends on your experience level and the complexity of the design. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Q: Do I need to have woodworking experience to build bookshelves?

A: While it's helpful to have some woodworking experience, it's not necessary. There are plenty of beginner-friendly bookshelf designs you can try.

Q: How much does it cost to build bookshelves?

A: The cost of building bookshelves depends on the materials you use and the size and complexity of the design. It can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars.

Q: Can I build bookshelves without a table saw?

A: Yes, you can use a circular saw or even a handsaw to cut the lumber for your bookshelves. However, a table saw will make the process faster and more precise.


Building your own bookshelves can be a rewarding DIY project that allows you to create a customized storage solution for your books. While it may take some time and effort, the end result will be a functional and stylish addition to your home.