How to Easily Build a DIY Mini Bookshelf Using Chair Rail

by Well_shetried

Let's turn this 4-foot chair rail into a DIY mini bookshelf. I wanted a way to display books and create a reading nook in the nursery.

These mini bookshelves fit board books perfectly! Let me show you how to make a mini bookshelf for a baby’s room or any space in your home.

Bookshelves made from chair rail

Tools and materials:

  • 4-foot chair rail (I found mine at Home Depot)
  • Scrap wood for side and bottom pieces
  • Gorilla wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Golden oak wood stain
  • Paintbrush or rag for staining
  • Clean rags
  • Sandpaper (220-grit)
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Two L brackets
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Brad nailer
  • Books
Wood for the shelves

Step 1: Cutting the chair rail

Using a saw, I carefully cut the 4-foot chair rail in half to create two equal-sized pieces. I measured and marked the midpoint before cutting to ensure accuracy.

Applying wood glue

Step 2: Adding side and bottom pieces

I cut scrap wood pieces to match the length of the chair rail halves to create the shelf and some pieces for the sides.

Gluing the pieces with wood glue
I used Gorilla wood glue along the edges where the side and bottom pieces to attach to the chair rail halves. Clamps held the pieces securely together while the glue dried. (I allowed sufficient time for the glue to set according to the manufacturer's instructions.)

Adding nails with a Brad nailer
I also added nails with a Brad nailer for additional support after the glue dried.

Denatured alcohol

Step 3: Preparing and staining the wood

Since I was pregnant, I didn’t want to handle the stain. Once the glue dried, my friend removed the clamps and sanded the surfaces of the mini bookshelves with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or imperfections and wiped away any dust with a clean cloth and denatured alcohol.

Applying wood stain
Then my friend applied the golden oak wood stain evenly across the surfaces of the shelves using a paintbrush or rag, allowing the stain to penetrate the wood according to the instructions on the stain container.

Mounting the shelves

Step 4: Mounting the shelves

Making sure the shelves are level
I used a stud finder to locate the wall studs (you can use wall anchors if studs are not available). I positioned the L brackets on the wall to mount the shelves, ensuring they were level, and drilled to create pilot holes.

Attaching the shelves

Step 5: Attaching the shelves

I placed the mini bookshelves onto the L brackets, ensuring they were aligned properly. I then drilled pilot holes in the bottom of the shelves where they would attach to the brackets and secured the shelves to the brackets using screws and a screwdriver.

Displaying books on the shelves
With the shelves securely mounted, I arranged some favorite board books to complete the transformation.

DIY mini bookshelf

DIY mini bookshelf

These mini bookshelves were so easy to make! Just this little bit of wood allows me to arrange books creatively to showcase our collection and add visual interest to the space. Let me know what you think of this project in the comments!

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