DIY Pallet Bookshelf for Kids

by Dinah
6 Materials
4 Hours
To BUY this beautiful children's bookshelf, click here! We obtain our pallets for free from local businesses. Start by disassembling the pallet, then cutting and sanding the boards for use.
You will need the following pieces to build the shelf: • (2) 47” side rails (we use the notched rails, as these are commonly found on pallets) • (4) 22” x 5” front boards • (7) 22” x 3 1/2” back boards • (4) 19” x 3 3/8” bottom shelf boards (the width of the bottom boards may vary slightly, depending on how deep the side rails are. You may want to cut these last, just prior to nailing them in.) • (30) deck screws (reserve 2 for the robe hook) • 2" nails
Once the pieces are gathered, cut and sanded, screw each 22" board to the 47" side pieces along the "ridges" using the deck screws (2 on each side). Not all pallets are the same, so sometimes the width in between each board can vary. This isn't a big deal since children's books come in all kinds of sizes! The boards on the shelf pictured vary from 12" to 8.5" in between each board.
This is a closer image of how the boards are attached along the sides. Make sure to secure the front boards across the ridge, to allow space for the books to fit.
Next, paint the front portion of the shelf in your color of choice. Then individually paint the (7) 3 -1/2" back boards. Once all is dry, line up 4 of the 3-1/2" boards along the back. Make sure the bottom edge is even with the bottom edge of the front board (this is how you'll secure the bottom of each shelf), then screw them in place using 1 deck screw on each side.
For the additional 3 back boards, space them evenly between the boards directly above and below and screw them in with the deck screws (1 on each side). These boards keep books from falling out the back.
Insert the shelf boards so the bottom edge is flush with the bottom edge of the front and back boards. Nail each bottom board in place on the front and backside using 2" nails. We recommend using 2-3 nails for each side.
Since this shelf does not stand upright on its own, we use 1/2" sisal rope and a robe hook to secure the shelf to the wall (though you may also choose to secure it using sheetrock anchors).
Attach the sisal rope to each side of the top shelf with a knot, leaving enough rope to hang over the robe hook. (THIS DOES NOT HANG FROM THE WALL!)
I highly recommend using a robe hook which has a deep "U" shape. This keeps the rope from slipping off easily. Use 2" deck screws to fasten the hook to the wall (do not use the small screws that come in the package). Make the distance enough where the rope will be taut, but not tight. You can personalize the shelf painting freehand or stencils.
To BUY this beautiful children's bookshelf, click here! Once complete, the shelf will sit at a slight lean against the wall. Fill it up with up with books and let the reading begin!
Suggested materials:
  • Pallet wood   (local businesses)
  • Paint   (Lowes)
  • 2" nails   (Lowes)
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 6 questions
  • Ellen-Jerry Sewitch Ellen-Jerry Sewitch on Aug 13, 2017

    is it ok for the front boards to be 3 1/2 inches or does it have to be 5 inches? and why

  • Ellen-Jerry Sewitch Ellen-Jerry Sewitch on Sep 07, 2017

    Approx how many feet of rope do you need to hang it on the hook?

  • Laurie Laurie on Sep 07, 2017

    How long did it take to complete this project?

Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments