Scrap Wood Bookshelf

8 Materials
1 Day

What a time to be alive right now, isn't it? Not a fantastic time at the moment, with the entire nation shut down for COVID-19 control... but we are getting through it one day at a time. A few things that are helping me to feel more accomplished during this time of uncertainty are helping to teach my daughter how to read and, of course, trying to get outside with her to do a few projects.

The only hang up is that I don't really want to get out to the stores... I really like to choose my own lumber for projects, so while I know you can do curbside pickup or home delivery from Lowe's or Home Depot, I haven't really gotten on board with it just yet. That left me with what I had leftover in my garage!

With all of the extra books that have piled up over the course of my daughter's growing love for reading, they were scattered all over the place - on the floor, in a random box, etc. It just wasn't working well for her room. Her room is too cute to not have a nice book storage option available! So, I decided to attempt a bookshelf using only the scraps in my garage. Somehow, it worked out!

First, I started with a super professional plan drawing:

Envision It!

My drawings are... not exact - I definitely edited my measurements as I went along and found out I didn't have enough wood hanging around!

Gather Your Materials

For this project, I used what was laying around in my garage after quite a few projects. What I ended up using was probably about:

  • (4-5) 2x4s @ 8 ft
  • (1) sheet 3/4" plywood (or MDF)
  • Pocket Hole Screws
  • Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Filler
  • Orbital Sander
  • Probably a planer
Cut Your Wood

The cuts:

  • 2 - 2x4s @ 59 3/4" (for the sides)
  • 4 - 2x4s @ 34 1/4" (shelf supports)
  • 1 - 3/4" plywood @ 31 1/2" x 12"
  • 1 - 3/4" plywood @ 31 1/2" x 10"
  • 1 - 3/4" plywood @ 31 1/2" x 8"
  • 1 - 3/4" plywood @ 31 1/2" x 6 1/2" (all of the plywood pieces were the shelf bottoms)
  • 4 - 2x4s @ 34 3/8" (shelf backs)
  • 2 - 2x4s @ 12"
  • 2 - 2x4s @ 10"
  • 2 - 2x4s @ 8"
  • 2 - 2x4s @ 6 1/2" (all of those were shelf side trim pieces)
Mark Your Side Rails for Angled Shelves

This was honestly the hardest part I think. Your shelf will be leaning on the wall, so you will need to angle each shelf just a bit on the legs so that they sit level.

First, I measured 7 1/2 degrees up from the bottom using a speed square. There is a cool way you can just pivot it and find angles - if you need to learn how to do this (like I did!) a quick google search will help you out. I drew that line and measured that it was about 7/16" from the bottom to the top of the angled line at its highest point.

So, I knew that each "high point" in each line for the shelves would need to be about 7/16" higher than the "low point". Using my measuring tape, I marked the low points of each shelf line first.

The first (bottom shelf) measured 5 5/16" up from the bottom of the leg (low point) with a high point of 5 3/4" on the other side. The second shelf was 22 7/16" up (low point) and 22 7/8" (high point). The third shelf was 38 1/16" up (low point) and 38 9/16" (high point). Finally, the fourth shelf was 52 11/16" up (low point) and 53 3/16" (high point). You use your speed square to connect each low point to high point, which gives you an angled line that will serve as your guide for your shelf supports.

I honestly wish I had more pictures of this step to show you - I was concentrating and forgot to take some!

Attach Your Shelf Supports

Using wood glue and pocket holes, I connected the shelf supports along the guiding lines of each of the shelf legs, making sure each was level as I went.

Build Your Shelves

I was running out of wood glue, so I substituted in interior construction adhesive - not my choice of materials, but I was using what I had during our quarantine! So, it had to do.

I drilled a series of pocket holes along the sides and back of each shelf bottom. If you have a pocket hole clamp to work with 90 degree angles, this would be a great time to use it. I, however, did not. So, my daughter helped to push against the 2x4 as I secured the shelf floor to the side trim pieces.

Once the side trim pieces were attached, I moved onto the back trim.

Plane/Sand Your Shelves to Fit and Attach to Supports

I needed to shave these down just a bit to get them to fit snugly into the shelving base - I got to use my hand planer for the first time and it was not nearly as bad as I expected! When the planer had done its job, I sanded everything down.

Then, I fit each shelf into place and secured to the legs with two wood screws on each side.

Finish Your Shelf

I filled in any holes and used a caulk to seal the corners - making it look like a solid piece!

We used some leftover primer and paint from previous projects to paint it a complimentary color for her room - I think it was Rustoleum's Chalked paint in Linen White. I sealed it with matte polyeurethane.

Attach to Wall

Your shelf is done! We used some L brackets to secure it to the wall (maybe not the most ideal choice, but that is what we had on hand).

She loves it!

Resources for this project:
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  3 questions
  • Susan Cormaci Haas Susan Cormaci Haas on Apr 19, 2020

    Looks like you have made a cool"house" bed for your daughter as well? way cool, what kid wouldn't love that!! Did you have a pattern?

  • Christine carlsen Christine carlsen on Apr 19, 2020

    How do you know how to measure? How do you know how to run those saws? Omg, your such a wonder, good job.

  • Short Short on Apr 21, 2021

    how do they reach top shelf. having little kids how did you anchor so it wouldn’t turn over. Safety first.

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2 of 49 comments
  • AndradeTea AndradeTea on Apr 21, 2021

    It looks perfect in the room. Love that you involved your Little. Great experience!

  • Debbie Debbie on Apr 21, 2021

    I absolutely love that. You did such a great job. Your daughter is so adorable.