Building a corner bookshelf cabinet is a challenging woodworking project that's good for a beginner with a little experience. A corner shelf saves space and provides a lovely way to display your books and other prized possessions. If you're new to woodworking, it's best to start with a small bookshelf as you adjust to making measurements and cuts.
Step 1: Bookshelf Cabinet Design
Before you begin, take measurements of your space to determine the dimensions of your bookshelf. Be sure to take into account the thickness of the wood on the top, sides and bottom of the cabinet, especially if you want a built-in look. Decide how many shelves you want and whether or not you want to include molding on the top or bottom sections of the bookshelf. The easiest way to compete this project is to use ready-made woodworking plans that you can buy from a home improvement store or find online.
Step 2: Measure and Cut
Using your plans, whether purchased or drawn up yourself, measure and cut the wood pieces you will need for the top, bottom, sides and shelves of your bookshelf. Be sure that your plans are solid and that these pieces will fit properly in the corner.
Step 3: Drill
Drill a hole into each of the 4 corners of the pieces of wood you will use for the sides.
Step 4: Sand
Sand the edges of your cut wood. This will allow the paint or stain to settle smoothly in the next step.
Step 5: Paint/Stain
Before you assemble the bookshelf cabinet, stain the wood or paint it another color. Give the L-brackets the same treatment for a uniform look.
Step 6: Assemble the Cabinet
Use wood screws to assemble the side pieces. You can use a few L-brackets spaced apart in the back if you wish, but the construction will be much sturdier once you attach the L-brackets and the shelves on the inside, as well as the top and bottom.
Next, attach the top and bottom pieces with screws and the holes you drilled earlier. Using a level, mark the spots on the wood where you'll want your brackets for shelves. Screw brackets in place. Attach the shelves.
Step 7: Optional - Bolt to the Wall for Safety
For safety, you may wish to bolt the book shelf to the wall. This may depend on the size and weight of the shelf and how soft and cushioned the carpet is beneath it. If you're in doubt, bolt it to the wall.
It's best to use drywall screws and bolt the shelf into wall studs. This is easy to achieve in a corner as the corner studs are accessible. You could also use toggles and screws to attach the edges if they don't line up with studs. This is also a good safety precaution if you're a new woodworker and at all in doubt about the square construction of your shelf, or if your walls aren't exactly square and the unit doesn't fit snugl. Keep in mind that your bookshelf will be even heavier once you fill it with books.