Design and Build an Upright Bookshelf

What You'll Need
Table saw
3/4-inch plywood
Measuring tape
Wood screws
Electric screwdriver
Drill bits
Dowel rods
Rubber mallet
Wood glue

Do not waste several hundred dollars on an already built bookshelf when they are so easily designed and constructed. Even the most novice woodworkers can construct an upright bookshelf. The article that follows will show you how to design and build your very own upright bookshelf.

Step 1 - Design the Bookshelf

A bookshelf is a very basic design, as it consists of two sides and several horizontal boards that serve as both supports and shelves. This simple design can be made more complicated by adding vertical boards to break up large spaces. You can create small alcoves along with traditional shelves. Draw your design out on a piece of paper. Do not worry about exact measurements. You are looking for a very basic design to give yourself an idea of how many cuts you will need to make out of your plywood. Start simple with the basic shape and then fill in the middle however you please.

Step 2 - Size and Cutting

Decide where the bookshelf is going to be placed and measure that wall. Take into consideration anything else positioned around it. An upright bookshelf tends to be taller than it is wide. Decide how tall and wide you want the bookshelf to be. Also determine the depth of the bookshelf. Use your measurements and cut out two pieces from the plywood of the depth and height of the bookshelf. These will be your sides. Cut another piece from the plywood the width of the finished bookshelf. Cut out a bottom support in the same manner, minus 1 1/2 inches.

Step 3 - Make the Bookshelf Frame

You have enough cut pieces to construct the very basic bookshelf frame. Screw the two sides into the longer piece. Place them flush with the top piece and then, using two screws in each side, screw the top to each side. Measure six inches up from the bottom and make a mark. Place the bottom support between the sides and use the level to make sure it is even and then screw them in place.

Step 4 - Shelves and More

With the basic frame built you can now begin filling in the design you created. If you are using plain shelves then you can cut out pieces of plywood the same size as the bottom support. Screw them between the bookshelf sides every eight inches, starting from the bottom support. If you are making vertical dividers measure the space within the confines of the bookshelf to determine their size and cut. Install them the same way as you would a shelf. If making small shelves that fit between dividers, measure that space and cut the wood. Use a drill to make a hole and then cut the dowel rod and hammer in the hole with some wood glue. Place the small shelves on top of the dowel rods. Sand the wood down, and then stain the assembled bookshelf.