D.I.Y. industrial wooden bookshelf

Michelle, Team member
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D.I.Y. industrial wooden bookshelf

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Project Overview

This industrial style wooden bookshelf not only looks great, it’s the perfect home for those bits and pieces that would otherwise be on the floor. Find out how easy it is to build a modern bookshelf like this in just a short amount of time. Continue to step-by-step instructions
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Sometimes tight or rusted screws just won’t come out. To fix this problem, pour some white vinegar into a small bowl and use an eyedropper to drip some on the head of the screw. Wait for several minutes while the vinegar flows down over the thread. Take your screwdriver and give it another go and you’ll be amazed at just how easily the screw comes out.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut your timber
2 Cut the mitre join
3 Make the A-frame
4 Attach the braces
5 Join the frames together
6 Make the smaller A-frame
7 Measure and mark for the shelf supports
8 Attach the supports
9 Putty and sand
10 Paint the frames
11 Sand the shelves
12 Wax the shelves
13 Assemble the bookshelf
14 Display your handiwork
  • Step 1. Cut your timber

    To make this D.I.Y. project even easier you can have the timber pre-cut to size at your local Bunnings. First, we had our 42mm x 19mm pine cut to:

    Large triangular frame

    • 330mm x 7
    • 245mm x 2
    • 700mm x 2
    • 2030mm x 4

    Small triangular frame

    • 330mm x 5
    • 245mm x 2
    • 700mm x2
    • 1750mm x 4

    We then cut our 240mm x 45mm Tasmanian Oak to:

    • 2030mm x 4
  • Step 2. Cut the mitre join

    Set the mitre saw to 10 degrees. Take one of the 2030mm lengths of timber and make a mitre cut at the end. Measure and mark the desired length of the A-frame on the timber. Make another mitre cut, making sure it’s a mirror image of the first. Repeat this for the three other lengths of timber that make up the frame.

  • Step 3. Make the A-frame

    Once you’ve cut the timber for the frames, it’s time to join them. Take the two longer pieces and a 700mm piece and lay them out to form a triangle. Clamp the timber to the workbench. Use the 3mm drill bit to pre-drill holes, then glue and screw into place using the 50mm screws. Repeat this process to make the other A-frame.

  • Step 4. Attach the braces

    To attach the braces, take a piece of the 330mm timber and place it at the apex of the triangle. Pre-drill, glue and screw the timber to the top of the triangle. Then attach another two 245mm pieces at the base following the same process. Pre-drill using the 3mm drill bit, glue and screw with the 50mm screws.

  • Step 5. Join the frames together

    Put one A-frame on top of the other. Use a timber offcut to help clamp the brace into place. Pre-drill with the 3mm drill bit before securing using glue and your 50mm screws in each corner of the A-frame.

  • Step 6. Make the smaller A-frame

    Repeat previous steps to make the second, smaller A-frame using the 1750mm lengths of timber.

  • Step 7. Measure and mark for the shelf supports

    Once you’ve made two A-frames for the bookshelf, measure and mark the position of the shelf supports. You can put these wherever you like, but make sure the positions correspond with both frames so the shelves sit straight.

    The easiest way to do this is to use the inverted small triangle and place a straight edge across the top to establish where the supports should go for the larger triangle. Repeat the process for each support along the length of the A-frame. For the small A-frame, our first shelf measured 510mm from the base or apex. The next shelf measured 610mm from the bottom of the first shelf to the bottom of the second. From the bottom of the second shelf to the top of the frame measured 660mm.
  • Step 8. Attach the supports

    The supports are attached to the outside of the frame by pre-drilling with the 3mm drill bit, gluing and screwing in 30mm screws. We attached two supports to the smaller A-frame, the top of the frame formed a shelf support in its own right. For the larger A-frame we attached three shelf supports to the outer frame.

  • Step 9. Putty and sand

    Putty up any screw holes and gaps. Leave to dry and give a light sand with 120 grit sandpaper.

  • Step 10. Paint the frames

    You can paint the A-frames any colour you like. We used black to give it an industrial look. When using the spray paint wear a mask and do it in a well ventilated room. Use smooth, even sprays to ensure a seamless finish.

  • Step 11. Sand the shelves

    The timber for the shelves has been pre-cut at Bunnings but give it a light sanding with the 120 grit sandpaper and finish off with the 240 grit sandpaper. Wipe away any dust.

  • Step 12. Wax the shelves

    We used a Carnauba wax to bring out the grain and help protect the hardwood. Use a rag to apply the wax all over the shelves.

  • Step 13. Assemble the bookshelf

    Once the shelves are waxed and dry, slide them into the bookshelf. You’ll need an extra pair of hands to hold the inverted A-frame in place while the shelves are placed on the supports. You can secure with screws if you want a sturdier bookshelf.

  • Step 14. Display your handiwork

    Now it’s time to step back and enjoy your new industrial wooden bookshelf. Why not use it to display your favourite plants and mementos or store books and folders so they’re out of the way. 

Tools and Materials


  • Clamps
  • Combination square
  • Compound mitre saw
  • Cordless drill and driver with Philips head bit
  • Drop sheet
  • Earmuffs
  • Level or straight edge
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Orbital sander
  • Pencil
  • Rags
  • Respirator mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves


  • 42mm x 19mm x 2.4m Radiata pine x 12
  • 240mm x 45mm x 5.4m Tasmanian oak x 2
  • 6–8 gauge 30mm and 50mm timber screws
  • Natural carnauba wax
  • PVA or wood glue
  • 240 grit and 120 grit sandpaper
  • Spray paint
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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