How to build a D.I.Y. bookcase

kirsty cash
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How to build a D.I.Y. bookcase

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Project Overview

If you’re looking for more storage space at home, this bookcase might be the perfect solution. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make with a few simple materials, and its minimalist look will suit almost any room. Continue to step-by-step instructions
depth drill
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00:17
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How to drill to a certain depth

If you want to match the length of a fixing or avoid drilling through to the other side, here’s an easy way to get the hole depth right every time. Take your fixing and line it up with your drill bit. Wrap masking tape around the bit to mark the length of the fixing. Then drill until your masking tape marker is flush with the surface.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut your timber to size
2 Measure and mark for the shelves
3 Transfer the measurements
4 Draw the lines for the shelves
5 Mark for the shelf support holes
6 Drill the shelf support holes
7 Assemble the frame
8 Sand the bookcase
9 Paint the bookcase
10 Attach the back to the bookcase
11 Sand and wax the shelves
12 Install the shelves
13 Fill the shelves
  • Step 1. Cut your timber to size

    To make this project easier, you can have your timber cut to size at your local Bunnings.

    We had our 2400mm x 1200mm x 17mm form ply cut to:

    • 2000mm x 295mm x 2
    • 565mm x 3
    • 563mm x 4
  • Step 2. Measure and mark for the shelves

    Take one of the long lengths of timber and measure out the positions for the shelves. This bookcase will include a fixed shelf in the centre and four other shelves. Measure and mark the halfway point, which is where the fixed shelf will go.  Square this mark off with a pencil line. Measure and mark the positions for the other shelves.

  • Step 3. Transfer the measurements

    Line up the other unmarked length of long ply so that it’s flush with the marked piece. Transfer the marks for the shelves onto the second piece of ply. This will ensure the shelves are straight and even when you install them.

  • Step 4. Draw the lines for the shelves

    Once you’ve marked the shelf positions on both side panels, lay them flat together on the bench and draw straight lines across the panels.

  • Step 5. Mark for the shelf support holes

    Use the square to mark the positions where you’ll drill holes for the shelf supports. You’ll need two supports for each shelf.

  • Step 6. Drill the shelf support holes

    When drilling the holes for the shelf supports, you need to be careful not to drill too deeply. A good tip is to wrap masking tape around the 3mm drill bit at the level you want. Now you can safely drill all of the eight holes for the shelf supports.

  • Step 7. Assemble the frame

    Two of the 565mm pieces of ply are for the top and bottom of the cupboard. Starting with the top piece, make sure it is flush with the end of the side panel and pre-drill holes using a 5mm bit. Then screw into place using 45mm screws. Attach the other side length panel to the top piece the same way. Then you’ll need to add the bottom piece of ply in the same way. It’s a good idea to use corner clamps to secure the frame while you’re working or get some help from a friend to hold it steady.

  • Step 8. Sand the bookcase

    Once the frame is complete, sand it all over with the orbital sander and 180 grit sandpaper for a nice finish. Make sure you sand the shelf edges as well to remove any splinters.

  • Step 9. Paint the bookcase

    Wipe the bookcase down to remove any dust before you start painting. You’ll need to use masking tape where you’re cutting in with a paint brush to ensure the lines are straight. Then use a roller to paint the larger areas. Apply as many coats as needed. It’s a good idea to give it a light sand between coats.

  • Step 10. Attach the back to the bookcase

    Once the paint is dry, flip the bookcase over to attach the back. Make sure the ply is flush on both sides, then hammer the 25mm soft sheet nails into place. Once the back is secure, use a router to remove any excess. Once the backing is trimmed to size, secure it with more nails.

  • Step 11. Sand and wax the shelves

    Give the shelves a quick sand and then wipe away any dust. Apply wax to the shelves, which will help to protect them and give them a great finish.

  • Step 12. Install the shelves

    Insert the shelf supports into the drilled holes, then place the shelves on top of them.

  • Step 13. Fill the shelves

    All you need to do now is find a good spot for the bookcase and fill it with your favourite books, photos and artwork.
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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 Test.
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