7 Surprising Built-In Bookcase Designs | This Old HouseIf your books and photographs are still displayed on a couple of boards held up by a pile of bricks, here's some good news: It doesn't require a master carpenter, a workshop full of tools, and thousands of dollars to add built-in bookcases to your home. All it takes, essentially, is some sturdy veneer plywood and a circular saw. By laminating a series of short support pieces to a longer strip of wood you can create the appearance of thick boards that have been routed to accept shelves. Some solid-wood trim covering all the plywood edges hides your clever trickery, leaving you with a piece of furniture worthy of a great library. Traditionally, built-in bookcases are made with solid wood boards, carefully routed to make tight grooves that accept each shelf. But sawn lumber is expensive — enough oak for a 8-foot bookcase, for example, could run into thousands of dollars.
How to Build a Bookcase
Renovation, cabinet building and woodworking plans and tutorials. If you want to do arches, simply follow my tutorial to create uniform arches for the top rail when you get to the faceframe. Check out my Cabinet Building eBook for all my cabinet building tips, techniques and instructions for different building methods. Links in this post may be affiliate links. However, lumber prices vary and fluctuate so make sure to price out your materials. The cutlist below is for four bookcases. This ensures that my shelf pins are even and perfectly spaced and located.
How to build wall to wall bookcases
Basic Bookcase Build
I built my first bookcase in middle school. A multitiered assemblage of wooden planks laid across stacks of bricks, it was reminiscent of pieces from the early Flintstone Period--and I was proud to have made it myself. Since that masterpiece, I've built 50 or 60 more, most while working as a cabinetmaker for an interior design firm, where I learned the carpentry skills, design guidelines and construction techniques used in the bookcase shown here. Basically consisting of three plywood boxes fitted with a hardwood face frame, this piece looks built-in because it spans from wall to wall, and is trimmed with molding at the ceiling and floor. With moderate skills and some patience, it wouldn't be hard to make this project fit any space.