Wood Bookcase Plans: Step by Step Guide DIY

James Sakurai
4 min readJan 15, 2023

Building a wood bookcase is a straightforward DIY project that requires planning, the right tools, and the building materials of your preference. Whether you’re looking to create an eye-catching display in your living room or need extra storage space in your office, this guide will walk you through the basics of creating your own wooden bookcase.

Step 1: Choose Your Wood

The first step in building any bookcase is to choose the right type of wood. Depending on your budget and the desired look of your bookcase, you have a few options. Softwood such as pine and spruce are the most economical and easiest to work with, but hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry will give your bookcase a longer lifespan and a more luxurious look.

Step 2: Decide on the Bookcase’s Design

Once you’ve chosen the type of wood, it’s time to decide on the design of your bookcase. Popular designs include traditional styles with open shelves, taller cases with doors, and contemporary designs with intricate joinery. You can find plenty of bookcase plans online or at your local hardware store.

wood bookcase step by step DIY

Step 3: Gather the Necessary Tools and Supplies

Before you begin building your bookcase, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials. You’ll need a saw, drill, screws, and wood glue, as well as wood clamps for holding the pieces together while the glue dries. Depending on the design you’ve chosen, you may also need a router and a jigsaw.

Step 4: Cut and Assemble the Pieces

Once you have all the necessary tools and materials, it’s time to start cutting and assembling the pieces. Start by cutting the pieces for the sides, shelves, and back of the bookcase. Make sure to measure twice and cut once so your pieces are accurate.

Next, use wood glue and screws to assemble the sides and shelves. You can use a drill and screws to secure the back of the bookcase in place. If necessary, use a router and jigsaw to cut intricate details.

Step 5: Sand and Finish the Bookcase

Once the bookcase is assembled, it.

Step 6: Add Finishing Touches

Once the bookcase is assembled and sanded, it’s time to add the finishing touches. You can stain or paint the bookcase to match your existing furniture or to create a unique look. You can also add decorative elements like trim or molding to give the bookcase a more finished look.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Handiwork

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you can enjoy your handy work. Place the bookcase in its designated spot, fill it with your favorite books and admire your handiwork. With a little bit of planning, effort and creativity, you can create a beautiful and functional wooden bookcase that will last for years.

To build a wood bookcase you will need the following tools: Table Saw, Chop Saw, Attachment Tools, Random Orbital Sander, Hand Tools and Supplies, Circular saw, Carbide scribe, Scribe tool, Mallet, Studfinder, Jigsaw, 30-foot Tape Measure, Hammer, Nailset, Planer, Wood from the timber yard, Cordless drill with a combination drill bit, Wood glue, Pinner or Micro-pinner, Finish pins, Sandpaper or foam sanding blocks, Tape measure, Carpenter’s square, Hammer and nail set.

To construct a wooden bookcase, you will need the aforementioned basic equipment in addition to:

  1. The wood can be marked and measured with a measuring tape.
  2. The saw is used to shape and size the wood. It’s best to use a power saw like a circular or table saw, although a hand saw will do in a pinch.
  3. Drilling is used for making pilot holes and fastening screws.
  4. Clamps are used to maintain pressure on the assembled wood while the adhesive sets.
  5. Tools needed for assembly include a brad nailer or hammer and nails for securing the shelves and other components.
  6. Sandpaper is used to achieve a silky smoothness in wood.
  7. You can paint or stain the bookcase using a paint brush or roller.
  8. When working with wood or power tools, it’s important to wear protective gear including safety glasses, a face mask, and ear plugs.
  9. T-square or Speed square: used to check the angle of your cuts to make sure they are exactly 90 degrees.
  10. You will need a carpenter’s level to ensure that your bookshelf is assembled straight and true.

The best types of wood for bookcases are hardwoods such as cherry, walnut, maple and mahogany. These woods are strong, durable and attractive, making them perfect for bookshelves. Other popular woods for bookcases include pine, birch, red oak and Douglas fir. Softwoods such as cedar, white pine, and butternut are also suitable for bookshelves, although they are not as strong or durable as hardwoods.

Popular bookcase woods include:

  1. Pine: Pine is a lightweight, inexpensive, and easy-to-work softwood. Though less durable than other woods, it can be painted or stained to complement any style.
  2. Oak: Oak furniture is robust and enduring. It costs more than pine but is more durable. Oak’s grain pattern makes it popular in natural or clear varnish finishes.
  3. Maple: Another tough timber is maple. Modern or minimalist designs utilize its smooth, light-colored texture.
  4. Cherry: Cherry hardwood has a rich, warm hue and fine, consistent grain. It is more expensive than pine, oak, and maple but more durable.
  5. Birch: Birch resembles maple in color and grain. It costs more than maple but is more durable.
  6. Poplar: This hardwood resembles pine in color and grain. It is stronger than pine and cheaper than oak, maple, cherry, and birch.

The ideal bookcase wood depends on your budget, preferences, and bookshelf design.

wood bookcase DIY