If you are a bookworm, then in all likelihood you have collected quite a number of books, more than enough to fit into your bookshelves. You might even have run out of space and some of your books are stacked on the floor, on your table, and any other available space. Sturdy bookcases are expensive, and if you have some carpentry skills, it is quite easy to build a bookcase that will be cheaper and sturdier than the ones sold commercially.
The instructions given here will be for a stand-alone, flush against the wall bookcase.
- Find a good area in your house where you want to place your bookcase.
- Measure the available space in your chosen spot to determine the width and the height of your bookcase. Typically, a floor to ceiling bookcase measuring eight feet tall by two feet wide can hold up to two hundred paperback books.
- Measure your tallest book to determine the number of shelves that you will put in your bookcase.
- Choose the right type of wood you want to use. Ideally hardwoods like poplar, cherry, maple, oak or walnut half an inch thick are the study ones which will be able to hold the most number of books. Plywood and pressed wood are cheaper but they are not as sturdy as the solid woods. You will also need to seal and finish the raw edges of plywood or pressed wood.
- From your measurements you can get the exact number and length of wood you will need for the shelves, the top, and the bottom and side panels. You also need to buy wood screws and finishing nails.
- Cut your wood to size for the side panels, top and bottom panels and the number of shelves.
- If you are using hardwood and wood screws, mark the wood in even spaces where the screws will go and pre-drill each hole. If you are using nails, use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the nail. Pre-drilling will help guide you and will also prevent the hardwood from splitting when you start screwing the panels in place.
- Assemble the bookcase frame first. Lay the bottom panel on its thin side on the floor and push the end flush against the wall for support. Align the ends of the bottom and side panels, and screw in place. Do the same to the other side and then the top panel.
- Divide and mark the inside of your bookcase frame where the shelves should be. You should add an inch or two as allowance from the top of your tallest book and the next shelf to facilitate the removal of a tall book.
- Attach your shelves to the bookcase frame. Use a level to ensure the proper alignment of the shelves.
- You have finished making a bookcase. If the case is too tall, you can prevent it from toppling over by driving screws on to the floor and one of the side panels onto the wall.
- If you intend to add some wood stain or other treatments such as painting and varnishing the hardwood, be sure to do that before the assembly.
A solid wood bookshelf that is thirty six inches wide can hold books without support. Beyond that the middle will eventually sag due to the weight of the books. If you want to build a wider bookshelf that will fit an entire wall, make sure that you add vertical supports to the shelves. Do not align the vertical supports. Instead, place them at evenly distributed intervals.