I am a wannabe builder. If you following me for a while you see all of the building projects I do. I love Ana White to pieces and admire her can-do attitude when it comes to creating her own furniture.
I so desire to build my own furniture one day but my confidence level is low when it comes to this. All that measuring perfectly scares me. However, my friend asked me to make her some bookshelves, and she is so easy going I figured I would try my hand at making some custom bookshelves for her living room.
If they aren’t perfect she would totally just roll with it. So I asked Ana if she would tweak the directions for the Kentwood bookshelves to be 2″ wide by 7″ tall.
Here I am, all hot, sweaty, and proud of the bookshelves I made, and willingly sharing with you how to build a bookshelf so you can also take on this project.
The inspiration for the shelves were the Kenwood Bookshelves from Restoration Hardware.
How Much Did it Cost to make it?
I spent about $60 on wood and screws for each bookcase, which was pretty good considering they are solid wood and fit the specifications I needed.
So overall these gorgeous units were about $120, total bargain, right?
I followed Ana’s instructions exactly when it came to the building but here was my cut list.
CUT LIST FOR 83 1/2″ HEIGHT
- 2 – 1×12 @ 80 3/4″ (sides)
- 4 – 1×2 @ 11 1/4″ (side trim)
- 4 – 2×2 @ 82 3/4″ (legs)
- 4 – 2×2 @ 21 1/2″ (top supports and bottom shelf trim)
- 6 – 1×12 @ 21 1/2″ (shelves)
- 10 – 1×2 @ 21 1/2″ (shelf trim)
- 6 – 1×3 @ 26″ (top)
- 7 – 3 1/2″ wide planking or 1x4s @ 80″ long (back)
How To Make Bookshelves
For those of you who build and don’t have a Kreg Jig it is a must-have. You can get the basic one for about $100.
It certainly made making this bookshelf so much easier than it could have been.
This is my third “build-from-scratch” project I have done.
I will say each time you learn something new and it gets easier and easier. The second bookshelf was better than the first.
Next, I tried that tea/vinegar stain combo. It was really strange but it was fun to try.
I am not sure I will use it again just because it is really unpredictable the color it will turn. But it was a fun experiment.
I started by first painting on some strong English Breakfast Tea. It changed the color just a bit.
Then I painted over the tea with the vinegar/steel wool combo.
It immediately turned into an ashy gray/brown stain. I thought it was pretty cool.
Then I took a hammer, nails, and sandpaper to it to add some character.
My friend absolutely loves them and they look perfect in the spot where we have them in her living room.
This is a repost from 2012.
This post still continues to be hugely popular here at Infarrantly Creative because people STILL NEED bookshelves! Am I right?
Do you have the building bug? Check out some more of the builds I have done…
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Cleaning and Dusting the Bookshelves
As a DIY enthusiast who has built my fair share of movable and built-in bookshelves, I understand the importance of maintaining and caring for these beloved pieces. Proper cleaning and dusting not only keep your bookshelves looking pristine but also contribute to their longevity.
Here are some recommendations to help you keep your book shelf clean and dust-free:
- Start With Emptying the Shelves: Before you begin cleaning, remove all the books and decorative items from the shelves. This will allow you to thoroughly clean each surface without any obstructions.
- Practice Proper Dusting Techniques: Use a microfiber cloth or a soft, lint-free cloth to gently wipe down the surfaces of the book shelf. Avoid using any harsh chemicals and abrasive materials that can damage the wood finish or paint color. Begin at the top and work your way down, paying attention to corners and edges where dust tends to accumulate.
- Vacuum: For more stubborn dust or hard-to-reach areas, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. This will help remove dust from crevices, corners, and intricate designs.
- Use Safe and Gentle Cleaning Solutions: In case of sticky stains or spills, mix mild or gentle dish soap and water. Dampen a soft cloth with your soap solution, wring out excess moisture, and gently wipe the affected area. Immediately follow up with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. Remember to dry the shelves thoroughly afterward to prevent any damage.
Addressing Potential Issues
Bookshelves, like any other piece of furniture, can encounter common problems over time. Here are a few issues you may face and some troubleshooting advice and solutions to help you resolve them:
Overloading shelves with heavy books or objects can cause them to sag in the middle. To address this issue, you can:
- Remove Excessive Weight: Take out some books or items from the affected shelf to reduce the load. Distribute the weight evenly across the shelves or consider redistributing the books to other shelves.
- Reinforce the Shelf: Insert additional support brackets or install adjustable shelf pins to provide extra strength and prevent further sagging.
Bookshelves may develop loose hardware over time, resulting in wobbling or instability. Here’s what you can do:
- Tighten Screws and Bolts: Inspect the shelves for any loose wood screws or bolts, and use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to tighten them. This will help restore stability to the bookshelf.
- Reinforce With Wood Glue: For added strength, you can apply wood glue to the joints where loose hardware is present. Clamp the parts together and allow the glue to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Consider Additional Support: If the bookshelf continues to be unstable, you may need to install additional support brackets or anchors to secure it to the wall or floor.
Creating Sturdy and Beautiful Bookshelves
The journey of building bookshelves can be both challenging and rewarding. As a DIY enthusiast, I initially lacked confidence in my abilities, but my desire to create something unique for my friend motivated me to take on the bookshelf project.
Following the guidance of the talented Ana White, I customized the Kentwood bookshelf design to suit my friend’s needs. Despite my initial fears, I successfully built beautiful bookshelves within a reasonable budget.
Along the way, I learned valuable skills and techniques on how to build a bookshelf; each bookshelf project became more refined than the last. Trying new staining methods and adding personal touches made the experience even more enjoyable. Seeing the joy on my friend’s face and the perfect fit in her living room made it all worthwhile.
If you’re hesitant to embark on your own DIY furniture journey, I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and give it a try. With determination and the right resources, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
So go ahead, unleash your creativity, and build something amazing!
Read also: Fabric Book Shelf Tutorial