How to Make Bookshelves

I am a wannabe builder.  If you follow me on Instagram 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.


 The inspiration for the shelves were the Kenwood Bookshelves from Restoration Hardware.

restoration hardware kentwood

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. I followed Ana’s instructions exactly when it came to the building but here was my cut list.


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)

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.

building with a kreg jig

This is my third ‘build-from-scratch’ project I have done. I did the Laundry Dresser and the Raised Cedar Garden Boxes. I will say each time you learn something new and it gets easier and easier.  The second bookshelf was better than the first.

kentwood bookcasesmake your own wood bookshelves

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.

tea stained bookshelves

Then I soaked a bunch of steel wool pads in white vinegar overnight.  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.

tea and vinegar stain

pine bookshelves

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…

Built-in Mudroom Lockers

how to build mudroom lockers DIY

 Laundry Basket Dresser

laundry basket square

Pallet Wood Planter Boxes

diy planter box

Huge Garage Shelves

garage shelf plans

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