12 Bookshelf Plans You Can Build in a Weekend
Make use of one of these bookshelf plans to create a new home for your books, shelf decorations, and other knickknacks.
Building a bookshelf can be a fun and rewarding project, and it’s a task suitable for woodworkers of all levels, even if it’s your very first piece of DIY furniture. And with the right plan, it won’t take you longer than a weekend. As Eric Spencley, cofounder of Spencley Design Co, explains, “Bookshelves are the perfect project for a beginner because it allows them to create an amazing piece of furniture while practicing the basics. It’s effectively just multiple boxes all in one, which is approachable for builders at all skill levels.”
While you can shop the best bookshelves at retailers, a homemade bookshelf that perfectly fits your space is even more special. Here are some straightforward DIY bookshelf plans to get you started.
1. Mid-Mod Bookcase
The minimalist design and splayed legs give this bookcase a cozy, mid-century modern look that will suit many living rooms and bedrooms. Overall, the simple design makes this bookcase easy to build, and paired with the full project guide and included build video, it’s an excellent project for beginners. The plan also includes 3D diagrams, lumber layouts, and materials lists, so it’s suitable for a first-time woodworking project, but the finished product is handsome enough to appeal to expert woodworkers as well
2. Elephant Bookshelf
Kids will love this elephant-shaped bookcase—it might even be the defining fixture of a bedroom or nursery, and it’s all the more special when they can say it is handmade. This plan includes detailed instructions to construct your own arched bookshelf character, suitable for beginner woodworkers. Included are exploded and assembly views, which provide more detail for easier building, as well as a materials list.
3. Mid-Century Style Floating Shelf
A floating, low-mounted bookshelf captures the mid-century vibe perfectly. If you want to craft your own, use this Midcentury Style Floating Shelf Plan. It includes four shelf plans in one guide, with the option for 2-foot, 4-foot, or 6-foot straight shelves and a corner shelf. This makes it easy to create shelves that fit your room’s layout. The finished project provides trendy open shelving for living room appliances, books, and more.
4. Bookcase Chair
Looking for unique bookshelf ideas? A decorative bookshelf chair is sure to be a conversation piece—it’s just such an eye-catching piece of furniture. With this plan, it’s not hard to put one together, so it’s a great project for beginners. The finished chair measures 36 inches wide by 36 inches deep by 30 inches tall, a perfect reading seat for one person. The shelving goes all around the seat to maximize storage space.
5. Modular Bookcase
If you want your new bookcase to be a contemporary statement piece, then this modular bookcase plan is the one to choose; the finished project is all sharp angles and clean lines. Since it’s a more detailed bookshelf, this project is best for intermediate to advanced woodworkers. The plan also comes with a link to a complete build video on YouTube, which makes it easier for visual learners to follow along.
6. Tetris Bookcase
Tetris-inspired shelf shapes make this bookshelf look distinctive and fun; the irregular shelves are eye-catching, and even more so if you dress them up with decorations. Though the end product looks a bit complicated, the instructions in this guide are straightforward, so even beginner woodworkers can take advantage of this project.
7. Etagère 4-Tier Bookcase
Woodworkers looking for a more complicated project should check out the Etagere 4 Tier Bookcase Plan. This bookshelf has a metal frame with wooden shelving, so it involves both carpentry and welding skills. The plan walks you through a material list, tools list, and detailed parts drawings and assembly instructions. The finished bookcase has an industrial-chic aesthetic that is rustic but modern.
8. Configurable Bookshelf
Create a versatile and gorgeous minimalist bookshelf with this plan from Plans For Woodworkers. Suitable for beginners, this plan creates an expandable shelf. You can configure the finished product into a range of layouts, from straight along the wall to creating a compact shelf, and even as a corner unit. This is an excellent plan to use if you want to build a large bookshelf for an irregular space.
9. Tree Bookcase
Use this Tree Bookcase Plan to create a wall-mounted shelf that resembles a tree—perfect for making a cozy reading nook for bookworms. The plan includes a breakdown of the necessary tools, measurements, and diagrams, plus step-by-step assembly instructions to make the tree-like shelf. The finished bookcase measures 7 feet, 6.5 inches tall by 3 feet, 7 inches wide, so you’ll want to make sure you have adequate space before buying this plan. Since it’s a little trickier to assemble than a standalone bookcase, this project is recommended for intermediate woodworkers.
10. Built-In Shelves
A classic built-in shelf is a practical choice for just about any space, and if you don’t want to buy one, use this plan to construct your own. The plan includes a materials list, cutting list, diagrams, and measurements, as well as step-by-step instructions for installation. The finished project is a simple but neat DIY built-in shelf.
11. Mid-Century Modern Bookcase
Create a stylish bookcase or display shelf with this Mid-Century Modern Bookcase Plan. This project is suitable for intermediate and advanced woodworkers (it’s a bit trickier than a basic shelf and requires a number of tools). For woodworkers who like to follow along with a video, the plan includes a link to the full build video.
12. Simple Bookcase
Sometimes, a simple bookcase is all you require. This Simple Bookcase Plan satisfies this need, and is ideal for woodworks looking to make a quick, affordable, and basic bookshelf. Since it’s so straightforward, this project is great for beginners (and comes with a full build video for guidance). Woodworkers can also modify the build dimensions to suit the intended space.
The prices listed here are accurate as of publication on 11/21/23.