So we’ve had our new baby, and Mrs. Gabbert made the comment that she’d like a little book shelf to keep things on next to the rocking chair in the nursery. This is an awesome excuse to sneak in some shop time! So here’s the video showing you how I built this little DIY bookshelf:
Little Bookcase Plans
I’ve also drawn up a quick set of plans for this little DIY bookcase. They’re nothing crazy detailed, but they’ll give you enough of an idea as to how I built it. If more interest is shown in this project, I don’t have a problem drawing up something a little more detailed.
What You’ll Need For This Woodworking Project
- Plywood for the box. (I used cabinet grade pine plywood I had left over from another project.)
- Hardwood for the legs and edge banding. (I used poplar from the hardwood supplier because this was a paint grade project.)
- Wood Glue
- Screws (I used drywall screws, they were painted so no one’s going to ever know.)
- Tools: I used all of the tools in the shop, but you can do this project with a few cheap and simple hand tools and a cordless drill.
Let’s Build The DIY Bookshelf
Alright, let’s dive into what you’re here for. The DIY Bookshelf build article. Here’s how I made it.
Rough Cut The Material
This is a paint grade build, so it’s not a real deep dive when it comes to the joinery or materials. But it was an fun build nonetheless, and I snuck a few mortise and tenons in there. Anyways, here I’m rough cutting the poplar for the legs.
Glue up the leg blanks.
I glued and then clamped up the leg blanks, and let them sit overnight to set up. I used 9/16″ material laminated together. So after it had been planed and sanded, it finished out right at 1-1/2″ thick.
Squared up the leg blanks.
After the glue had dried, I ran the leg blanks over the jointer, shown below. So that I could create a perfectly flat and square surface on two sides of the blank.
Cut the legs out of the blanks.
Then I cut the legs out of the blanks on the table saw. These are cut 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ in width.
Cut the legs to length.
Then I cut the legs to their final 5-1/2″ length on the table saw, with the table saw sled. You could use a hand saw, miter saw or a radial arm saw.
Create the tenon.
Then I created the tenon on the top of the legs with my table saw sled and a parallel to the blade fence attachment. If the image doesn’t make sense, it’s easier to understand in the video.
Chamfer the legs.
I made a chamfering template, which is the darker plywood lying flat on the sled. And used it to hold the legs in place while I chamfered all of the legs on two sides.
Create the mortises.
Then I laid out the mortises on the leg caps. I hogged out most of the material on the drill press, and finished up the mortises with a chisel.
Glued and clamped up the legs.
Then I glued and clamped up the mortise and tenon joints that make up the leg components.
Re-saw the edge banding.
I made some poplar edge banding that was about 1/8″ thick. The usual banding is real scant, and I don’t like how flimsy it is, especially with it’s own built in adhesive. So I made my own on this one.
Cut the box parts to rough length.
Here I’m cutting the box parts to rough length, so that they’re manageable.
Glue up the edge banding.
I’m using a clamping caul to hold down the edge banding as the glue sets up. This even pressure makes for a better edge in my opinion.
Plane down the edge banding.
I have used a router with a flush trim bit to do this job for years. And will continue to use a flush trim bit on the router table from here on out, especially with plywood. Using the block plane was a mistake because I cut into the top veneer of the plywood. And even though it was painted, it still bugged the hell out of me till the project was done.
Cut the panels to the final length.
With a really sharp cross cut blade, I cut all the box pieces to final length for glue up.
Glue and clamp up the DIY Bookshelf
Here I’m gluing and clamping up the DIY Bookshelf. I didn’t use any metal fasteners, only glue.
Finish the plywood edge.
I can’t remember where I learned this, but if you spread glue on the end grain of plywood a few times, letting it dry between applications, and then sand. It comes out finish smooth. Of course, you only do this in a paint grade situation. This was something I did on the fly, because I removed the poplar detail I was going to put around the top piece. Once I saw the cabinet like this, I loved the rectangle look. These edges came out nice in the end.
Pre-drill and countersink leg fastening holes.
I marked 5 holes in each leg component, and drilled a 1/8″ hole. Followed by a countersink hole to sit the head of the screw flush without tearing out the poplar.
Attach the leg components.
I clamped and then attached the leg components. I used Sheetrock screws because that’s what I had.
Paint the little DIY Bookshelf
I’m putting my first coat of paint on the DIY Bookshelf. I’m using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, which I love how easy it is to use. And I also love how the finish comes out.
Put on a second coat of paint.
Then I put on a second coat of paint, which came out very smooth after I lightly sanded the first coat and any high spots with 600 grit sand paper.
Apply the wax.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is ment to be waxed after the paint dries, so I’m applying her clear wax here.
Wipe off the Annie Sloan Clear Wax
Then after you apply the wax, you need to wipe off the excess with a clean towel.
Next step, fill it up with stuff!
This is what she looked like all loaded up, and ready for her first day on the job. Not bad, right?
I am very happy with how this little DIY Bookshelf came out. Especially with how well the Annie Sloan finish ended up looking, not to mention how easy it is to apply.
Now Mrs. Gabbert has her bookcase, I got some shop time, and everyone’s happy. Thanks for checking this out, and reading all the way to the bottom!
We’ll see you on the next one,