Do you want a cute kid’s bookshelf but not want to pay the crazy prices of some certain retailers? Then this is the plan for you! I put my own twist on this PB dupe by adding pole wrap to the back, but you could use plain plywood or any of the decorative panels your local hardware store sells!
Supplies: Note: I make a small commission from affiliate links
- 2 – 1x8x8 pine boards
- 2 – 1x3x8 pine boards
- 1 – 1/2x2x8 utility stock (found in the moulding section) You also could use a 1×2 board
- 1 – 3/4″ square dowel
- 1 – 48″ oak stair tread
- 1/4″ plywood/ Beadboard
- 2 – 6″ Parson furniture legs, or 2×2 oak board at least 12″ long
- Pole Wrap
- Brad Nailer
- Table Saw
- Pocket Hole Jig
- Wood Filler
- Pocket Hole Screws
- 1×8 (sides)
- 2 @ 40″
- 1×6 (shelves)
- 2 @ 31.25″
- 1×3 (top and bottom, front of shelves)
- 4 @ 31.25″
- 1/2×2″ Stock (slats)
- 3 @ 31.25″
- 3/4″ Square Dowels
- 4 @ 5.5″
- Stair Tread
- 33.25″ and ripped to 8.25″
- Stair tread excess cut to 29.25″
- Plywood/Bead Board
- 31 x 35.5″
The first step is building the sides and top and bottom with the plywood backing. I created a groove in the bottom and top of the 1×3 boards and on the back edge of the 1×8 boards. If you are uncomfortable creating groove with your table saw, you can simply glue and staple the plywood to the backside of the top, bottom and side boards. Please note that if you decide to do it this way, the dimensions of your plywood will be slightly larger. First, you will want to drill pocket holes in your top and bottom 1×3 boards as shown in the figure above. Then you will add your grooves to the top of the bottom board, the bottom of the top board and on the inside back of the side boards. Make sure your boards are facing the same direction for each pass through the table saw. After the first pass through, move your fence over 1/8″ and run through the boards again. Repeat a third time to make the groove wide enough to accept a 1/4″ piece of plywood. If you are unsure of the process, see my blog post about making a shaker style cabinet door, since the concept is the same. After all the boards have a groove, connect the bottom piece to the sides with pocket hole screws. Then you will be able to slide your plywood into the groove and attach the top piece with pocket holes to secure the panel in place. It is helpful to label the back sides of your pieces and the “fence” side of your pieces in pencil to ensure you are running the pieces through in the same manner each time.
If you are skipping the grooves, simply assemble and then glue and staple/nail the plywood to the backing.
If you are adding fluting to the backing, now would be the time to measure, cut it down to size and glue it on to the plywood. I did this step later only because I decided later in the process to include the fluting detail, but it would be easier to add it now. After the fluting is secure, you can add your dowels to the side pieces. I used a spacer block to ensure that each dowel was in the same spot on each side. I used a countersink bit to predrill the holes in the dowels and then attached each dowel to the side.
Then I cut down my stair tread to size and ripped the backside off to make the width 8.25″. I then used the scrap piece, cut it down and drilled pocket holes in it as shown in the figure above. I then used the side pocket holes to attach the scrap stringer piece to the Parson legs (I removed the bolts from the top) using a .25″ piece of scrap to space the stringer board off the ground to create a reveal between the oak stringer board and the legs. I then took the leg piece and attached it to the bottom of the tread with glue and pocket hole screws.
Now, I added each 1×6 shelf piece on top of the dowels, then glued and nailed the front 1×3 to the shelf piece. I also nailed from the side pieces into the 1×3 pieces for extra support. For the bottom 1×3, I simply put glue on the ends and used my brad nailer to nail the board in from the sides. Then, using a 2×4 scrap block, I spaced the 1/2×2 stock piece above each 1×3 board and glued and nailed them in from the sides.
At this point I decided to round the front top corners of my side pieces so I grabbed a roll of painter’s tape, traced the circle onto each side and used my jigsaw and sander to curve the front pieces. It probably would have been easier to do this before assembling the shelf, but it also was fairly easy to do at this point.
Then using the pocket holes on the back side of the bottom 1×3 board and the inside pocket holes on the 1×8 board, I attached the tread base to the rest of the shelf.
Then the only thing left to do is to fill any nail holes and seams, sand, paint/stain and then seal! This bookshelf is intended to lean against a wall above the trim. If your trim is higher than 6″, then you will need to make the legs longer. To ensure the shelf is secure, screw multiple 2.5″ wood screws through the top board and into wall studs.
You did it! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions!
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