Jun 22

Easy to Make Bookshelves

Easy to Make BookshelvesIn planning the nursery, Karen spent countless hours surfing the internet site Pinterest. By the time she was done she had hundreds of things pinned to her board.  After gathering as many ideas as she could, Karen wanted me to go through all of them, Yippee!  Knowing that a happy wife makes for a happy life I indulged her as best that I could.  One of the ideas that we both ended up liking was these easy to make bookshelves. We both like to read and hope that our baby girl will follow suit. So Karen and I thought that these “J” shaped bookshelves would be perfect for M’s nursery.
MDF Boards

The shelves were extremely easy to make, all we needed were 3 MDF boards of varying sizes, basic nails for wood (we used a nail gun),  wood glue, wood screws, and semi-gloss paint (pick whatever color).  The project went very quickly just taking an hour in the afternoon and a second coat of paint the following day and our bookshelves were ready to be placed on the wall.
Gorilla Wood Glue

Karen and I do not live very far from a Home Depot store and we like the service and prices there so most of our supplies come from them.  The nice thing about getting the MDF boards there is that they will cut it for you as long as it is a straight cut.  We have always cut things like that ourselves at home, but since we were already there we thought, might as well let them do it.  We made three shelves using 3 different sizes of MDF board.  The sizes were 1×6, 1×4, and 1×2 and all of the boards were 8 feet long so we made three 25” long shelves with just having to buy three boards.  These dimensions worked out perfect because our shelves were long enough to hold several books and we had enough board left over to make a smaller shelf if we want to.
The Clamps

The first thing that I did was use a power sander to smooth the cut edges.  After cleaning off the dust I took my Gorilla Wood Glue and made a line of glue and put it on one of the sides of the 1×4 pieces of wood and stuck it to my 1×6.  I then took two clamps and tightened the pieces of MDF together so they were ready to nail without having the boards slip.  I then brought out Karen to hold the boards down so a partner might be necessary if your work station is as cluttered as mine is at the moment.  If you are a little bit more organized and have some space to do your projects then this can be easily be a solo job.  Once she was out there, I put 4 nails evenly spaced along where the two boards meet.  I then took my 1×2 placed a line of glue where it would connect to the front of the 1×4 placed the clamps and nailed it.  Once I had my first shelve done I just repeated the process for the other two units.
Size of the Bookshelf

I waited a few hours for the glue to dry and took out my can of satin paint.  Karen and I used Glidden Ultra-Hide semi-gloss paint.  We choose to go with white paint just to balance the wood features that we have in the room.  Any color would work fine and we debated a while on what color we should use, but in the end we just wanted a sharp clean look.  After one coat of paint Karen inspected my work and said that I needed to add another layer of paint.  I concurred and immediately went to paint a second coat on the shelves.  Once the second coat was dry she inspected them again and gave her ok so then it was time to hang them on the wall.
Glidden Paint

Hanging the bookshelves up was pretty easy and straight forward.   I used a stud finder to locate two studs on the wall where we wanted to place the shelves.  Karen then measured from our nursery’s window to the wall to find the center of that space.  I then held up a shelf and Karen looked to see if it was visually pleasing after a slight correction she took a pencil and marked the underside of where the bookshelf meets the wall.  I then predrilled two holes into the studs with a drill bit about ¼ of the size smaller than the wood screws I was going to use to connect the bookshelves to the studs.  After the holes were drilled I placed the wood screws into the shelves just far enough that the tip was sticking out the back of them.  I then lined up the screws so they would fall into my predrilled holes.  Once they were lined up, I  screwed them the rest of the way in.  Karen and I just repeated that process two more times and our bookshelves were up and ready for M’s first books.
Predrilling the holes

It is an easy way to make affordable bookshelves, plus it gives Karen and me a little bit more pride knowing that we just built something that is going to go into our baby girl’s room.

Get free daily email updates!

Follow us!


  1. freda

    They look very nice. Glad you chose them and were able to make them yourselves. Saved money and also pride in your talent and work.

    1. Kenny and Karen

      Thanks, hopefully I will be able to do more projects in the months to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


You might also likeclose