How To Build A Bookshelf Wall

How To Build A Bookshelf Wall


January 29, 2022

During this pandemic, we have all had a lot of time to spare at home. Everyone decided to learn a new hobby. But how much Dalgona coffee can you whip up?

And where will you go wearing all the clothes you bought online? Now is the perfect time for you to learn a practical skill that will be useful for you in many ways.

One such thing is carpentry. You do not have to make a bed, boat, or even house, and you can start small!

Apart from being very practical, a bookshelf wall is also something that adds that extra charm to your house.

For your studio apartment, you can build one and have your zoom background look straight out of a Pinterest board! Let us go into the world of bookshelves.

Best Wood for Bookshelf Wall

Best Wood for Bookshelf Wall

You can use a variety of woods for a bookshelf wall. Here we have gathered a list along with the unique features of each one so that you can decide for yourself.

While choosing the wood, you should keep in mind the climate of the place where you live and your budget, among other things.


One of the lightest softwoods available in the market, Pine is known for its inexpensiveness. However, one should note that pinewood is very susceptible to knots and splits.

When working with it, one has to keep these things in mind. It also dents easily, so you should only use it for lightweight stuff.

As you are new at woodworking and have a budget to stay under, we recommend beginning with Pine.

Birch plywood

Birch plywood is a hardwood, making it sturdy and lightweight, all at once. It also resists the split woods you get from screws, so even if you are a little clumsy, you won’t have a lot of trouble with this.

Birch is perfect for woodworking, whether you are an amateur or have been into it for ages.


We have all seen how beautiful oak furniture looks. It gives your furniture and the house a rustic look, which is very aesthetically pleasing.

If you trust your skills and have a generous budget, we highly recommend oak or red oak because it looks the best.

Tools and Equipment Needed

Tools and Equipment Needed

Choosing the wood isn’t enough; you also need to gather other supplies. You will need essential tools like – a hammer, combination square, tape measure, metal ruler, portable saw (circular), nails set, and a putty knife.

Apart from these, you would also need other Equipment like varnish, shellac, glue, sandpaper, pencil for marking, wood filler, etc.

You may also need gloves spare old clothes and an open work area because building things can get messy and sometimes out of hand.

Readers should also note that many people do not use paint or varnish as they like the woody look. However, it is your choice of what you want to do, and it is a nice touch.

If you are working with lower-quality wood, then it is advised that you paint it or use varnish as it seals it all in.

Step-By-Step Guide

Step-By-Step Guide

Here is a complete breakdown of how you should go ahead with this.

Prepare and cut the lumbar

Here are some rough specifications for your understanding:

● One piece of plywood: 3/4-inch x 8-foot x 4-foot
● Three common boards: 1-inch x 2-inch x 8-foot
● One common board
● : 1-inch x 3-inch x 8-foot
● One underlayment: 1/4-inch x 4-foot x 8-foot

These are approximate specifications that can make it easy for you when you get into your process of building a bookshelf.

However, it is recommended to keep the ratio in mind and calculate it according to the available space.

Measure and mark the panels

Make sure the wood panels fit in with each other. You can do this by placing them against each other and on top to see whether you need to cut them a little more.

Use a pencil to mark it and don’t forget to remember which side you have to cut. Here are the measurements you need to keep in mind:

● 3 1/4-inches
● 14 3/8-inches
● 28 13/16-inches
● 43 3/16-inches
● 57 5/8-inches

Pre-drill holes

Drill ¾ inch pocket holes on each corner. Repeat until every plank has a hole on all corners except the top plank. Remember to hold the planks against a solid structure to avoid messing up the drilling.

Assemble the shelf

Use glue to fix the planks together, and then use the nail. Remember to screw the top and bottom shelves first to have a solid structure to work with.

Use a carpenter square to ensure the top is a square, and the edges are neat. Use the glue and clamp down on the wooden pieces to place.

Screw the nails through the pocket holes and fix them steadily. Repeat this process for the bottom shelf.

After that, start on the side panels. Keep using a level to check that all the panels are in place. Repeat screwing the nails in place until you have a standing structure.

Add the face frame

Hold the frame in place by using clamps and driving the nails in. For proper finishing, you can also use a nail setter.

Add molding

This step is optional. You should use wood molding if you plan to paint your shelf so that the color is stained properly.

Speaking of staining, use the kind that will bring out the wood’s original color in an enhanced manner. This paint will give your shelf a natural yet polished look.

Insert pocket plugs

Secure the holes and conceal them with glue.

Apply finish

Now that you are done with the mechanical part, use sandpaper to do away with the grittiness. You can now apply paint or varnish.

Ideally, it would be best to wait at least ten hours after the glue has dried before testing the shelf with things. When painting it, leave enough duration between the two coats to dry the previous one and not get clumpy.

You should pay attention to the following things while painting:

● Use an interior wood stain if you want your bookshelf not to look different from the wood you used to make it. It only enhances the natural color and adds nothing extra to it.
● Oil-based wood stains create a richer color with only a few coats, sometimes less than three.
● Use gel stains if your wood is thick and unsanded. It covers it all uniformly.
● Paint will get absorbed better if used with a primer. It may also need to be sealed with wax to not chip or wear away.

How Does it Compare to a Bookshelf From the Store?

How Does it Compare to a Bookshelf From the Store?

Building something with your own hands adds a different value to things.

If it was your first time, your shelf might not look like the ones you find in stores, but it is more durable because you used your tools and sourced the wood yourself.

Even if it’s your first time, you can improve with practice. There is no reason to give up just because it seems like a herculean task or because it is too late for you.

If you have a roommate or a willing partner, ask them to work on it with you, too, as it is always easier and more fun to work on projects with someone else.

Building your bookshelf wall is always cheaper than buying one. It is tailored to your interests, and it is durable. You can make it at home with all the comprehensive lists and guides present on the internet.

On the one hand, a store-bought shelf seems to be a more accessible alternative; it often comes with size issues, design, durability, high costs, etc.

When you are making a shelf on your own, you are in charge of all these things.


A bookshelf made with your own hands and using your labor sounds like something to be proud of. However, before getting into it, make a rough budget and list things you need.

Be thorough about the details and know what you will be getting into. Use appropriate safety precautions. With practice, you can get better at building things.

You should start small, make a small shelf, or a table if you want. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance because sometimes, just a little nudge from someone in the right direction will make it all work out.

When you finish building your bookshelf wall, you can feel a sense of accomplishment. You can decorate it according to your vibe and have a place for your books and other things.

When your friends come over, they will surely be impressed by what you have done, as it is not something you get to see every day.

A few handy skills are necessary, and maybe woodworking can be yours.

Remember that no hobby is learned overnight, and no one can hone any craft in a day; you will be frustrated every once in a while, but it will all work out when you get to the end.



Anthony Laird is an interior designer and decorator with many years of experience. He is passionate about helping people make the most of their living space. Leveraging his many years of experience, Anthony Laird teaches people how to create the most inspiring interior spaces. With the increasing rate of home offices across the world, Anthony Laird now uses LichtenCraig to help more people design home offices that suit their personality and increase productivity.