Willy Bookcase in Four Sizes

Available in four sizes, these simple bookshelves add storage to any room. Featuring frameless fronts, 12" depth, and simple header/footer styling, you can quickly create storage with this plan. Special thanks to Pamela for sharing her photos.


Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!


Shopping List: 

(1) 1x12 @ 12' long
(1) 1x3 @ 15"
1/4" Plywood @ 41" x 15 3/4"

3 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x3 @ 15"
1/4" Plywood @ 79" x 15 3/4"

1 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x12 @ 12 feet long
1 - 1x3 @ 32"
1/4" Plywood @ 31 1/2" x 41"

3 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x12 @ 12 feet long
1 - 1x3 @ 32" long
1/4" plywood @ 79" x 31 1/2"

For all sizes

2 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
measuring tape
safety glasses
hearing protection
General Instructions: 

Work on a clean level surface. Cut and mark out all joints prior to assembly. Recommended box assembly is screws, but you can use nails if your piece is a low use piece. Take a square after each step Pre-drill and countersink your screw holes. Keep front edges flush. Adhere to safety precautions and use proper safety equipment.

Various. Shown above.
Cut List: 

2 - 1x12 @ 41" (Sides)
1 - 1x12 @ 15 3/4" (Top)
3 - 1x12 @ 14 1/4" (Shelves)
1 - 1x3 @ 14 1/4" (Footer)
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 41" x 15 3/4"

2 - 1x12 @ 79" (Sides)
1 - 1x12 @ 15 3/4" (Top)
6 - 1x12 @ 14 1/4" (Shelves)
1 - 1x3 @ 14 1/4" (Footer)
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 79" x 15 3/4"

2 - 1x12 @ 41" (Sides)
1 - 1x12 @ 31 1/2" (Top)
3 - 1x12 @ 30" (Shelves)
1 - 1x3 @ 30" (Footer)
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 41" x 31 1/2"

2 - 1x12 @ 79" (Sides)
1 - 1x12 @ 31 1/2" (Top)
6 - 1x12 @ 30" (Shelves)
1 - 1x3 @ 30" (Footer)
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 79" x 31 1/2"

Cutting Instructions: 
Composition. Strongest/Most Economical Construction is Pine Boards. You can also use MDF or Plywood cut into 11 1/2″ wide strips. You will need to apply edge banding if you choose to stain your piece, matching your plywood. You can see this post for more information on edge banding and choosing the most economical options for your desired finish.
Step 1: 

Sides and Shelves. The bottom shelf is the only fixed shelf. You can also fix the other shelves if you would like by fastening in place using 2″ fasteners and glue at your desired height. If you are using adjustable shelves, it is a good idea to take a second and predrill your holes to match your shelf pins now. Trust me, it will be easier than waiting until the bookcase is assembled.

Step 2 Instructions: 

Top. Use the 2″ fasteners and glue to fasten the top to the sides. Keep front and outside edges flush.

Step 3 Instructions: 

Back. Take a square of the bookcase. Fasten the back to the bookcase. If you do not have a nailer, brad nails and a hammer work just fine, maybe even better because the nail head is larger. Use glue and fasten to the sides, top and all fixed shelves.

Step 4 Instructions: 

Footer. Inset the footer 1/2″ and fasten through the sides and the bottom shelf with 2″ fasteners and glue.

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill holes with wood filler and sand and finish as desired.
Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 


First off all I want to thank you for all your wonderful Plans!
I found your blog just recently and it's the only one I read every single day.
Living in Europe I never heard of Williams-Sonoma or pottery barn before. In fact the style is a little too American for my taste but your plans are amazing and easy to adapt.
We do own a lot of IKEA furniture. And while I love most of it they change their styles so quickly that it is almost impossible to add to your already existing furniture.
My parents own some Billy bookcases that are 30 years or older. Back then they were made of veneered plywood. When my husband and I moved in our first apartment the ones you could buy were veneered particle board. By now they are not even veneered anymore. They are particle board with a colored foil or some kind of foil that resembles wood.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you for posting these plans!

But while their cheaper furniture experienced a quality loss lately IKEA added some rather nice solid wood furniture to their product range. Check out MARKÖR or EDLAND for inspiration.

Your blog really added a lot of projects to my to do list. I just have to figure out how to manage withot a workshop.
I use my dad's workshop every once in a while but he lives to far away to do this on a regular basis.

this one may end up being my first piece of furniture! We've been wanting a new bookcase forever but they are all SO expensive! Thank you!

Hahaha, thats so awesome. I had such a hard time concentrating on the plans because I couldn't quit chuckling over the names. Love it. Making a list to buy the stuff for a 3 bedroom 2 bath next weekend, LMAO. Thanks so much, you of course are a daily inspiration to us all!

ANA! I had the Favorite Bookshelf plans all printed for my first project and I was ready to go buy the wood today! But THIS plan is more what I really want- just some basic bookshelves and these look like a good first project for me. WOW your timing couldn't have been better! thank you!

I really like the new table you've made for your cut list, very easy to read and printable. Reminds me of the charts on the back of a sewing pattern.
Added bonus this sort of project might not save much $$, but since some of us live 4+ hours from an Ikea, it's a real time saver :)
Also there is a website I really love here http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com/ That shows all sort of people doing creative things with Ikea products. If you do a search for 'Billy' you end up with some amazing examples of how versatile these things can be :)

I think 50% savings sounds fanstastic to me!! Plus Im building a product that will last for a 100 years and wont fall apart next time I move!! Thank you so much!!

I love the new plan format! I loved you old plans, but this new format is so professional looking!!! I love you blog too, can't wait to vote on the logo's you get submitted and see which one wins!

Thanks for all you do, I am so glad that such good things are coming your way. I always tell my kids "you get what you give", and you have given so much to so many people, it is right that you should get so much in return.

FYI... I am glad you are going to keep your plans on the webstie free, but I will also be one of the first in line to buy your book when it comes out - would love to have them all in one place that I can look at and refer to, and happy to help support what you are doing - empowering people! I have always like taking old pieces and giving them new life, but never thought I could make my own from scratch! Thanks!

Just one suggestion on the book, I would love to see some of the bragging board pictures of pieces that others have built and what they have done with them in there! That is what really has made me realize I can do this is see what other "regular" people have been able to do in their spare time, with basic tools, and limited woodworking/carpentry backgrounds.

I also like Jeannine's idea. I will also be buying a book ASAP! I'm excited to give copies as gifts!!

And I laughed out loud at the bookcase names!

Oh Ana you just keep getting better and better. I love the (B)illy book cases and the price point is hard to beat, but I have read that they can’t be wall-mounted and don’t survive a move very well. That’s a short-term gain, long-term loss. I’d rather repaint a bookcase when my taste or needs change, not have to repurchase.

Your Willies, on the other hand, are very versatile and I could see them popping everywhere from the nursery to the garage to the study to the bathroom.

To the one who inspires me to build,
I can not believe you keep posting the VERY things I NEED!
Thank you again and again and again.
Inspired in Nebraska

Love the bookcase plans and really want to give them a go. Drilling shelving support holes thinking of making a simple jig to get holes to line up both sides. Guess you could use wooden dowels for supports. Great site keep up the good work.

I finished making the smallest of these fout shelves. I had a good time figuring out how to do it. Its not professional, but if I did it again, I'd do better. It is very sturdy and useful. Thanks for the plans and list of materials!

I love all the projects!! My question is, what is the best type of paint to use for painting furniture, and what do you use as the last step to protect it? Polyurethane? Something else? Should the protective finish be painted on with a brush or a spray can? Thanks for any responses. I painted an old beside table once and liked it, but it got scuffed up very quickly.

Thanks for posting! Simple enough, but nice to know that simple will work...I'm a beginner when it comes to this type of stuff, and found myself overthinking the joints when trying to design something similar.

I think I noticed an error in the shopping list for 3bd/2ba. Unless I'm mistaken, you should be able to get by with just one 8' and one 10' 1x12, rather than an 8' and a 12'. The x8 cuts into 3 shelves with 6" of scrap, and the x10 cuts to the sides and top with 6 inches of scrap again.

My husband and I (virgin builders!) are planning to build some varying size bookshelves for our daughter's bedroom. How do you recommend attaching these to the walls?