Flat Wall Bookholders

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/11/2009 - 18:58
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Wall book holders keep kids books easy to put away and easy to access. Try them on blank wall spaces, top bunks, or throughout your home to add storage and style without much cost or investment. These shelves can be made for less than $5 each, or free if you have a stock pile of scraps.

Dimensions are either Small (short or long) or Large (short or long)


Shopping List

For the Smaller Shelf
1 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long

For Larger Shelf
1 - 1x6 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long (extra for the long larger shelf)

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List

Cut List for Small 24"
Shelf 2 - 1x4 @ 24" (Back and Bottom)
2 - 1x4 @ 6.5" (Sides, cut out as directed)
1 - 1x2 @ 24" (Guard Bar - sits inset, make 37 1/2" for outset)
1 - 1x2 @ 25 1/2" (Optional Top Ledge)

Cut List for Small 36" Shelf
2 - 1x4 @ 36" (Back and Bottom)
2 - 1x4 @ 6.5" (Sides, cut out as directed)
1 - 1x2 @ 36" (Guard Bar - sits inset, make 37 1/2" for outset)
1 - 1x2 @ 37 1/2" (Optional Top Ledge)

Cut List Larger 24" Wide Shelf
2 - 1x6 @ 24" (Back and Bottom Shelf)
2 - 1x6 @ 9" (Sides, Cut out as shown)
2 - 1x2 @ 25 1/2" ( Guard Rails - sits outset)
1 - 1x2 @ 25 1/2" (Optional Top Ledge)

Cut List For Larger 36" Wide Shelf
2 - 1x6 @ 36" (Back and Bottom Shelf)
2 - 1x6 @ 9" (Sides, Cut out as shown)
2 - 1x2 @ 37 1/2" (Sits outset, Guard Rail)
1 - 1x2 @ 37 1/2" (Includes 1 Optional Top Ledge)

Cutting Instructions

Carefully cut out the sides in a rounded pattern (see step 2) with a jigsaw. If you do not have a jigsaw, you can also just cut the sides off at a straight angle.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
General Instructions

In addition to general safety and building instructions, also note that you can build with screws or nails. If you choose nails, make sure you also use glue.


Step 1

Small Shelf - Start by nailing the two 1x4s together as shown above. Use glue and nails at least 1 1/2" in your nailer. The above diagram shows the shelf rested on it's back.

Step 2

Small Shelf - Now add the sides and cut out as shown above. Just mark you start and end points and find a plate or lid and trace the desired angle and cut out with a jigsaw. Repeat the exact pattern on the other side by tracing your scrap piece from the cutout.

Step 3

Small Shelf - Add the shorter 1x2 as the guard, lining up the top edge of the 1x2 with the bottom of the curved cutout, as shown above. If you would like a second ledge, as I have shown above, take the longer 1x2 and nail to the top of the shelf.

Step 4

Larger Shelf - Back and Bottom. Start by nailing together the 2 1x6 bottom and back pieces, as shown above. In this diagram, the bottom piece is on the bottom.

Step 5

Step 6

Larger Shelf - Guards. Add the guards to the front, as shown above.

Step 7

Optional Top Ledge. If you choose, add the top ledge.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Finishing. Fill nail holes with wood filler and sand and finish as desired.


Catherine (not verified)

Mon, 01/18/2010 - 04:25

Hi Ana, I just found your blog and I love it! I'm a beginner (ie just started doing trim and moulding) and was looking at your site thinking, "I'd love to make one of those stinkin' cute pottery barn book racks for my kids - seems like a good beginner project." And here it is! Brava! I will send pics when I finish! :)

M.O.T.B (not verified)

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 05:42

Okay I am going to find someone to do this for me or I will do it. But I have to have these!!!!! Thank you so much!

tess (not verified)

Sat, 02/27/2010 - 16:15

Thank you so much for a wonderful blog Ana, I have already enlisted my hubby to start making a few things for me and he is starting with one of these to organise the bathroom tonight.e

MyEbella aka Kim (not verified)

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 21:23

I recently stumbled onto your blog and am soo completely excited to get started on some projects. These shelves will be perfect in the bedroom we are redoing for our son!

I'm printing away...
I hope to be posting my own finished product pictures very soon!

The Jacobsons (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 12:02

I made some of these for my boys rooms( before I found your amazing plans-oh well) my question is what is the best way to attach them to the wall. It seems like the front rails make it harder to attach the bottom to the wall? Thank you for all your hard work-this blog is a dream come true, I don't think there's a room in my house I don't want to build something for :)

Allison (not verified)

Mon, 04/19/2010 - 15:47

Hi! I was going to make the large shelf but the guard rails were marked as being 24 inches but I believe it should be 25.5 inches so that it can fit on the front of the sides. Thanks for the plans!

The Thompson's (not verified)

Sat, 05/01/2010 - 21:43

Had the same issue as Allison. For the guard rails to fit on the outside they had to be 25 1/2 " if you want them inside like the smaller plans show, the measurement would be 24-mine was a lil short it needed about 24 1/4. I would build up to this point then cut to make sure:) Thanks for the plans Ana love these.. I made 2 tonight. can't believe how easy it was. I'm attaching the hanging brackets on the back when the paint dries for the other question of how to hang them.. will know tomorrow if that is a good idea :)

Bri (not verified)

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 09:24

any advise on hanging these? I know I wont be able to put them on a stud so I'll be buying some drywall ancors but how are you guys attaching them? I am going to be putting some heavy kids books in it so I'm not sure what to use

The Thompson's (not verified)

Wed, 05/12/2010 - 16:25

To hang them I used bracketts like you would use to hang a frame. So far they have held up. I didn't think they would To be honest. there was a variety of sizes in the pack I bought I used the larger ones and I put one on each side on the back of the shelf then used a dry wall anchors and screws to hang it on. Kids haven't pulled it down so far:)

nettle (not verified)

Mon, 06/07/2010 - 09:19

I made a little shelf like this (slightly adapted) and I love it. Makes me think of milk bottle carriers, or something. I'm also wondering about hanging it on the wall. Are brackets still the favourite way?

Ash-a-bash (not verified)

Tue, 06/22/2010 - 10:23

Ana, Thanks for the plans...this will be my first try building so...here we go!

decemberbaby (not verified)

Sun, 12/26/2010 - 09:32

For those wondering how to mount these on the wall... I haven't built these shelves, but I have those picture ledges from a certain Swedish furniture chain. They just have holes drilled through the back panel of the shelf, and the screws are countersunk into those boards, and thus into the wall. I just used drywall plugs and whatever screws were lying around.

Ana, thanks so much for this blog!

Annie Fitz (not verified)

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 11:38

This is going to be my first building project, I have a long list of things from this site to make but, I think this will be the best one to start. I have a question about the length of the guards on the long shelves (so they are on the front). If I'm making the 36" long shelf wouldn't the total width accounting for the inch thick sides be 38" across? So wouldn't the guards need to 38" long to be flush with the side pieces other wise won't they be a 1/4" short on each side? Please explain.

In reply to by Annie Fitz (not verified)

Lady Goats

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 12:02

Wonderful question! The reason the dimensions are listed as they are is that 1xs (like a 1x3 or a 1x6) aren't actually 1". They're typically 3/4", and they're never 3" or 6" like they state (a 1x2 us actually 3/4"x1 1/2"). It's confusing, and it sucks, but you get used to it! Here's a list of actual lumber dimensions (however, they still vary from this list!)


Hope this helps!

Annie Fitz (not verified)

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 14:30

Oh, okay. Great chart, very useful! THANKS!!!!

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