Grace's Bookshelves - Plans for Two

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 18:37
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If you need storage bad in your home, but have the tinest of budgets, this plan is for you. Smartly designed, you can get exactly two bookshelves from one sheet of 3/4" plywood or MDF. With some simple 1x2 trim and standard baskets or bins, a simple bookshelf can become a stylish storage center.

Grace's Bookshelves - Free easy plans

49" wide x 30" tall x 14 1/2" wide - fits 8 standard fabric drawers/cubes


Shopping List

1 – Sheet of 3/4″ MDF (painted, cheapest option) OR 1 Sheet of 3/4″ Hardwood Plywood (wood look) OR 4 - 1×12 pine boards (rustic look) (1×12 is 11 1/2″ wide, and can be interchanged with the plywood strips)
10 – 1×2 pine boards (should be less than $1 each)

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch screws
1 1/2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

Cut List for 2 Bookshelves (YOU CAN HALF THE RECIPE FOR 1 BOOKCASE)
A) 4 – 3/4″ MDF @ 11 1/2 x 44″ (Shelves)
B) 4 – 3/4″ MDF @ 11 1/2″ x 25 3/4″ (Sides)
C) 4 – 1×2 @ 44″ (Top Supports)
D) 8 – 1×2 @ 29 3/4” (Legs)
E) 12 – 1×2 @ 42 1/2″ (Shelf Trim)
F) 4 – 1×2 @ 11 1/2″ (Bottom Trim)
G) 2 – 3/4″ MDF @ 11 1/2″ x 49″ (Top)
H) 4 – 1×2 @ 49″ (Top Trim)

Cutting Instructions

Have Home Depot or Lowes cut your sheet of MDF
into 11 1/2″ strips, 8 feet long.

Remeber that the saw blade takes up 1/4″ (approximately) so you CANNOT mark the plywood and cut. You must mark one cut, cut, mark the next cut and so forth.
General Directions. See the post on choosing your wood type. I built my bookcases out of MDF and had success by not nailing within 1″ of the edges. I used lots of glue. Cut all your boards first and use 2″ nails unless otherwise specified. Always take a square after each step (See HOW-TO section).

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Brad Nailer
Power Sander


Step 1

Have your plywood or MDF cut into 11 1/2" wide strips to create 1x12 boards. Otherwise, you can use dimensional pine 1x12 boards, or even MDF shelving of any width. Carefully follow the cutting layout here to conserve boards and get exactly two bookshelves out of 1 sheet of plywood.

Step 2

Attach the sides to the shelves with either 2" nails and glue or 2" screws and glue. This shelf is fully framed, so nails will suffice, but screws - though harder to hide - are stronger. I've had Grace's bookshelves for a couple of years, and they are still going strong!

Don't forget that you are building two :)

Step 3

Top Supports. Add the top supports (C, Green) as shown above.

Step 4

Attach the top to the bookcase as shown above. You can fasten through the supports to hide screw/nail holes.

Step 5

Step 6

Now it's time for the legs. Flush to the top and outsides. Use 2" finish nails and glue or screws and glue.

Step 7

Shelf trim. Attach the shelf trim just like you did the legs. You should also fasten 2" finish nails through the sides of the legs into the shelf trim.

Step 8

Finally, attach the top trim as shown above. I would use finish nails here to hide holes. Don't forget your glue.

Step 9

Fill nail holes with putty and sand and finish as desired.


Jennie (not verified)

Thu, 01/07/2010 - 19:11

WOw! These are so fabulous. I could find a spot for those. Thanks for all the details. Great Job!

Jennie @ Cinnaberry Suite

Karen (not verified)

Thu, 01/07/2010 - 20:11

Thanks for the photos, Ana. With the layout plan (what do you call that?) and your build plans you have enhanced what was an awesome resource to start with!

Liz (not verified)

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 00:43

WOW, what a phenomenal job! I'm impressed.=)I have 4 little girl's who would love this. Thanks for sharing! ~Liz

Kellie (not verified)

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 04:09

These are really amazing! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I know that this is a sight for woman to get their woodworking on, but my husband and 12 year old son are learning to build this year together, and I am certain he will enjoy looking through your site as well!

Ellen (not verified)

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 05:43

I just found you-You have created a very inspiring blog, I feel like I can go get some lumber and put a project together in no time. I am a devoted follower now!!

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