Library Book Cart

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:04
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A rolling cart featuring a angled top book shelf perfect for keeping books in place, and a large bottom shelf perfect for baskets or bins. Sized for children.

I feel selfish posting this one.  I've got a mile long "short" list of most requested projects that I'm bound and determined to take on.  Corner cupboard, check.  Z Tower, check.  Next up, kitchen helper, farmhouse table matching bench, upholstered bed, dining banquette, stunning shelving that Beth just suggested . . . just to name a few.  And I'm quite excited to take on all these projects too!

But when Christy suggested this library cart, I HAD to have it for ME.  Yes ME.  Me as in ME ME ME!!!  I want!  Because I'm the only one in our home that cares if books are piled on the floor or not.  In my defense, I do vacuum around them, stack them, dig through them for a certain princess book that looks exactly like the other twenty three in the set.  And I do move them from room to room on a regular basis.  So yes, I wanted this Library Cart for me.

To hold Grace's books of course.

I did make some modifications from Land of Nod's version, mostly in that I used 1x12s for the box instead of 1x16s, making the shelves narrower (good for turning corners and going down halls - and my most favorite, sliding into closets), but I reasoned that most kids books are smallish, and the larger books could be displayed flat (as the Princess book is done above).  And 1x12s are cheaper, easier to cut, and more readily available.  I also increased the length because any way that I could figure, this piece had to be cut from a ten foot long 1x12.  Might as well use the whole thing up.

The mods were definitely a good choice.  The scalloped boxes came from Home Depot (by the way, thank you Home Depot for sponsoring our site and keeping plans free!  Please pay them a visit for their support) and fit perfectly on the bottom shelf.  The letters were from Joanns, I just bought one of those 100 packs of random letters for two bucks.

Here is a quick photo I took after building to check the fit of the books.  The Library Book Cart fits a TON of books!  I used the bins to hold the smaller books, placed 8 1/2" x 11" books on the bottom shelf - including all the coloring books and workbooks, and then mid sized and larger books up top.  The top shelf is perfect for Grace to sort her own books.

Dimensions shown above.


Shopping List

1 – 1×12, 10 feet long
1 – 1×2, 6 feet long
1 – 1×4, 3 feet long
1 – 1×8, 3 feet long
2″ Screws OR 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws for a Pocket Hole System
Wood filler, glue and finishing supplies

Cut List

2 – 1×12 @ 28″ (Sides)
2 – 1×12 @ 31 1/2″ (Shelves)
1 – 1×4 @ 31 1/2″ (Top Shelf Support)
2 – 1×2 @ 31 1/2″ (Bottom Shelf Trim)
1 – 1×8 @ 31 1/2″ Top Back)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1


Just build a box as you would in any other plan. Super simple. Predrill holes and use 2″ screws and glue.

Step 2


If you want, you can add handles and round the corners. The handles are actually quite useful if you want to transport the shelf (I did from the garage to the house and found them much more than just decorative). Corners are rounded 2″ down and 2″ in from the outside corners with a jigsaw.

Step 3

Bottom Shelf Trim

Add bottom shelf trim with screws from the underside and outside. Don’t forget your glue.

Step 4

Top Shelf Support

Measure and mark out the location for the top shelf support as shown in the diagram above. Predrill holes and attach the top shelf trim to the front side of the library book cart.

Step 5

Step 6

Top Shelf

Place top shelf on top of top shelf support. Mark and screw in place with 2″ screws and glue.

Step 7


A library cart has gotta have caster wheels. Mine are 1 1/2″ diameter, but a 2″ diameter would be a better choice (or even 2 1/2″) if you have carpet or floor differences.


Chrystal (not verified)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:16

LOVE this!! Its just fantastic & so are you :) i'll be adding it to my to do list!! Thanks Ana for all that you do!!

CatherineG (not verified)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 23:42

Thanks, Ana! I have children's books in anticipation of a child someday soon, and this would hold them all perfectly. BTW, I purchased four of the 20-gallon totes from Home Depot - perfect for my Christmas stuff and much better than cardboard boxes! Hope they keep supporting the site!

Jessica (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 02:43

I was loving this in the catalog last night & wishing you would make plans! I wake up this morning to plans! Thank you!!

Jessica (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 02:45

I was loving this in the catalog last night & wishing you would make plans! I woke up this morning to plans! Yay! Thank you!

orangesugar (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 03:42

When you do the upholstered bed are you going to use bed rail clips (like this I was going to try and build an upholstered bed from your chunky leg bed frame eventually, but couldn't figure out how to use the clips without them interfering with the fabric. I'd rather use the clips over screws because it would have to be disassembled and moved and reassembled.

Annie (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 03:43

I just got my Land of Nod catalogue in the mail, and wondered if the library cart was something you had drawn-up plans for. WOW! What a wonderful coincidence! This cart looks like it'll work even better! Thanks, Ana, for all the inspiration and the extra help we need to complete these awesome projects!

Britt (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:29

So excited for this! I'm a teacher and have been thinking of purchasing one, but they are way too much $, this is the perfect solution.

Amanda (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:46

As a total booklover, I LOVE this library cart! Can't wait till I can build something like this for my little one!

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