How to Build a Large Bookcase

A large bookcase will provide you with lots of storage space in your living room, bedroom or study but can cost you a lot of money if you seek a sturdy piece of furniture. You can offset this cost by building your own bookcase by hand. When you no longer want or need the bookcase, it can be handed down through your family as an heirloom.

  • 1-inch-thick by 16-inch-wide by 6-foot-long boards, five
  • 1-inch-thick by 16-inch-wide by 4-foot-long boards, two
  • 1-inch-thick by 16-inch-wide by 3-foot-10-inch-long boards, three or more
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Wood glue
  • 2-inch thin finishing nails
  • Putty knife
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter's cloth
  • Wood paint or wood stain
  • Paintbrush
Construct a rectangular frame using two 4-foot-long boards and two of the 6-foot-long boards. Apply wood glue along the edges where the boards meet, then drive nails down through the 4-foot pieces and into the ends of the 6-foot pieces. Place several nails, 1 inch apart, to make the large bookcase sturdy, and leave the nails sticking out from the wood a tiny bit. Place the nail set's narrow end on each nail head and then hammer the opposite end of the nail set to place each nail head into the wood of the bookcase. This keeps the hammer from making marks on the bookcase.

Lay the rectangular frame down on the floor and slide the 3-foot-10 pieces into the frame, parallel to the top and bottom of the bookshelf. These pieces, which will become the shelves, should fit tightly between the side pieces and may need a little pressure to fit inside the frame. Set the shelves at equal distances apart or with varied distances, depending on how you plan to use the bookshelf.

Drive finishing nails through the side pieces and directly into the ends of the 3-foot-10 pieces. Leave the nail heads sticking out slightly to drive in below the surface and sink them in the wood with the nail set.

Set the three remaining 6-foot boards on top of the frame, parallel to the side pieces, to cover the entire back of the bookcase. Drive finishing nails through each of these pieces and into the top, bottom and sides of the bookcase and into the shelf pieces.

Stand the bookcase up on end. Use a putty knife to apply wood putty to cover nail holes and then use the sandpaper to remove any bumps in the bookcase surface or wood putty. Use a painter's cloth to wipe away dust.

Paint or apply wood stain to the bookcase on all surfaces and allow it to dry overnight in a well-ventilated location before moving the bookcase into place and filling it with books and trinkets.

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