Instructables
Picture of How to build a Plywood Bookcase
5-7-2010 061.jpg
5-7-2010 062.jpg
After several years worth of frustration with the sagging shelves of el-cheapo bookcases crammed full of books, and a limited budget, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  This bookcase is made from 3/4" plywood, 2x4's and a bit of trim. It measures 7 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 1 foot deep.  It is a larger version of one I built for my wife last year (4' x 4' x 1').  It is easily scalable if you want to make it smaller.  If this were a conventional bookshelf with 1" x 12" or 1" x 6" such a wide span for each shelf would sag when fully loaded with books, however since this one has a 2x4 frame under each shelf you can boost the width.

Step 1: Materials/Tools

All the wood I used is Pine because its cheaper.  The 2" x 4"s don't really matter on quality just so long as they are straight.  The plywood should be with the least amount of blemish you can find.  The rest of the wood should be nice stuff even if you have to pay a little bit more for "premium" grade pine, it needs to be straight and with the least amount of knots, and with a grain pattern you like.  One last tip, Since this will take a while to put together consider buying it in stages to be easier on the budget ex. buy the 2x4's first, make the joints put that together then buy plywood, cut to size then buy trim...

Materials Needed:

Basic Structure
(2) Full sheets of 8' x 4' x 3/4" Plywood  and 1 piece that measures 14" x  48" 
(6) 12' x 2" x 4" 

Trim

(1) 6' x 1" x 4" (for the bottom) 
(1) 6' x 1" x 6" (for the top)
(1) 6' stick of crown molding your choice
(2) 8' sticks of trim (at least 2" wide) 
(2) 1" x 2"
(4) 1" x 3"
  

Stain:
pre-stain treatment (I used Minwax brand for all of the stain treatment)
stain 
polyacrylic
synthetic brush
sandpaper
tack cloth

Tools:
20" or 24" Crosscut saw
Cordless Drill 
Circular Saw (optional)
Kreg Jig® Mini (can actually be done without this but that means you'll have to be really carefull where the screws go to hide them under the trim)
(48) Kreg brand 2" Coarse self tapping pocket hole screws
(72)  1 1/4" drywall screws
Box of !.5" Finishing nails
Box of 2" drywall screws
1" bench chisel
Rubber Mallet
Spokeshave
Rabbet plane (optional but very handy)
Coping Saw 
Nail Set
Stain able wood putty
Wood glue
Combination Square
Tape Measure
Pencil
Back saw
Miter box
Butcher paper
Scissors
Exacto knife
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
I can't wait to start this!
How much would you estimate your project to cost? Minus hardware that is? BTW this instructable was awesome i can't wait to make a matching pair for either side of the fireplace.... grrr now i'm gonna have to move the heater vents :((
Cheiron (author)  KoolAidDisaster3 years ago
It was about 150 dollars minus the hardware. What made this over 100 dollars was the trim. I couldn't believe how expensive that stuff is. One other way that would make this cheaper is to make it 3 feet wide instead of 4, I'm pretty sure that would save 1 sheet of plywood. If you plan on painting the bookcase, the pre-painted trim is cheaper than the wood trim.
blkhawk4 years ago
Kudos! A job well done. This is not only a beautiful piece of furniture but but also strong and will last for a very long time. Thank you for posting!
Cheiron (author)  blkhawk4 years ago
Thanks! We have since loaded it down with books and its holding just fine.