Two Color LED-lit, Built-in Bookshelf With Desk




Introduction: Two Color LED-lit, Built-in Bookshelf With Desk

##### This intructable is work in progress I am open to any feedback in the interim ######################

About a year ago (fall 2015) I was looking to upgrade my home computer. I have been doing a lot of photography and some home video editing and I really needed an upgrade, and then it daunt on me. I have no workspace to place a computer on. Furthermore, I realized that I have an pretty open floor plan and no real counter space to put the mail and I could really use some additional storage. Most of the time, my mail tended to clutter the corner of my kitchen counters. That is when the plan was created to build a new bookcase.

This intructable covers my thought process into how this project was designed and executed. I write all of this in retrospect, so this won't be a complete step by step tutorial. But since this bookcase was highly customized to the space available to me, I assume the objective here is to create ideas and give pointers on how to build an LED lit bookcase for any situation. In fact, if I had to do it again I would do a few things different. I actually list a summary of those "lessons learned" in the final section of this intractable.

In the next section I start with listing some links with designs I used for my project. After I will provide a part list for each component of the bookcase. In my option, this bookcase consists of 4 more or less separate parts:

  • The base cabinets and base boards
  • The butcher-block countertop
  • The shelving on top of the countertop + crown moulding
  • The LED strip lighting + power + controllers

Each of these components are covered in separate sections.

Finally I will show some images of the final product and list some of the lessons learned. during the whole process.

Step 1: Background

I never build a bookcase before and had to start by googling up some ideas. I quickly came upton a design a really liked at Remodelaholic titled "Build A Wall-to-Wall Built-In Desk and Bookcase" by Cassity.

I also really liked a design shown on by J&S woodworking

One of the things I liked most about some of the bookshelves I saw was the build in lighting. I have some experience working with LEDs (making a wearable project for my daughter) and thought it would be fun to use LED strips to light up each shelf.

Based on the ideas I saw on Pinterest I started my design, which will be presented in the next step.

Step 2: Design

I started making a rough sketch of the bookcase. Here is where a couple of big decisions need to be made. For instance, the hight of the countertop needs to be specified. I chose to have a higher desk space so I could work while standing (I sit enough at work). This allowed for the use of regular kitchen base cabinets to be use. I also space out a few butcher blocks to be used as countertops. It became clear early on that butcher block of the size I wanted where either not available or had to be custom made at a high price. Bobbie, my father in law promised me he could make one from base materials. I decided that I did not want the crown moulding to reach the ceiling but rather leave a 5 in. gap that could be lit up.

Step 3: Materials

(1) Oak base cabinets

  • 18x34.5x24 in. Base Cabinet with 3-Drawers in Unfinished Oak (2 x $137)
  • 15x34.5x24 in. Base Cabinet in Unfinished Oak (2 x $79)
  • 23.5x34.5x0.125 in. End Panel in Unfinished Oak (3 x $11.98)
  • White paint plus primer (1 gal ~$45)
  • Baseboard 18 ft ($17.04 x 2)


  • Brushes
  • Sandpaper (100 and 220)

(2) Countertop

  • Lumber: African Mahogany (3 in thick, I needed 75 board feet, $400)
  • Minwax 32-fl oz Rustic Mahogony Oil-Based Interior Stain ($15.76)
  • Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Satin Base 32 fl oz Polyurethane ($10.77)
  • Tools


  • Orbital sander
  • San paper (100, 220)
  • Wood glue
  • Table saw
  • Planer


  • I decided to make my butcher block countertop from scratch. You can buy ones pre made but you will spend quit a bit more, for instance here or here. Expect to pay in excess of $2,000 that for an 11 foot long, 25 in. wide 3 in. thick countertop. One can decide a different thickness or material off-course.

(3) Shelves

  • Oak plywood
  • Crown Moulding
  • Need more info here...

(4) LED lighting + power + controllers

  • 5M Warm White 5630 SMD Non-waterproof 300 LEDs Strip light 12V (x3, $8.62)
  • 5M White White 5630 SMD Non-waterproof 300 LEDs Strip light 12V (x3, $8.62)
  • LED Touch Controller Two Color Temperature Controller For LED Strip (2x $14.55)
  • 12V 10A 120W Switching Power Supply Convert Adaptor For CCTV Camera (2x 15.38)


  • Soldering iron
  • Wire strippers/cutters
  • Solder
  • 4 strand wire

Step 4: Base Cabinets

Step 5: Countertop

Step 6: Shelves

describe how the shelves we made need more info from bobby

Step 7: Solder LED Strips

Show instructables with LED strip

List all the parts required for the LED strip

Step 8: Final Result

Describe pictures

Step 9: Lessons Learned

What would I do different.

Embed LED from the beginning

Controllers are not ideal.

Better use remote or control from phone.

I seldom use the high temperature white, I think I could have used a single LED strip, or a single RGB strip with a single controller.

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    Awesome lighting job. It lets you put the light just where you want it without having to make the whole room too bright.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you!!, I will update this instructable whenever I have time bit by bit (have two kids :-)). In the mean time, people can see the pictures.

    It is crazy how inexpensive the LED lighting is, and it takes very little energy.