Introduction: Plywood Mini Kitchen Bookshelf

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I had a few plywood stripes aside for some future project, a bit wider than 100mm and between 1000 and 1400mm long. And just yesterday my wife asked me for a mini shelf for the kitchen, to keep cooking books and all the small items that end up populating a kitchen top. Hey, wait a minute! There's a plywood challenge going on. I'll take it!

The Mini Kitchen Bookshelf needs to fit in a corner with the following dimensions:

  • Width: 250mm max
  • Depth: 200mm max
  • Height: 3 shelves of 300mm, 250mm and 200mm


I had the following material available, but obviously the design can be adapted to what you need and what you have available.

  • 12mm plywood with hardwood face
  • 2 pieces 1400mm X 105mm
  • 2 pieces 1040mm X 105mm

I tried a few designs but they all needed too much material, more than I got available. Eventually I got to the final design.

Step 1: Design

Aside of the dimensions requested and the limited materials available, I wanted to make it so that it doesn't need glue, nails or screws, and the parts are interlocking. I partly achieved this goal, and 8 screws might be needed.

For the construction, luckily I have a laser cutter available at my Hackspace in London, however the design is simple enough to make it with traditional methods, i.e. a drill and a jigsaw or even a fretsaw.

(EDIT: after using the laser cutter, I would strongly suggest to cut the wood using traditional methods, since the cut made by a laser cutter on wood leaves a patina that stinks like hell and it takes a lot of work to get rid of it. You can still see black stains on the finished shelf.)

The most important point is to check the actual plywood thickness and cut the holes accordingly, for a snug fit. For example my plywood is nominal 12mm but the real thickness is 11.3mm

Although the design allows pure interlocking, it is very simple and it can come apart if the fit is not snug. in that case I would suggest to either glue the parts together anyways and additionally screw the side faces with the side supports... or to think of a better interlocking solution!

The bookshelf has 2 side supports that engage with the shelves. Each shelf is composed of 2 parts that interlock in the side support and are held together by an additional side face.

All the drawings are in the 2 dxf files below. File v.3 is with pegs, as in the pictures, and file v.4 is without pegs.

Again, please note that the thickness used here is 11.2mm, adapt the design to your material!

Step 2: Construction

Finally! I have cut all the parts. It was scary to think that I might have made some errors, since that was all the material I had available... but it all turned out well!

I have:

  1. 2 side supports
  2. 8 half-shelves to combine into 4 shelves
  3. 2 angled side connectors for the base
  4. 6 round side connectors for the 3 upper shelves

The construction sequence:

  1. Connect 2 half-shelves with the angled connector (the base)
  2. Repeat for the 3 shelves with rounded connectors
  3. Lay one side support flat
  4. Insert the 4 shelves into the side support
  5. Lay the second side support on top of the shelves and connect them
  6. If needed, screw each side connector to the side support.
  7. Done!

Step 3: Conclusion

Here it is, my new plywood Kitchen Mini-Bookshelf, already in place, with all the books in order. Pretty happy of this quick project!

If you like it vote it in the Plywood Challenge below! :)

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