Ian & Jenny Make a Bookcase




Introduction: Ian & Jenny Make a Bookcase

This instructable shows how we made a painted bookcase. As you can see from the photo, this bookcase had to fit in a specific gap, but the techniques work for any size.

The carcass is plywood, with a pine face frame and detail. Again this is in the form of several videos, for future projects I'll take more photo's to back up the instructable.

Step 1: Design and Stock Preparation

So the first task is to design the bookcase. Jenny and I recently made a bookcase for ourselves, which led to a friend asking us to make them one. The main thoughts behind the design were:

  • Solid construction, we've had too many cheap flat pack bookcases that collapse the first time you try to move them.
  • Affordable, both in materials and time. This project uses materials from the local DIY superstore and the whole project could be completed in a couple of weekends.
  • The plywood available from the DIY place is cheap and pretty awful looking, so we went with a painted style. Where we used pine this was stained and left unpainted

The design was done in SketchUp, particularly important for this project was to ensure that there were cutouts for the skirting boards in the room that this bookcase was going in. So I added these to the SketchUp model which allowed me to work out where to make the cutouts on the bookcase easily.

Part 1 video covers the following:

  • Introduction to the bookcase (including a quick look at the first one we did).
  • Cutting down the stock to size. In this case we made use of a track saw, but a circular saw would work just as well for this.
  • We also used the track saw to help us lay out the dado's that the shelves fit into.

Step 2: Constructing the Plywood Carcass

Part 2 covers constructing the plywood carcass, a couple of things to note in the video:

  • Using glue and nails to construct the carcass. The nails hold everyting in shape whilst the glue goes off.
  • The use of various aids to try and ensure that we got everything square.
  • The initial steps of putting the pine face frame in place.

Step 3: Adding Detail

Part 3 covers:

  1. Adding detail to the face frame.
  2. Adding the top detailing.
  3. Adding the skirting boards.

Step 4: Finishing the Project

With the majority of the woodwork done it was time to move on to part 4, which shows:

  1. Preparing the tongue and groove back boards
  2. Preparing the bookcase for finish
  3. Applying stain to the pine
  4. Painting the carcass
  5. Applying a finishing wax

Step 5: Bonus Step - Our Own Brand

As I was getting to the end of this project I was also having a bit of a play with an idea about having a logo branded onto the back of the bookcase.

I decided to try and make a branding iron with our names on. I am an Engineer by profession, so over a couple of lunch times I knocked up a 3D CAD file (this design would have been very difficult to model in SketchUp, so I used Inventor). This was uploaded to Shapeways and 2 weeks later my 3D printed stainless steel branding iron arrived.

I added a simple wooden handle and then after a bit of practice on some offcuts I branded the back of the bookcase (as seen in the photo).

It's a nice touch and it didn't cost me much to do and will be something we can use on all of our future projects hopefully.

Step 6: The Finished Bookcase

We were really pleased with how it came out and it really fits in well in its final home.

There's a plan to add a desk that sits on top of the second shelf, but we haven't designed that yet and there's probably a couple of other projects that'll happen first.

Thanks for reading, we really hope you liked it.

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    4 Discussions

    The only change I would make is I use dowels and cut them off after pinning the skirts with a very sharp chisel but a lovely job.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback. That done sound like a good option, thanks.

    William Alexander Hamilton
    William Alexander Hamilton

    Reply 4 years ago

    The dowel hides better with stain than plastic wood fillers. They pin well just put glue on about a quarter of the length. The case looks lovely and I will be building one using 1 foot boards.


    4 years ago

    I like the touch of adding your own brand. :)