Mini Digital Library Bookcase




About: Life is a series of projects. Woo-hoo!

This project is a miniature that has a hidden purpose. It not only looks neat, this mini library is a fun storage system for all kinds of my digital backups. The various sized books on the shelves hold mismatched thumb drives, SD cards, Micro SDs, Sim cards and more. I used to dig through drawers, bags, and files to find my back-ups. Now that I have this little library on my desk my back ups are always within reach.

Step 1: Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  1. Wood Pieces: 1/4" thick pieces: (1) 12" x 5.25" back piece, (4) 12" x 1.5" side and shelf pieces, (1) 9.5" x 3" top piece ($10 at Hobby Lobby, you can buy different sizes based on your chosen scale or wood availability)
  2. small hand saw to cut the wood pieces (from my home supplies)
  3. wood glue (from my home supplies)
  4. tape (from my home supplies)
  5. colored paper (4 for $1.00 at Hobby Lobby, I bought a tie-dye page and a two color patterned page so I could get several colors of books from one page. I also bought themed paper to match my devices: map pattern for vacation photo usb backups, musical notes for my playlists and mixes, etc.)
  6. knick-knacks (gathered from my home)

This is a quick and easy project, you may even have the materials at home already. I made a quick trip to a craft store and bought some pre-cut wood pieces for under $10. I picked the size of the bookcase based on the size of the back up media I wanted to store. I also picked up 4 pieces of patterned paper for a dollar. I gathered wood glue, tape, and a small hand saw that I already own. I also raided every junk drawer at home and gathered some little toys and knick-knacks to fit the scale of my bookcase. You don't have to know exactly which knick-knacks you'll be using, just gather enough to mix and match on your finished bookcase. I'm sure I'll be changing out my accents as I collect or toss my media pieces as I use the bookcase over time.

Step 2: Step 2: Make Your Books

Why make the books first you ask, shouldn't you start with the bookcase? Noooooo. The answer is no, let my disaster be your guide. You must build the books first so you can size the bookcase around them. It is not exactly traditional furniture building, but we're just trying to get the scale right based on our objective: storing media as "books". If you don't sized the bookcase on the finished books you'll be starting over on the bookcase (true, sad, story).

To start, cut a rectangle around your first backup device. Leave about a 1/4" space on top and bottom of the device and then fold the top and bottom edges like picture 2. Add creases to create the spine and then fold back the right and left sides to fit the device like a book cover as shown in pictures 3 and 4. Cut a small piece of paper and turn it white side up. Fold it to form the "paper" in the book. Tape all the edges of the cover and then tape the "paper" into place. This creates a sleeve for the device.

I chose my papers to match the devices, it helps to organize the devices. All of my photo thumb drives and SD cards are wrapped in map print paper because they are mainly vacation and travel photos. All of my music file devices are wrapped in musical score paper. The colored book covers are my miscellaneous data devices.

Step 3: Step 3: Build Your Bookcase

Using the pre-cut pieces I spaced out the shelves based on the size of my books. The bottom shelf is slightly taller to fit the tall USB drive books. The remaining space was divided among three additional shelves.

I marked and cut the shelf lengths and then dry-fit (stacked) the pieces together to check the fit. Once I was satisfied with the layout I glued the side pieces to the back piece. Once the pieces were tacky but not dried I glued and slid in the shelf pieces. I let those pieces dry in place for an hour (check the instructions on your glue for dry time). When my basic shelf frame was complete I marked and cut the cabinet top piece and the floor trim piece. I cut the top with an overhang to mimic actual trimmed bookcases. I added the floor trim piece on the bottom front of the cabinet to match to overhang of the top piece. This gives the look of an actual library bookcase instead of just having a flat, plain, bookcase. I like the extra detail but you can build your design to suit your own style.

I usually use scrap wood for these little projects but I decided in this case to buy pre-cut wood pieces at a craft store since my supplies are low and the wood was cheap and good quality. Also, it made this project much easier because there were very few cuts that I had to make myself. For a quick project like this I recommend pre-cut craft strips.

Step 4: Step 4: Stack Your Bookcase

When your bookcase glue is fully dried, it is time for the fun part. Stack the larger "books" on the taller bottom shelf. Move the other books and knick-knacks around on your library bookcase until you like the arrangement. Play with your accents and be sure to pick pieces that reflect your personality. My mini library sits on my desk so I wanted it to match my aesthetic. I used a piece of amethyst as a bookend to match my full scale amethyst bookends, a toy capsule from my space toy set (don't judge), a mini potted plant, and a little sign that I saw while waiting in the cash register line at the craft store. The sign was sparkly and I'm a sucker for shiny objects, especially when I'm trapped waiting in a checkout line. Use things you'll enjoy looking at, it makes the bookcase more fun and it also helps to disguise the true purpose of the books. You will be able to conceal your digital back-ups in plain sight in a unique and fun way.

Step 5: Step 5: Enjoy and Customize

I chose not to paint or stain my bookcase because it already matches the natural wood tone in my room. However, this project would look great with a paint or stain if you'd like to coordinate it to your room.

Add a mini rug or a lamp or Barbie chair beside it if you like the diorama look. I always like to add function instead of just adding pieces for aesthetic so try to keep that in mind. It makes the pieces useful instead of just entertaining clutter that you'll get rid of when you pick your next project.

I hope you enjoyed this project and were as inspired as I was by this challenge. Have fun MAKING.

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    11 Discussions


    9 days ago

    You did a great job! I am marking for a future project, thanks.

    1 reply

    10 days ago

    Ohhhhhhhhh my goodness. Favoriting this - what a great idea :D

    1 reply

    10 days ago

    This is so adorable that this is the first time I have ever commented on an instructable!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 days ago

    Wow, I’m honored to get your first comment! Thanks allenalb.

    Alex in NZ

    11 days ago

    This is a really nice way to store your digital media, while honouring their heritage back to traditional libraries. Thank you for sharing it (and for owning up to your mistakes to help anyone who follows) :-)

    1 reply
    BeetlesmartAlex in NZ

    Reply 11 days ago

    Thanks Alex, I’m happy you noticed the library nod. As for my mistakes, I think it makes a better Instructable to include them. How many times have we read instructions while thinking ‘or....I could do it this way...’. It’s good to understand the potential pitfalls in any project.