Whimsical Little Free Library




Introduction: Whimsical Little Free Library

About: I pulled together this project in six weeks as an assignment for a Makerspace class I am taking for my masters in Library and Information Sciences.

The Little Free Library project gives the community the opportunity to share books with each other that they can take home and keep. As a librarian, I love directing people to a good book. A public library is a great place to read books, but you have to bring them back! I was inspired by the idea of a person bringing home a book to own. People bring by books they have loved and pass on to others. This particular library was inspired by Harry Potter's best friend Ron Weasley. He lives in a magical house that's a little worn but full of love. The Weasley's are a big family (7 children!) and over the years they build room upon room, piled on top of the house. This Whimsical Little Free Library was my opportunity to share my love of the Harry Potter books with the community.

Enjoy building your own Whimsical Little Free Library!

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Step 1: Gather Supplies and Tools


    • Plywood - 4x8 feet sheet, 5/8 inch
    • 2x6 inch board
    • Acrylic Glass
    • Wood glue
    • #8 1-1/2" screws
    • Wood filler
    • Scraper
    • Sandpaper
    • (2) L-brackets
    • (2) Hinges
    • Door knob
    • Magnetic latch
    • Weatherstripping
    • Outdoor paint
    • Paintbrushes
    • Painters tape


    • Circular saw
    • Jigsaw
    • Router
    • Measuring tape
    • Level square
    • 16 x 24 Framing square
    • Level bar
    • Drill
    • Power screwdriver
    • Clamps

    Step 2: Design

    You can draw out your measurements and design on paper.

    I am a more visual learner. I put together a rough paper model to give me a visual of the project.

    Step 3: Measure and Cut

    Main House

    • Floor 20-1/2" x 12"
    • Roof Left 10-1/2" x 21"
    • Roof Right 10-1/2" x 21"
    • Front 14-5/8" x 21"
    • Back 14-5/8" x 21"
    • Left Wall 12" x 20-1/2"
    • Right Wall 12" x 20-1/2"


    Measure and draw onto the plywood the Floor, Front, Back, Roof Left and Roof Right. Using the circular saw, cut out the Floor, Front, Back, Roof Left and Roof Right.

    The Front needs special attention. It will become the frame for the door of the library. To do this, measure the size of the opening that the door will cover. Using a 1/2" size drill bit, drill 4 holes, one at each corner. Next, take the jigsaw, insert it into the holes, and cut out the middle of the Front.

    Measure and draw the Left Wall and Right Wall. To do this, measure the width of each wall to match the Front and Back. Centered between the two sides, measure the height of each wall. This will draw a point at the top. Using the circular saw, carefully cut the walls.

    Step 4: Wood Glue

    Put wood glue along the bottom of each piece.

    Attach the piece to the Floor, pressing together.

    Take the clamps and hold them together.

    Use the Level Square and Level Bar to make sure it is straight.

    Repeat for the Back, Front, Left Wall, and Right Wall.

    Wait about 20-30 minutes for the wood glue to dry.

    Step 5: Screw

    Once the wood glue drys, use a 7/64" size drill bit to make pilot holes along where the pieces meet.

    Take the #8 1-1/2 inch screws and use the screwdriver to insert the screws.

    Make sure the screws go beneath the flush of the wood so they will not be seen in the final product.

    Step 6: Wood Fill

    Use the scraper to put wood filler over the screws.

    Once this has dried, sand off the access.

    This is a good time to sand down any rough pieces of the house.

    This is what the Main House should look like at this point.

    Step 7: Paint and Caulk

    Take this time to paint the interior of the house and inside the roof before attaching the roof. This will be easier than painting after the roof is attached. Use 3 coats of outdoor paint.

    Now that most of the Main House is built, wipe it down with a damp rag.

    Along the inside seams, put a line of caulk.

    Step 8: Optional Base

    Optional: I have chosen to put my finished library in my garden on a bench. However, I attached a 2x6 board for the option of posting it into the ground in the future.

    To do this, cut a 2x6 the width of the Main House.

    Place the 2x6 directly in the middle beneath the Floor.

    Inside the Main House, drill pilot holes.

    Screw #8 1-1/2" screws to attach the 2x6 to the Main House.

    Step 9: Roof

    1. Just like the walls, run wood glue along the Right Wall and Left Wall peaks.
    2. Press Roof Right and Roof Left to the wood glue.
    3. Clamp down the Roof pieces.
    4. Once it has dried, drill the 7/64" pilot holes along where the Roof meets the Walls.
    5. Screw in the #8 1-1/2 inch screws.
    6. Wipe down the Main Structure.
    7. Wood fill the screws.
    8. Once dried, sand down the excess and rough pieces.
    9. Wipe down the roof.
    10. Caulk the seams.

    Step 10: Build the Houses

    The process will be on repeat: Measure, Cut, Glue, Screw, Wood Fill, Sand, Caulk. Refer back to previous instructions if you need a reminder on how to perform each process for House A, House B, House C.

    House A Measurements:

    • Floor 4" x 4"
    • Right Wall 21-5/8" x 4"
    • Left Wall 21-5/8" x 4"
    • Front 18-1/2" x 2-3/4"
    • Back 18-1/2" x 2-3/4"
    • Roof Left 3" x 4"
    • Roof Right 3" x 4"

    House B Measurements:

    • Floor 14" x 4"
    • Front 10" x 3-5/8"
    • Back 10" x 3-5/8"
    • Roof 10" x 4"

    House C Measurements:

    • Right Wall 12" x 2-3/4"
    • Left Wall 12" x 2-3/4"
    • Front 9" x 4"
    • Back 9" x 4"
    • Roof Left 3" x 4"
    • Roof Right 3" x 4"

    For each house separately, complete the following steps:

    1. Measure and draw pieces onto the plywood.
    2. Using the circular saw cut the house sections.
    3. Attach pieces together, except for the supports, with wood glue. *
    4. Drill pieces together with #8 1-1/2 inch screws.
    5. Wood Fill over the screws.
    6. Sand off the excess wood glue and any rough spots.
    7. Wipe down the house with a damp rag.
    8. Caulk the seams.

    *Houses A-C may be too small to clamp depending on the size clamps you are using. A scrap piece of wood with a heavy object on top, such as a paint can, can hold the pieces together as the wood glue dries.

    Step 11: Attach Houses

    House A to Main House

    Attach an L-bracket to the bottom of House A.

    Drill pilot holes into the main house where the bracket will be.

    Connect House A to the Main House where the L-bracket lines up using (x) screws.

    House C to House B

    Wood glue House C to the side of House B

    House B/C to House A

    Take the connected House B/C structure and attach an L-bracket to the bottom of House A.

    Drill pilot holes into House A.

    Connect House B/C to House A where the L-bracket lines up using #8 1" screws.

    Step 12: Build the Door

    Door Measurements:

    • Door Frame
    • Door Window: Acrylic Glass

    1. Measure and draw pieces onto the plywood and acrylic glass.

    2. Using the circular saw cut the door frame and acrylic glass.

    3. Use the router around the outside of the door frame.

    4. Measure the size of the window onto the door.

    5. Using a 1/2" size drill bit, drill 4 holes, one at each corner.

    6. Take the jigsaw, insert it into the holes, and cut out the middle of the Door.

    7. Use the router to make an holding place for the window.

    8. Sand and paint the door at this time.

    Step 13: Attach the Door

    1. Caulk around the window and place the acrylic glass into the holding place.

    2. Wipe down the door with a damp rag.

    3. Attach the door knob using a 3/16" drill bit.

    4. Attach the hinges using the screws included with the hinge set.

    5. Attach the magnetic strip using the screws included with the magnetic strip set.

    6. Attach the weather stripping.

    Finally, attach the door to the house using the screws included with the hinge set.

    Step 14: Decorate

    Choose fun bits and pieces to make your library come to life.

    Some materials I used:

    • Popsicle sticks
    • Wooden beads
    • Glass squares
    • Moss
    • Cork board
    • Wine corks

    Step 15: Enjoy!

    Show off your Whimsical Little Free Library!

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      2 Discussions


      2 years ago

      I think this is absolutely wonderful! I see this being used in the city where I live by not just the neighborhood residents but by those who do not have permanent residences (who are homeless). Thank you for sharing this.


      2 years ago

      I love this idea! This would be so neat to have in our neighborhood :)