44 Free DIY Bookshelf Ideas You Can Build Yourself

diy bookshelf

Picking up and reading a good book is like embarking on a journey – by Emma Guilford, is a famous quote I believe to be true. Reading opens you up to a world of possibilities and faster learning.

Teaching your children to read empowers them to face any challenges they come across. The same goes for adults. Needless to say, reading is a vital ingredient of success.

It is because of this that I present to you a list of different bookshelves. If you are going to make reading your thing, then you will need an inexpensive place to store those books. 

It is because of this that I present to you a list of different bookshelves. If you are going to make reading your thing, then you will need an inexpensive place to store those books. 

See these free bookshelf plans if you're looking for shelving specifically for holding books. I also keep a list of other free plans like ones to help you build a floating shelf, hidden gun shelf, fireplace mantel, clothing rack, bike rack, murphy bed, bunk bed, wooden jewelry box, toy box, and much more.

Rope Bridge Bookshelf

This is a cool, inexpensive bookshelf that will act as a great conversation starter for the guests you host. It might not be the best to hold your library of books, but it is great for your current reads.

The Instructables website provides a PDF tutorial to guide you through its creation. For supplies, you will need a Statlig board, a paracord, shelf holder and steel washers.

With all supplies and tools ready, following the PDF tutorial to the end might take a few hours. A complete beginner can build this shelf too.

2. DIY Wall-Mounted Shelf

DIY Wall-Mounted Shelf

I have fallen in love with this shelf for two reasons; one, it is versatile and two, the shelf heights are adjustable. Notably, the industrial look could work great with both rustic and modern décor.

Judging by the tutorial provided by the Almost Makes Perfect blog, it does not seem like a complicated unit to piece together. And though the graphical tutorial features a sketch with measurements, they leave room for custom measurements.

To build the unit you need twin tracks, brackets, 0.75 inch thick wood, and wood stain.

3. DIY Bookshelf With a Cabinet Base

DIY Bookshelf With a Cabinet Base

This is one huge bookshelf. It is tall and wide. The bottom shelf is the tallest shelf which allows you to store larger accessories on it and have books on the top shelves.

Creating the entire unit (bookshelf and base cabinets) is not exactly an easy feat. It will take time and will need a team of two at the very least, to pull off. 

The top part (the bookshelf), can be done in a few hours and is not a complicated process. It is, however, time-consuming. The Thrifty Décor Chick details the simple creation process.

To create this unit, all you need are wooden planks. 

4. Easy DIY Bookshelf

Easy DIY Bookshelf

This is a simplistic and small bookcase, but at the same time modern. Do not let its size fool you. It can hold lots of magazines and books while taking up minimal floor space.

The DIY project tutorial provided by OHOH blog features all materials you will need and a sketch to give you a mental visual of the bookshelf. It also features a GIF image to show you the project process.

All you need to build this easy DIY bookshelf are plywood boards cut to different sizes. The tutorial is straight-forward and simple enough for a newbie.

5. DIY Bookshelf Tree

DIY Bookshelf Tree

This is a colorful and unique shelf that will encourage your children (adults too), to start reading and storing books. You can paint it in different designs to suit your taste and décor.

The Lowes website provides an instruction tutorial and a bookshelf plan. These contain the list of supplies needed for the project and project diagrams respectively. The tutorial also features a video on using a jigsaw. 

The project is cheap, requires intermediate skills, and is estimated to take a weekend to complete.

6. Simple DIY Wood Crate Bookshelf

Simple DIY Wood Crate Bookshelf

This bookshelf by Crazy Little Projects is just that; crazy, little and insanely simple. It makes use of unfinished wood crates available online and in local stores as well.

As Crazy Little Project details in their tutorial, the project only requires you to paint, stack and screw the wooden crates to each other. It is a project for complete beginners and you will be done in minutes.

The only cost incurred is that of purchasing the wooden crates. You might also have to spend on screws and paint if you do not have any.

7. DIY Bookshelf With Rails

DIY Bookshelf With Rails

This is the perfect bookshelf for children. It takes up little space, can be hung on a wall and features railings that prevent the books from creating a huge mess on the floor. 

The Life With Fingerprints blog accounts the success of this project to careful selection of smooth wood pieces. The blog details the dimensions and process of putting it together step-by-step.

In addition to the smooth wood, you also will need a thin sheet of plywood for the back and dowels for the rails. Generally, this bookshelf idea is easy to hack and most importantly, inexpensive.

8. DIY Bookcase Headboard

DIY Bookcase Headboard

Are you looking for a functional way to decorate your bedroom? Here is a great bookshelf idea you can incorporate. However, to complete this idea, you will need to use an existing bookshelf.

The Shelterness blog gives a brief description/tutorial of how to do it. Just sand and paint the cheap bookshelf and hang it behind our bed. Viola! Your cool and practical headboard will be done.

Adding two columns to its sides will make it pop and adds to its uniqueness.

9. Wall-to-Wall Built-In Bookcase

Wall-to-Wall Built-In Bookcase

If you have a free wall you are wondering what to do with, this one of a kind bookshelf will do just great. 

The Instructables blog provides a 5-step tutorial on building the shelf. In addition, it provides a downloadable PDF complementing the instruction tutorial. 

Following the step-by-step tutorial is easy though it does need some bit of skill. Instructables made use of pre-built cabinets and predrilled melamine laminate boards to simplify the building process. They also provide images for every step.

10. DIY Invisible Bookshelves

DIY Invisible Bookshelves

This Bookshelf is stunning. It actually makes it seem as though the books are floating on the wall. The May December Home blog sheds some insight on how the magic is done. It is surprisingly easy.

Turns out, all you need to wow your visitors with this invisible shelf are some cheap and readily available L-brackets. With some keen and accurate level measuring, you will have your magical bookshelf setup.

The building process is simple and you will be done within minutes. 

11. Curved DIY Bookshelf

Curved DIY Bookshelf

This cool bookshelf looks like something from the future. Its convex design makes it look as though it is coming out of the wall. It is large, stylish and worthy of every bit of attention it commands.

Although some precision while building a bookshelf goes a long way. This DIY bookshelf, as laid out in the Instructables PDF tutorial, is easy to build. There is not much you will have to do.

The supplies you will need include wood, screws, varnish, and paint. Note that you can customize the design and size of the unit to suit your preferences.

12. DIY Inverted Bookshelf

DIY Inverted Bookshelf

The first time you come across this bookshelf design, you will fall in love and probably think you cannot afford it. Well, you can afford it and even better, you can create it yourself.

And no, the books do not fall off. They are secure enough.

Dornob Design Ideas Daily takes you through its building process. The tutorial they provide is simple, short and features images to aid your understanding. 

The essential elements needed to create this mind-boggling bookshelf include a board, elastic, stapler and brackets. These are all material you probably already have at home or can get at the local hardware store cheaply.

13. Plumbing Pipe Shelving Unit

Plumbing Pipe Shelving  Unit

Just when you think things could not get any more creative, you come across this. Needless to say, this unit features an industrial theme and can be used to hold a variety of items including books.

The tutorial provided by Brick house results in a large unit measuring 8.8 feet wide, 7.6 feet tall and 11.25 feet deep. If you are working with a smaller space, you might have to customize the sizes.

To create this simple and inexpensive shelving unit, all you need is plumbing pipe, fittings, wood shelves, stain and spray paint. The brief bookshelf plan/tutorial also includes progress installation images for a clear understanding.

14. Storage Shelf For a Classic Bed

Storage Shelf For a  Classic Bed

Not all beds come with storage space. If you feel you need some space for your photo frames, interior décor and of course books, this idea will work for you. 

According to The Design Confidential blog, the estimated cost of building this storage shelf is between $25 and $50. The printer friendly tutorial contains the tools and lumber required the cutting list along with easy step-by-step instructions.

Also included in the tutorial are perspective drawings making it easy for beginners to complete the project. 

15. Wine Crate Bookshelf

Wine Crate Bookshelf

It looks complicated but trust me, it is not. It is just a few wine crates of different sizes connected to ordinary office binder clips.

To give the unit a stable feel, you should use wine crates of the same size as the bottom platform. Use as many binding clips to stick the crates securely together in any pattern you prefer.

While Handmade Charlotte does not provide much detail with regards to its construction, the blog does point out that it is a simple design – simpler than all other DIY bookshelves as no cutting or measuring is involved.

You can be done with this DIY bookshelf creation in minutes. And needless to say, the project requires basic skills and is inexpensive (especially if you have the wine crates lying around already).

16. DIY 8 Foot Built-in Bookcase

DIY 8 Foot Built-in  Bookcase

Honestly, this tutorial on how to make a bookshelf is incredible. The Imperfectly Polished blog provides great instruction detail along with numerous pictures for those who are more of visual learners.

The two built-in bookcases were built with 5 MDF boards. For a perfectly polished look, they used MDF trim on the edges and added some crown molding which is easy to fix.

The tutorial does not include a bullet list of supplies but reading through it you can pick up on all the tools and materials used. Overall, the project is easy and inexpensive.

17. DIY Levitating Bookshelf

DIY Levitating Bookshelf

We cannot have enough of this. This bookshelf idea is simply magical. This bookshelf is different from the one covered above. Yes, the idea is the same but the implementation is different.

In this DIY levitating bookshelf, Instructables attach a book to an L-bracket. This way, the book is the shelf and the bracket is hidden from sight.

Unlike in the previous bookshelf idea in which the bracket is visible from below. This project is perfect for beginners and teenagers even. 

It takes a short time to complete though you have to allow 6 hours for the glue to dry properly.

18. DIY Skateboard Bookshelf

DIY Skateboard Bookshelf

I particularly love this bookshelf. It is more fitting for a teenager though. It is one of those pieces of art that allows a teenager to show off their stuff in a subtle and unique way.

Instructables share a detailed instruction tutorial and a PDF bookshelf plan on how to build it. The list of supplies includes 2 skateboards, 2 shelf brackets, threaded rods, bolts, washers and a drill.

The adjustable rods give the bookshelf perfect height adjustability. Going with the 7-step graphical tutorial, the project is simple enough even for a beginner to hack. Best of all, it is cheap and takes a few hours.

19. DIY Corner Bookshelf

DIY Corner Bookshelf

If you are pressed for space, this stylish DIY corner bookshelf idea could be your savior. For this, the Instructables blog shares an in-depth 5 step tutorial along with a downloadable PDF project plan.

Enter your text here...While creating the bookshelf, which took two afternoons to complete, no screw or nail was used. Thanks to the dowels used, the resulting structure is stable.

For this project, you will need wooden boards, an MDF board, paint, and varnish. Note that you can make adjustments to the measurements if you please.

20. Built-in Wall Shelf With Lighting

Built-in Wall Shelf With  Lighting

This built-in wall shelf can transform a bland and boring wall into a focal point of any room. You should be warned though; this project requires some bit of skill and might take a lengthy period.

The fact that the View Along The Way blog does not share a detailed tutorial screams the need for a skilled DIYer. The tutorial does, however, provide 3D graphics of the building process.

According to View along The Way, the project costs about $385. This will vary depending on the quality of materials you decide to use. Nonetheless, you end up saving thousands of dollars.

21. DIY Built-in Corner Shelf

DIY Built-in Corner Shelf

This is the perfect bookshelf idea to spruce up your bedroom or living room corners. The project as instructed on the Remove and Replace blog is fun and easy. It also is inexpensive.

Other than finding the best corner for your bookshelf, you will need wood, wall anchors, and paint. The tutorial provided is simple and complemented by images of the progress made.

In total, you should expect to spend about 2 hours and about $35.

22. DIY Floating Bookshelf

DIY Floating Bookshelf

With no floor space, a hanging bookshelf can do you great service. It is perfect for small home offices or home libraries. What I love about this unit is its strength, ergonomic design, and its clean finish.

Instructables does a great job in explaining the concept of building the unit as well as providing a 9 step tutorial for beginners and pros alike to follow. The complete project cost about $200.

Even better, Instructables provides a zip file that affords you the luxury if professionally modifying the dimensions of the Sketchup model. If you wish to have a printed copy, you can download the PDF bookshelf plan.

23. DIY Low Waste Bookshelf

DIY Low Waste Bookshelf

Nothing appeals to me more than a minimalistic project. This low waste bookshelf is one of such projects. Instructables claims that on this project you end up with 1 percent (if not less) of waste.

In addition to this, following the tutorial by Instructable, you should expect to build the unit in about 20 minutes spending $60 only. You might spend a little more given the increase in price of some supplies.

Speaking of which the PDF tutorial contains a list of materials and tools needed. It also has images to guide you through the project.

24. 1 Hour DIY Bookcase

1 Hour DIY Bookcase

Time and money is a resource we cannot afford to waste. Instructables realize this and as such present us with a simple DIY bookcase that costs only $10 and can be completed in an hour.

Judging by the images provided in the PDF tutorial, the project requires basic woodworking techniques including stapling and gluing. In fact, if you are a pro DIYer, the images of the final result are enough to get you started.

The list of tools and materials required is provided. The tools include a nail gun and a table saw while materials include a nail gun, plywood sheet, sandpaper and wood glue. The unit is perfect for corners.

25. Knock-Down Book Shelves

Knock-Down Book Shelves

If you are constantly moving, a bookshelf you can take apart each time and pack with ease will serve you best. This particular bookshelf by Instructables has 12 feet of storage space.

The PDF bookshelf tutorial lays it out in a simple, easy to understand process. The tutorial features images for a clear understanding, supplies required as well as guiding sketches of the final product.

The total cost of supplies was $60. Depending on the size and improvements you would like to make, the price may vary.

26. DIY Boat Bookshelf

DIY Boat Bookshelf

This DIY boat bookshelf is a winner. It is fairly easy to build, perfect for most spaces and great for storing books and collectibles.

The bookshelf plan as detailed by Home Hardware is a beginner project though one might take a while before completing it. The main materials for building the unit include veneer plywood, shelves, pine trim, dowel and wood glue.

In addition to this, the project tutorial features tools required and a step-by-step instruction along with images for each step.

27. DIY Modular Bookshelf

DIY Modular Bookshelf

According to Instructables, the creator of this one of a kind bookshelf had a dilemma to which this bookshelf was the answer. The apartment ceiling wand angular and the author needed to fit the shelf to the wall.

A modular bookshelf was a perfect solution. It fits nicely on the wall and can be rearranged whenever since the pieces are light and easy to move around. 

The PDF tutorial provides describes the design and outlines the tools and materials needed. The materials include Aluminum-U-profile, felt pads and plywood strips. For 10 modules the project will take 5 hours.

28. DIY Leaning Ladder Bookshelf

DIY Leaning Ladder  Bookshelf

For an old home, a ladder bookshelf has more pros than cons. It serves storage purposes while leaving the room feeling spacious. Though it might seem delicate, the tutorial provided by This Old House shows it is strong.

The tutorial features step-by-step instructions a downloadable PDF cutting list and supplies required to complete it. There are also diagrams to help you imagine the final product as you build.

29. Simple Storage Room Bookcase

Simple Storage Room  Bookcase

This particular bookcase is simple and stylish. It converts a storage room into an elegant and more functional space.

While there may be different ways to build bookcases, Home Construction & Improvement chose the process they explain in their blog tutorial. 

The project is completed with MDO plywood as it is easy to cut and paint. While the tutorial is not the most detailed we have seen, it is clear and easy to follow.

30. Industrial Pipe Shelving

Industrial Pipe Shelving

This is a real simple industrial style shelving right here. Now while the unit seems to have been built from simple materials, The Style Eater shares that it was not exactly easy to piece it together. It is quite tricky.

The unit is built using pipes, fittings and wood shelves. In total, it cost $250 and required 12 hours of labor. You have a tutorial to follow but you can modify the measurements to suit you.

31. Secret door Bookshelf

Secret door Bookshelf

This looks like something you would see in a movie leading to a secret passageway. It would be cool to have one of those in your home.

The PDF tutorial provided by Instructables for this project is rather long. It covers the locking mechanism, secret compartment, light and sound effect implementation. 

It sounds all geeky but you do not have to be one to hack it as the PDF bookshelf plan is detailed enough. You can even buy preassembled parts at $1500.

32. Free Standing Ladder Bookshelf

Free Standing Ladder  Bookshelf

If you have an old ladder you do not use, this is a bookshelf idea for you. Instructables has a detailed PDF tutorial on how to convert an old ladder into a bookshelf using wood shelves, crossbars, and brackets.

Unlike the previous ladder bookshelf idea on this list, this ladder stands on its own and has shelves for steps. Most of the work in this project is sanding down the old ladder preparing it for the transformation.

The unit is designed to be disassembled. The shelves are not glued onto the ladder and the crossbars can be unscrewed allowing the ladder to fold for storage or moving.

33. Simple Red Oak Bookshelf

Simple Red Oak Bookshelf

While some people are looking for floating bookshelves, you just want a plain bookcase that is strong enough to hold your heavy books. For this, the Lees Wood Projects blog has got you covered.

In their blog tutorial, they provide a detailed yet simple bookshelf plan. The tutorial is complete with sketches of the wooden bookcase, a material list, cutting, and assembly procedure.

With the help of the tutorial, a beginner an hack the building of this bookshelf.

34. DIY Adjustable-Shelf Bookcase

DIY Adjustable-Shelf  Bookcase

Having adjustable shelves is a neat feature on your bookcase. You never know when it will come in handy. This unit is freestanding and blends perfectly with different rooms. I love its compact design. 

Tom Silva from This Old House provides a video and blog tutorial on how to create the unit step by step. He explains his choice of wood and provides measurements to guide you through.

This DIY project does, however, need you to know your tools. Other than that, it is a relatively simple project. Do not let the complex-looking design overview scare you away.

35. DIY Bookcase Around a Doorway

DIY Bookcase Around a  Doorway

This bookshelf idea adds life to a doorway. As detailed in the Popular Mechanics blog tutorial, the bookshelf is simply plywood boxes with a hardwood face frame. 

It stretches wall to wall and has molding at the floor and ceiling. The bookcase surrounds a doorway. To build this, you require patience and intermediate carpentry skills. 

The tutorial breaks down the bookshelf to its simplest components and details the process of putting it together. Popular Mechanics does not say how long it will take, but it obviously not a 3-hour project.

36. DIY Barrister Bookcase

DIY Barrister Bookcase

This is a classic style bookcase that has proven to be functional for the longest time. The style is traditional and works for most interior decors.

Adding to its excellence is a wood framed glass door and separate units which afford you the luxury to arrange the bookcase to any height. 

This blog tutorial by Popular Wood Working is long and detailed making it easier to follow. It does require some significant woodworking skills to build.

37. Portable Book Rack

Portable Book Rack

This book rack has clean and symmetrical lines. The overall design is based on the Gustav Stickley design but modified with modern storage features. Start woodworking, however, made slight modifications to this design.

But despite the few changes, the book rack is still crafty and artistic. It is built from quartersawn white oak and can fit between several Morris chairs.

The PDF tutorial they provide is detailed and features images and templates to make it easy to build. While there is no mention of price, overall, the cost is lower than that of purchasing a new bookcase.

38. Classic Stickley Design Bookcase

Classic Stickley Design  Bookcase

If you are into classic furniture designs, then this piece featuring a Stickley design will please you. I love it for its simple and direct design.

Building this DIY bookshelf saves you a whopping $1,500 which is the cost of a new Stickley Bookshelf. A DIY bookshelf will cost anywhere between $100 and $500.

Family Handyman takes you through the building process with a comprehensive and detailed blog tutorial. They estimate the project to take a single weekend and requiring moderate carpentry skills.

39. DIY Contemporary Bookcase

DIY Contemporary Bookcase

This bookcase idea makes for a great storage for your books while being a pleasant sight. It is best placed in the living room and can be used to organize trinkets for your kids.

What I love most about this bookcase is the DIY bookcase plan. The pictures and tutorial provided by Popular Woodworking Magazine are detailed and simple to follow.

However, given the many tools needed for the project, you will need to have moderate carpentry skills to pull off the construction of this simple yet strong bookcase.

40. DIY Kentwood Bookshelf

DIY Kentwood Bookshelf

This rustic bookshelf is done by Shanty2Chic though featured on the Ana White blog. I am in love with most of the DIY projects featured on the blog and this bookshelf plan is no different.

The bookcase has a beautiful, rustic design. All you need is to follow the blog tutorial complete with a supply list, cutting list, and design plans. The estimated cost is between $50 and $100.

41. DIY Industrial Bookcase

DIY Industrial Bookcase

This is yet another bookshelf with an industrial flare. If the industrial bookcases covered above seemed too big for you, then you should check this out. This bookcase has the same theme with the advantage of being compact.

If you are pressed for space, follow the Rogue Engineer blog tutorial. This tutorial features 3D graphics of the final unit and instructions featuring the perspective designs. Overall, the DIY bookcase cost about $275.

42. DIY $60 BookShelf

DIY $60 BookShelf

This is such a bargain. Whoever thought you could build a bookshelf (7-foot tall) for a meager $60? According to Infarrantly Creative, you actually can.

Infarrantly document that they spent the $60 to buy wood and screws. For finishing, they used steel wool pads soaked in white vinegar which gave them the ashy gray stain. The result was cool.

The blog tutorial features lots of images, and a cutting list to guide you through the DIY bookshelf project.

43. Classic Walnut Bookcase

Classic Walnut Bookcase

This is another classic style bookshelf. It is a perfect fit for a traditional interior décor. The bookcase is compact but attention-grabbing.

A building tutorial is provided over at the Rockler blog. You can get diagrams of the bookcase in PDF format to help you in the DIY project.

In the tutorial, Rockler adds some twists to make it slightly easier to hack. The project is not tricky and great even for a beginner. The bookcase is gorgeous, give it a chance.

44. Cubby Bookshelf with Adjustable Shelf

Cubby Bookshelf with Adjustable  Shelf

Cubby bookshelves are diverse and perfect for both office and home space. In addition to being a storage piece, they also are decorative and can be a focal point for your interior décor.

Ana-White provides free bookshelf plans for beginners along with a complete video tutorial for the same. With these, hacking the cubby bookshelf becomes a breeze.

To complete the project, you will need between $100 and $150.

For those of you who needed a bookshelf for your books and magazines, you have found something to inspire your new DIY project.

We would love to hear what you think of these bookshelf plans. What is the perfect way to store your books? Which style do you prefer for your bookshelf?

Comment below with your thoughts and additions – sharing is caring.

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