DIFFICULTY: Intermediate

If you’re just getting started in woodworking or have been doing it for a long time. I would always recommend learning how to build bookshelves or bookcases.

We currently use “bookshelves” to hold our stuff or things we find interesting and I hope to help you build these types of shelves for your space or home.

Before you begin, I would recommend watching the build video and the entirety of this blog post. If you have any questions be sure to post them in the comments below. I am here to help you with your project.

Watch The Video





Step 1

Watch the video and download the blueprints.

Step 2

Go to your local hardware store and purchase the materials and supplies listed in the above Materials list.

Step 3

Next, cut down your sheets of plywood to the correct width. To do this set your track saw or table saw to the specified dimensions in the blueprint.

Step 4

Once your plywood is cut to the correct width it is now time to take the board over to the miter saw or chop saw. Next we are going to cut the sides of the bookshelf. These two boards need to be exactly the same.

Cut boards

Step 5

After your sides are cut, find a flat surface and clamp them next to each other, so they are laying edge to edge. Measure out the distance of your shelves with a pencil. Be sure to reference the blueprint.

Step 6

Mark the location of the shelves to the side boards you will setup your router to cut the dado groove. I recommend cutting a 1/4in groove. To set up your router to cut the dado groove be sure to use a 3/4 wide plywood dado router bit. Once your router has the correct bit you can use a straight edge to clamp down to your work surface, so your router has a clean straight line to move along as you cut your dado into each sideboard of your bookshelf.

Cutting the grooves for the shelves

Step 7

Next, cut the top board for your bookshelf. Then, cut the three inner shelves. Note that a 1/4in is going to be inside the dado groove we just cut.

Cutting the top groove/channel

Step 8

Now that all the main boards are cut it is time to assemble. To install the top board, you first need to create 3-4 pocket holes on the side boards.

Step 9

Use your Kreg jig pocket hole system and drill out 3-4 holes at one end of the board. You will need to repeat this step for the adjacent sideboard. The pocket holes will need to be facing outward for assembling and screwing the top board in place.

Step 10

To install the top board, I recommend first applying glue to the top edge of both of the side boards. Next, take a brad nailer and nail in the top board. This will help prevent any slipping as your screw in your pocket hole screws.

Step 11

After you have nailed in the top board to the two side boards, use your drill and screw in the screws into the pocket holes. Next apply glue to dado groves and slide in each shelve into the dado grooves. You may need to use a long clamp to ensure they are set correctly before nailing.

Step 12

Now, nail the shelves in place by placing nails into the sideboard from the outside.

Step 13

Next cut out our backboard out of the 1/4in plywood. This will be used to help keep everything square. Your lengths and widths may be larger than what a sheet can cover. That is ok, all you need to do is be sure to cover any seams with where a shelf may be sitting. Check to make sure everything is square. Use 1/3in brad nails to secure the backboard to the back of the bookshelf.

Attaching the backboard

Step 14

Next you will cut the wood for the face frame. Be sure to reference the blueprint for lengths.

Step 15

To install the face frame I recommend using 1-1/4in brad nails. Nail your face frame to the edge of the sides of the bookshelf.

Attaching the faceframe

Step 16

Install your molding. To install the molding be sure to place it about an inch from the top of the face frame and use a 1-1/4in brad nail to nail it into place.

Step 17

Next fill any holes or gaps with wood putty and let it dry over night.

Step 18

Sand any edges or areas that you are going to paint with 120grit sandpaper then go over it with 220grit.

Step 19

Next apply caulk to the backboard corners and edges from inside the cabinet before painting. A trick to applying caulk is to keep your fingers wet and run your finger down the caulk line wiping the access onto a rag. Repeat as often as needed to keep the caulk line as minimal as possible. The goal here is to cover any gaps in the backboard. Let the caulk dry overnight.

Fully build and ready for paint

Step 20

Next you can roll, brush or spray your paint. Let the paint dry fully before applying a second coat.

First coat of paint

Step 21

Installation of the bookshelves was not easy. The biggest issue I faced was that my interior house walls were not level or square. This is something you rarely think about because your eyes see everything from a distance and you think that they are square when in fact they are not. This is a picture of a test fit that I did before I painted. Notice on the bottom right the wall touches the bookshelf but at the top on the right there is about a half inch gap.

Dry fitting the cabinet

When I put my bookshelves on top of the cabinets and secured them to the back wall I notices that I had gaps ranging from a 1/16th of an inch to .5in. This did not make me happy. At the time the only way I thought I could compensate for this was to use filler (Rope Caulk) and white acrylic silicone all purpose caulk. What I didn’t realize was how difficult it was going to be to fill these voids with rope caulk and white acrylic caulk. Looking back, I should have cut wood strips and used them as filler as it would have been much easier and cleaner. The technique I used worked but it was much fussier to deal with. The Rope Caulk is like putty and it fills the gap but needs to be smooth because it is easy to get bumps and uneven spots. These bumps and uneven spots will show up when you put the silicone based caulk over top of it. I would highly recommend using wood as a filler and then using the silicone caulk, your installation will be much better. Even if it takes a bit more time to cut the strips of wood, it will save you time in the long run.

Rope caulk for the gap

Once the bookshelves were in installed I needed to nail in the trim at the top of the cabinet to match the fireplace mantel. This was rather easy to do and was done in just a few minutes. At this point everything was installed, nailed, caulked and primed. The last step was to give it a final paint job. This was the moment I had been waiting for for a long time.

Step 22

You’re done! Sit back and enjoy your work.

Installed bookshelves


This was one of my favorite projects I have worked on. It was my first time building bookshelves and my wife loves them and it really makes the room look awesome. I am now on to my next project!

Please be sure to check out the other videos and blog posts and the many other amazing projects. If you have any questions please leave your comments at the end of this blog and be sure to follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Happy Building!


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Don F March 27, 2021 at 1:27 am

How did you actually attach the shelves to the wall? I don’t see any screws in anything.


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