Built-In Bookcase Tutorial


I have been wanting custom built-in bookcases for a few years now. And although I had no idea how to build them, I was tired of waiting to save up the money to hire a professional to build them for me. I figured it can’t possibly be that hard.

And it’s really not! It’s actually a pretty easy project! And I am here to tell you that you can easily do it on your own!


Materials: (I’m not going to go into detailed measurement because it depends on the size of the bookcase that you are building)

  • 8 foot by 12″ boards
  • 8 foot by 6″ boards
  • 1″ by 1″ boards (these are used to support the shelves)
  • wood screws
  • lattice- is used to cover up all the cracks, screws etc. Make it look finished and pretty. I think the ones I used were 2.5″ wide.
  • wood glue
  • finishing nails
  • level

built-in-cabinet1. I started by screwing one 8 foot by 12″ board to the wall.

2.I built a box using the 6″ wide boards.

3. Screwed a second 8 foot by 12″ board to the other side. So now you have the 2 sides and the bottom base.


Next build a second box to attach at the top. I didn’t screw anything into the ceiling (just incase we ever remove it I really don’t want to be filling holes in the ceiling). It was only screwed into the back wall and to the 2 side panel boards.bookcase-tutorialThen I covered both the box bases with the 12″ wide boards.

At this point you have the basic structure of the bookcase and just need to add the shelves.
how-to-build-built-in-bookcaseDecide on the spacing between the shelves.

Screw the 1″ strips of wood the the wall and sides.
diy-bookcaseAdd the shelf on top of these supports.

Now for the pretty part. I started adding the lattice pieces to cover up all the imperfections and make it look custom. Lattice is really thin pieces of wood that you can find at Lowes in the trim section. You could use any kind of trim I just like the look of the flat simple trim. You can also do any type of design with these pieces. I put them on all the edges (with wood glue and finishing nails). And also cut small pieces to add to the sides.

Fill any holes or gaps with filler and sand. I also used a nail punch to hide the finishing nails.
grey-bookcase(Sorry for the terrible pictures, I was talking them at around midnight in a dark hallway with no natural light)

After it was painted (Sherwin Williams fossilized) I added more lattice pieces to the front of each shelf. Just to give the shelves the look of being thicker and also helping to cover up any ugly stuff underneath. I added these pieces after only because it was easier to paint the bookcase with them not attached.

hallway bookshelfAnd done.built-in-bookcase-tutorialgrey-built-in-bookcaseIt took about 5 hours from start to finish and truly was not difficult! If you’re like me and needing extra storage in your home you can absolutely do this.

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About Danielle

Thanks for stopping by! My family and I recently moved into a builder box home. And in between playdates and swim lessons you can find me adding some thrifty, diy charm to our new home.

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