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21 Free DIY Bookshelf Plans (With Pictures): Build Today!

Bookshelf Plans

Bookshelf Plans

If you are new to DIY projects, building a bookshelf is the perfect place to start. Most bookshelves use square cuts and right angles, making them much more comfortable to assemble and work with. Within the broader category of bookshelves and bookcases, there are so many styles and designs that you will come across. We tried to pick a variety of designs that would work for beginners and experienced woodworkers. Regardless of the style of your home, there is a plan here that will teach you how to build the bookshelf you’ve always wanted.

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The 21 DIY Bookshelf Plans

1. Crates & Pallet Bookshelf by Jen Wood House

Starting off our list of free bookshelf plans you can DIY today is this Crates and Pallet Bookshelf by Jen Wood House. This bookshelf has a rustic look and uses very few materials. This finished piece looks like something out of a magazine without paying hundreds of dollars. Learning how to build a bookshelf is easier than ever with this plan; it gives you step-by-step pictures and instructions and a perfect materials and supplies list.

As complicated as this may look to a new DIYer, this project is very well laid out and an excellent option for a first-timer looking to get into furniture building. You can easily adjust the design of the shelves and spacing to fit certain things that you need, but we love the way this is done.

2. Kentwood Bookshelf by Ana White

Next, we have the Kentwood Bookshelf by Ana White. This is a smaller-scale design that would work well in a bathroom or a kid’s room. As far as difficulty is concerned, this is a beginner-type plan that should not be difficult to complete for a reasonably low price. The instructions are laid out, and you should have no problem knowing precisely the cuts you need to make to complete this DIY bookshelf. For a free plan, this one is hard to beat.

3. Industrial Bookcase by Rogue Engineer

If you are looking for a mix of wood and metal in your next bookshelf, this Industrial Bookshelf from Rogue Engineer could be a good fit. We will not say that this is a challenging build, but it will undoubtedly be more involved than a bookshelf that just uses wood. You will need a couple of extra tools and supplies to get this one done, but in the end, it is hard not to be satisfied with this finished look.

This shelf costs a bit more than some other plans, coming in at around $300, but considering similar bookshelves are selling in stores for over $1,000, your time spent on this will be well spent.

4. Rustic X Bookshelf by Jen Wood House

Here we have another bookshelf by Jen Wood House; this one is a Rustic X Design. The plans for this bookshelf are easy to follow, and if this picture does not make you want one for your home, we are not sure what will. You could paint or stain this unit to match your décor, and you can also vary the length or height of the shelves to fit your wall space perfectly. She estimates that this shelf will take about $75.00 to build. Considering this would cost several hundred to purchase in a store, that seems like a great buy.

5. Bookshelves by Infarrantly Creative

These bookshelves are about seven feet tall and would be a fantastic addition to a home library. This is another design modeled off of the Restoration Hardware Kentwood bookshelves, but this plan comes from Infarrantly Creative. What we love about this plan is that they don’t claim to know everything about creating and designing bookshelves.

In fact, they followed one of the other plans on this list and modified it to work in this space. These are stained, but we could also see these shelves looking great in a bright pop of color to bring an accent piece into a room.

6. Cubby Bookshelf from Ana White

The Cubby Bookshelf from Ana White is a trendy design when it comes to book storage and also toy storage. You can purchase fabric-type bins to place inside some or all of these cubbies when your project is complete. The directions to build this bookshelf are clearly laid out, and the measurements and steps are easy to follow.

If you have a particular size bin or container that you want to fit in this bookshelf, be sure to measure it before starting your building. If you like this design and can handle making this project a bit more complicated, you can turn this 9-cube organizer into a 12 or 15-cube organizer.

7. DIY Toscana Bookshelf by Jen Wood House

This Toscana bookshelf is designed from a model that costs almost $800 brand new. This particular model only costs about $80 to build. It seems like these furniture companies make some pretty good margins. The shelves are an essential part of this build as they will give your shelf more stability. This unit can be built a bit higher and narrower if that works better for your space.

8. Arts and Crafts Bookcase from Fine Woodworking

This Arts and Crafts Bookcase from Fine Woodworking is more of a traditional design that could work for arts and crafts storage as the designer intended or for a classic-looking bookshelf. Because of the size of this unit, you might find that this would also work well in a child’s room. If this is your first woodworking project, you may have a little trouble with some of the cuts regarding the decorative pieces on this unit. Outside of that, this bookshelf is a reasonably straightforward design.

9. Henry Bookshelf by Ana White

The Henry Bookshelf is another design by Ana White. The plans and directions for this bookshelf are just as great as the other Ana White designs we have reviewed in the past. Our favorite part of this bookshelf is the decorative design on the top. It gives it a much more complete look than other shelves. Another positive about this design is the ability to customize the wood in the back of the shelf.

Another way to customize this shelf is to leave the backboards out and just have the wall color pop through. This design is not overly complicated, and you shouldn’t have any problem completing this as a first-time bookshelf project.

10. Contemporary Bookcase by Popular Woodworking

If the plans we have come up with are a little too traditional or even a bit rustic for your liking, then this Contemporary Bookcase by Popular Woodworking may be a good fit. The plans and instructions for this project are exact and offer you plenty of pictures and measurements. The problem is that the overall design of this bookcase is quite challenging to pull off.

Unless you have a decent amount of woodworking skills, we don’t recommend taking on a project like this. The good news about this bookshelf is that it is very sturdy and robust and won’t have any trouble accommodating larger and more substantial books.

11. DIY Modern Rustic Bookshelf from Rain On A Tin Roof

The inspiration for this super cool bookshelf was a $1,000 model that the designer couldn’t contemplate spending. Instead, Rain On A Tin Roof developed this plan for a DIY Modern Rustic Bookshelf. The entire project cost less than $50.

The plans to follow are straightforward, and you can tell that they were written and completed by someone new to DIY. We love the use of color on this shelf as well and think that could be carried over to a few of the other designs that we found.

12. Sawhorse Bookcase from Shanty 2 Chic

Next on our list is this Sawhorse Bookcase by Shanty 2 Chic. This particular model is such an exciting design that we felt like it had to be shared. This bookcase goes beyond functional and becomes a beautiful decorating piece in a home. We love the way this plan is laid out and the simple-to-follow pictures.

Besides the bracket used at the top to pull this all together, the basic design of this shelf is not challenging to build and could be done by a beginner-level woodworker. We love the stain they used to give this bookcase a complete and finished look that would look beautiful in any home.

13. Built In Bookcase Plan by This Old House

Now, if you want to get fancy with your woodworking, you can take on the Built-in Bookcase Plan by This Old House. The estimated costs of this project are between $200 and $500, and although that may seem high, there are a few things to consider here. First, a built-in bookcase is an improvement to a home and not just a piece of furniture. Secondly, to have a contractor come and install one of these would be thousands of dollars.

This is a detailed and easy-to-follow plan, but the concept of a built-in bookcase is designed for the more experienced woodworker. If this is your first project, you may want to opt for something a bit easier.

14. Simple Barrister Bookcase from Popular Woodworking

This Barrister Bookcase from Popular Woodworking is a classic and beautiful design that would bring essential storage to any living room or library. The Barrister Bookcase is a few bookcases stacked together. Since they are built as three individual units, you can arrange this bookcase in various ways. We love this option as you can potentially make as many units as you would like and place them around a room accordingly.

If you are new to woodworking, this design may be a little more challenging to follow as it is not so simply laid out with step-by-step pictures. If, however, you want a piece of furniture that will likely get passed down through the generations, this Barrister bookcase is a great option.

15. Small Bookcase With Moldings By This Old House

If our last selection of a complete built-in unit by This Old House was a little more than you would like to tackle, here is a free plan for a Small Bookcase With Moldings. This is a much less time-consuming project and should only cost about $70.00. We love the molding on this bookcase and feel as though it helps to make this project look like a complete design.

The red color on this shelf proves that this can be a perfect accent piece in any home décor. The This Old House plans offered for any type of building are very thorough, offer great pictures, and give precise instructions.

16. Wood Bookcase from Lees Wood Projects

This traditional-looking Wood Bookcase by Lees Wood Projects is a great DIY project to tackle with these instructions by your side. This is a very detailed step-by-step plan that will lead you to a beautiful finished project. However, before you start this project, be forewarned that you will need several tools and some woodworking skills before starting down this route. If you have the expertise and this is a good design for your home, you will love this guide.

17. Craftsman Bookcase by Family Handyman

If you are looking to build a bookcase but don’t want a solid wall of wood in your home, this open and airy Craftsman Bookcase from Family Handyman may work. This is a moderately tricky build that will take many tools to complete. However, you can easily adjust this plan to work for the wall space and the number of books you have. We love that this is a lighter design, and because of that, your costs on the wood products will be considerably less.

18. Modern Kids Bookrack by Ana White

If your motivation for building a bookshelf is for the little ones in your home, this Modern Kids Bookrack by Ana White is a great choice. We love how the bottom shelves are hung on an angle so that little readers can have a clear view of their book selection. This model is more difficult than a standard bookshelf, but the directions are very clear and easy to follow. We also love the contrasting colors on this shelf; be sure to read the entire plan for tips on the painting technique used.

19. DIY Spine Bookshelf from Shades of Blue Interiors

If you are looking for a unique design that doesn’t necessarily hold a ton of books, this DIY Spine Bookshelf is a great option. This is a straightforward build, and the most helpful advice we can give you is to try and hang the spine directly on a stud. You don’t want to have to anchor this entire unit, and since there is no base, you will need to make sure that it is well-supported. If you can find the stud hanging, this bookshelf will be a breeze.

20. Rolling Bookshelf from Cherished Bliss

This Rolling Bookshelf from Cherished Bliss is the perfect option for decorators who love rearranging furniture. We also love this idea for small spaces that must be used for multiple purposes. The diagonal bracing on the back of this shelf helps to tie the entire look together and add a bit of detail.

The overall design of the shelf is not overly complicated, but the directions to build it are not as clear as some others we have found. Mostly you can follow any open shelf design that you like and add some wheels and the x design pattern on the back to get this fantastic-looking and functional bookshelf for your home.

21. DIY Modern Bookshelf from Anikas DIY Life

Last on our list is this very modern, very easy-to-make bookshelf from Anikas DIY Life. This shelf can accommodate books and prized possessions to add a beautiful display piece to any modern home. The best thing about this bookshelf is that it takes only five steps to complete. This shelf looks much more complicated than it is, and it seems like a piece that people would pay quite a bit of money for. Luckily this is a very inexpensive design, and the bright pictures and instructions will have you complete it in no time.

Featured image credit: geralt, Pixabay

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