Bookshelf or bookcase essentially means the same thing, a storage space for books and files. If there’s one thing you need to build your own bookcase, it is these bookshelf plans.

Please take note that the package is not strictly limited to only bookcase plans, but it consists of 17 high quality bookcase plans, among all other woodworking plans.

These 17 bookshelf plans are high quality, downloadable for your immediate use. You can study the plans and begin your project according to the newbie-friendly instructions. The only step left lies in your choice of bookshelf type, among the 17 variations presented. Pick one you have in mind, which is suitable for the room being built for, and get busy!

Now, building a basic standalone bookshelf is a rather simple project. It is one of the best projects to begin with as a new woodworker, while it can also be a fun day teaching your teenage son or daughter some basics of woodworking, reading woodworking plans, and be introduced to the common woodworking tools.

Bookcases are almost a necessity in every household, and there’s a reason for it. A bookshelf does not limit to holding books only, and the stable flat surface can be used to house anything from vases to table lamps. Even when books are supposedly less fashionable nowadays as compared to e-books stored in electronic readers like Amazon Kindle, you will have some good old-fashioned books that you cannot do without.

Bookshelves are very flexible, and can be made to complement the existing furniture in your household. You can opt to build a built-in version, or a freestanding version, depending on the space available and your furniture layout. One very popular idea is to build a large horizontally stretched bookshelf, which acts as a room divider.

Choosing the type of wood to be used to build your own bookcase is hugely dependent on your budget, how you’ll use the shelves, and the material of its surrounding furniture.


Pine is a popular wood of choice as listed in most bookshelf plans due to its strength and ease of finish. However, if you plan on cutting down the costs further, you can use hardwood plywood instead, which is roughly 65% as strong as pine.

The lowest I would go is medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which is very affordable and easily painted to great effects, but with only 40% of the pine’s strength, you’ll choose this only if you have light use of your bookcases.

How the Shelves will be Used

People who have many reference books, which usually come in hardcover versions, only have solid wood to use for their bookcases.

Alternatively, if you or your teenage son plans on using the bookcase plans to build a bookcase to house many action figurines, you can almost use any wood, since the figurines don’t carry much weight.

In case you intend to paint the bookcase to a certain theme with bright colors, I’d recommend MDS for its ease of taking up whatever color is painted on it. You’d want to test the paint on a piece of sample though.

Surrounding Furniture Considerations

Well, this is a no brainer. If your room is decorated with oak’s furniture, build your bookcase with oak material.

Common Mistakes with Many Bookcase Plans and Big Tips:

One of the most common mistakes I observe when people try to build their bookcases is that they tend to overcomplicate and try to overbuild. Of course you’d want to have a unique piece of furniture and a fancy one at that, but if this is your first project, I’m of the opinion that you save the customization at a later date.

The temptation to modify is great, but if you stick to the plans, the experience will definitely be more rewarding. However, if you’re already a professional furniture maker, this should be like second nature for you.

Another common mistake I always see is their choice of finishing. Avoid using polyurethane stain because it can get messy, with drips all over the place. Other oil-based stains are not recommended as well for the same reason, and you might have a hard time cleaning yourself up. Stick to clear pine finish, if you’re building it with pine, or a regular pigment stain.

You’ll want to be neat and tidy with your bookcase project. Keep your work desk clean and always work on a level surface. Wipe off excess glue immediately from the wood surface to prevent the glue from drying off at unintended places. This is because the extra coating of dried glue will not take stains and it will create imperfections when you stain them later on.

Moving On…

Once you have your first bookshelf built perfectly in record time using the bookshelf plans recommended, you’ll feel very confident in moving on to a more challenging projects. With so many other plans to choose from in the package, you will not have shortage of ideas. In fact, too much ideas!

Many users commented that they went on to build their second, and even third bookcase because they are so easy to build, and they could do a lot more with the extra storage space, or “display space” as they put it.

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Bookshelf Plans or Bookcase Plans That Are Actually Usable was last modified: March 15th, 2017 by Edgar