Build Your Own Built-in Bookshelves

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My little man will be turning six years old in less than two weeks.
 It was time to create a ‘big boy’ room
and his upcoming birthday was just the motivation I needed.
His room has been in desperate need of more storage.
I thought some built in bookshelves would be awesome…
and you know what? They were!

Just to see what it would look like, 
I placed in some empty picture frames.
I can’t wait to finish decorating this with actual pictures and pretties!
I am going to share with you the materials, process and tricks I used to build this unit.

I started with some basic unfinished cabinets from Lowe’s.
The first step was to build the kick-plate underneath the cabinets.
 I placed a 1 x 2 board in first (attached with wood glue and a few nails).
I measured, cut my 2 x 4’s, Kreg Jigged my holes and installed my plate (with glue and screws).

Next step on the cabinets was giving the sides a finished look.
Without a cover is just looks, well…unfinished and cheap.

I grabbed some 1/4″ birch plywood to fix this problem.
I attached it with some wood glue and a few nails.

So much better…

  Final step on the cabinets was to add the top.
I used 3/4″ Birch plywood attached with some wood glue and nails.

Time to move on to the bookcases.
I made these out of 3/4″ birch plywood as well.
I Kreg Jigged my side pieces first.

I placed on my top board and attached with wood glue and screws.

Bonus Tip:
 I used a spacer board on both sides to make sure my next shelf was level 
and to prevent the wood from slipping while I was drilling the screws into the wood.

After I installed all the shelves,
I placed a small 1 x 2 board on the back of the top shelf.
This will be a support for drilling into the studs upon instillation.

I set the shelf unit on top of the cabinets and secured with wood glue and screws.
I also screwed into the upper support board directly into studs for added stability.
(You might notice that I sneaked in some painting here too.
I thought it would be easier to paint the shelves before I installed them.) 

Now it was time to hide the plywood and give the shelves a clean look with trim.
I used 1 x 2 poplar wood. 

I also grabbed some molding from the garage to cover the plywood edge on top of the cabinets.

I wanted to connect the shelves so I created this ‘box’ to give them a unified look.

For the sides I used leftover 3/4″ birch plywood and the top and bottom was made with 1/2″ birch plywood. To complete the look I added molding on top and around the edges.

I have already added some door hardware and plan to do a few more
finishing touches before I am totally done with this project.

But that hasn’t stopped me from already filling these bad boys up with toys…

Can’t wait to show you the whole big boy room reveal.
I still have a few more projects to complete like
a plank wall, some roman shades, a few light fixtures and some shark art!

Yikes! When I list it all out like that it seems overwhelming! 🙂

I Love To Link To:

Skip To My Lou
Serendipity and Spice
Today’s Creative Blog 
Savvy Southern Style
The Shabby Creek Cottage  
The Shabby Nest
Tatertots and Jello 
Organize and Decorate Everything
House of Hepworths  
DIY Show Off 
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
DIY Home Sweet Home 
It’s Over Flowing
Home Stories A to Z
The Southern Institute
At The Picket Fence
Miss Mustard Seed 
Delightful Order 
Somewhat Simple


  1. Amazing! Fantastic job! I am sure your little guy will love his room when you are done. 🙂 Found you through Todays Creative Blog.

    Julie @ Being Home (fellow Coloradan and chai drinker. Try Dazbog)

  2. I can’t tell you how impressive this is – what an amazing job!!!
    Definitely your newest follower –
    Would love to have you follow back when you have the time!

  3. Wow, Laura! I have plans to do this sometime soon (probably after the holidays). You did an amazing job! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. You have some major skills going here, Laura. I’m not a tool kinda girl- I just dream up ideas and let someone else implement them! LOL I admire your talent. 🙂 Sue

  5. I would love for you to share this (or any of your other great ideas) at the link party going on now at ‘Or so she says …’ We’ve also got a fun “Favorite Things” giveaway going on right now. Hope to see you there!

  6. Did you put this right over carpet? I am looking to do similar project and would like to know more about how you did the bases.

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  9. Yeah! I have been trying to get my husband to build some built-ins. This tutorial will help get hi moving! Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. You did an amazing job – love the shelves and they will be so nice for your little guy . Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful tutorial with Share It One More Time. Cathy

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