The Favorite Bookshelf

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This is what I give you. A rough plan, one of my very first, of one of my very favorite pieces. Something about being tall and slim, but functional, with shelving at eye height, makes this particular sized bookshef an instant favorite. I've made more than a few of this design . . . but NONE of them looked like this . . . And this is what you build!

72" tall x 24" wide x 13" deep


Shopping List

3 - 1x12 Boards 8' Long
1 - 1x4 Scrap, 24" Long
5 - 1x2 Boards, 8' Long
4 - 1x3 Boards, 8' Long

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List

2 - 1x12 @ 68" (sides)
5 - 1x12 @ 22 1/2" (bottom and shelves)
1 - 1x12 @ 24" (top)
1 - 1x4 @ 24" (top header)
2 - 1x2 @ 68 1/2" (front legs)
4 - 1x3 @ 72" (side legs)
2 - 1x2 @ 72" (back legs)
4 - 1x3 @ 8 1/4" (side trim for top and bottom)
1 - 1x2 @ 21" (front bottom trim)
back, optional 1/4" plywood or mdf or other sheet goods, 72" x 24", measure and cut to fit back.
Crown pieces
4 - 1x2 @ 13" (side crown pieces, top and bottom)
1 - 1x2 @ 27" (bottom crown piece, front)
1 - 1x2 @ 28 1/2" (top crown piece, front)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander


Step 1

Box. We begin by "building the box" - as I call it. Notice how the bottom is inset and the top piece sits on top of the side pieces.

Step 2

2. Shelves. You can choose to build the shelves in, as shown above, or skip this step and put the shelves in later with shelf brackets (this makes your shelves adjustable).

Step 3

Header. Add the header piece as shown, keeping the top and side edges flush.

Step 4

Side Legs. Now add the legs as shown above. Notice how the 1x2s go on the front and back, and the 1x3s go on the sides. Keep all edges flush. Nail each piece to the main box, and also nail the 1x2s and 1x3 together.

Step 5

Step 6

Crown. Add the crown as shown above. First attatch the side pieces, then the front pieces. I like to cut my crown as I go to ensure the most accurate fit.

Finishing Instructions
Finish Used
Finishing. Fill any nail holes with wood filler and sand and finish as desired. Level the bottom legs if necessary. If you choose adjustable shelves, purchase the shelf brackets and install as desired.


Ana White (not verified)

Wed, 11/04/2009 - 22:16

Thank you so much for viewing this plan - I am so inspired by everyone's visits, and it's really nice to have a reason to organize and write down all my plans (Before they were just somewhere inside my head). I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I do.

As it seems with every plan I create, I am now inspired to go out to the shop and build it!


Thu, 03/21/2013 - 06:14

Hi Ana- I am going to try this, and haven't built anything before. Could you tell me how you would go about putting 3 of these together? I plan on making them almost to the ceiling to look built in.
Would it work to leave off the bottom, so that kids could kick their shoes underneath? So the "box" would end at the last shelf, but the sides would continue down? Thanks!

Beth in NY (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 18:00

Ok, I've built the box, and cut the shelves-more tomorrow! My question is that you seem to have a back on your shelves. Do I use Luan for this?

Ana White (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 18:04

I use beadboard, it should be either in the paneling section or the plywood section, about $20 a sheet.

Will be reworking these plans soon!

lanisanford (not verified)

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 14:17

I JUST finished building this! Not painted yet but its FREAKING GORGEOUS! And so easy, I did the whole thing alone, even bought the wood. Usually my hubs helps out when I get stuck on a project, but I finished this in just a couple hours no problem. Now I want to build 40 more! :D

Emily (not verified)

Fri, 03/11/2011 - 10:37

Thank you for posting this comment...I've been dreaming about building this for a few weeks and I just read your comment and thought "ok, if she can do it, so can I!" Off to buy the wood... :)

Molly (not verified)

Wed, 03/10/2010 - 11:11

thanks for these plans. i am making 2 for our recently converted bedroom to our homeschool room. these are exactly what I pictured in my mind.

Hollingsworth Family (not verified)

Wed, 03/10/2010 - 19:30

Thank you so much for the plans. We just finished the bookshelf including painting it. We modiefied a tad so that it sits directly on the floor (didn't want to sweep under it! =)
Blogged about the process at….
It cost us a little under $100. I was wondering if you could use MDF for the shelves, sides, top instead of the pine? I do plan on making a least one more.
I love your plans and all the work you have put into your blog. You are an amazingly talented person! Thanks for sharing that talent!

Christa (not verified)

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 10:41

I can't find the overall dimensions either. I am assuming it is 72" tall but just wanted to check.

Mardi (not verified)

Fri, 07/30/2010 - 09:54

You are amazing. I've always want to build things, but my husband has always said it's impossible. Not anymore! :) With plans AND instructions, there is no reason not to. Going to get wood tonight!

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 07/12/2011 - 11:57

Hi! I really want to start building but it seems to be more expensive than I'm expecting. I was pricing out the wood for this project and for pine at Lowes it is going to cost me over $150! Where do you get your wood to make this in less than $50?


Guest (not verified)

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 20:37

what kind of wood would u use in a bathroom ...... I want this to be a little deeper and wider to hold towels ..... we have a new house with NO linen closet in the master ..... weird HUH ? Plz suggest the best plan for me :) Love ALL of your stuff .

CMA (not verified)

Mon, 01/02/2012 - 03:56


I love the look and dimensions of the bookshelf, but now that I finished it I have found that it is wobbling like crazy! It's on carpet, and I know that can make it wobble more, but even on a hard floor it wobbles. It seems like it's something in the frame of the bookshelf itself. Is there anything I can do to fix it? I put shims underneath so it's manageable, but it certainly is not solid. Any suggestions?


Mon, 01/02/2012 - 05:34

A secure rigid back or front frame can stiffen it. If you secure the front frame, make sure that frame is rigid before it goes on the case.

Mary - Scentsy… (not verified)

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:59

I noticed that the plan gives a different result than the first picture at the top of the post. I really like the finished look of the top picture better. Did you miter the edges and have the "seams" on the outside of the bookshelf in that one? I also like that the trim doesn't overlap the inside edge of the shelf on that one. The shelves just sit back in the frame on that one.


Leyla Nisaa (not verified)

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 10:59

I'm new to this, how do you add shelves?

Emmy Soren

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 13:13

Hey there - This one says "Favorite" bookshelf.  Looks similar to the Kentwood when it's finished, but I see the build is different.  I'm looking to build my first ever bookshelf and I want it to be very sturdy.  Which one is preferred - the "favorite" or the "kentwood" design???


Wed, 10/09/2019 - 10:51

Are there more detailed plans that I’m somehow missing? I’m a beginner and need a little more guidance on how to assemble after the cuts.  Thank you!