4 Cubby Bookshelf or Nightstand

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About Project

How to build a cubby bookshelf. Free easy plans with diagrams, cut list, shopping list and project video.

10 Reasons Cubbies Rock

You don't need bookends.
Everything has a place.
Clutter looks like it's on display.
Removing an object means disrupting only that cubby - not the entire bookshelf.
My five year old can be organized.
They are sized just right for baskets, bins, and buckets.
Display the pretty, disguise the ugly in coordinating containers.
They tidy up any room of the home.
They make Mama happy.
Cubbies are fun to build!!!

Thank you everyone for the positive feedback on the 9 Cubby Bookshelf I posted last week. Today, I am sharing a smaller version, more suitable for perhaps under a window or as a bedside table or in a child's room. I also love how Pottery Barn Kids lined up a few of their sold-out Morgan Cubby Bookshelves to hold books and toys in. The top becomes a great tabletop for a lamp, photo frames, or even more storage.

The 4 Cubby bookshelf is smaller, so by default, is going to be easier and faster to build. The construction steps are pretty similar, so I went ahead and added the video of the 9 Cubby Bookshelf if you would like to watch.

I'd also like to add a 6 Cubby Bookshelf Plan if anyone is interested. And of course the 4 Cubby plans follow! Enjoy!

Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

2 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long
3 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
Optional 2 1/4" base moulding (5 feet)
Optional shelf pins for adjustable shelves
Use either 1 1/4" pocket holes (with Kreg Jig) or 2" countersunk screws (with countersink bit)
Jigsaw is for decorative cuts
Mitersaw is for mitered corners on decorative base moulding

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List

2 - 1x12 @ 31 1/4" (sides)
1 - 1x12 @ 28 1/2" (center divider)
1 - 1x12 @ 30 1/4" (top)
1 - 1x12 @ 28 3/4" (bottom shelf)
2 - 1x12 @ 14" (shelves)

2 - 1x2 @ 30 1/4" (top)
4 - 1x2 @ 30 1/2" (sides)
2 - 1x2 @ 27 1/4" (bottom)
1 - 1x2 @ 27" (back, center - optional)

Cutting Instructions

Mark your boards because it will be very easy to mix up boards on this one!

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Start by building your box. You can either use 3/4" pocket holes and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws or 2" countersunk screws and glue.

Step 2

Shelves can be added fixed or added with shelf pins as done in the video. The side notch outs are optional, and you can actually do this later on as well.

Step 3

Add back face frame.

Step 4

And then the front face frame. If your shelves are adjustable, do not nail to shelves.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.