Cubby Bookshelf - Large

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 03/13/2012 - 10:49
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How to build a cubby bookshelf with adjustable shelf. Free plans for beginners with full video project tutorial.

cube bookshelf plans

Hey there!  Are you needing extra storage in your home?  Storage that adjusts, is attractive, and has some storage space on top?  Well look no further!  I've put together plans and a project video to help you build your own cubby bookshelf on a budget.  

Take a look!



cube bookshelf plans
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

3 - 1x12 @ 8 feet long 5 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long optional moulding shelf pins

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
Cut List

BOX 2 - 1x12 @ 45 1/2" (sides)

1 - 1x12 @ 45" (top)

1 - 1x12 @ 43 1/2" (bottom)

2 1 x 12 @ 42 3/4" (middle uprights)

6 - 1x12 @ 14" (shelves)

BACK FACE FRAME 2 - 1x2 @ 44 3/4"

1 - 1x2 @ 45"

1 - 1x2 @ 42"

2 - 1x2 @ 41 1/4"

FRONT FACE FRAME 1 - 1x2 @ 45"

2 - 1x2 @ 44 3/4"

1 - 1x2 @ 42"

Optional moulding is cut to fit

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
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

Build the box. I used 3/4" pocket holes and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 2

Build back face frame first with Kreg Jig, then attach with 1 1/4" finish nails and glue.

Step 3

Now build the front face frame as you did the back face frame, and attach with pocket holes to back with 1 1/4" finish nails and glue.

Step 4

Add optional moulding if desired ...

Step 5

You can add the shelves with either pocket holes on the underside or using shelf pins.

If using pocket holes, drill two per end of each shelf (close to the outside edges) and attach with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

If using the shelf pins, drill shelf pin holes using a shelf pin jig.  Use shelf pins to set shelf in place.

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.


In reply to by Guest (not verified)

Ana White

Wed, 03/14/2012 - 10:36

Living up here in remote Alaska, all my clothes has to be ordered, and I own like maybe 10 tops I wear repeatedly ... and I tend to stick to the same colors because sending clothes back is so inconvenient :( And yes, I like purple :)

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 03/14/2012 - 13:37

I apologize, I didn't intend to sound mean. It was just an observation, in that purple must be in your top favorite colors.

It just goes to show that I visit your site often enough to make comments on your clothing.. apparently you're doing something right..

Ana. (not verified)

Wed, 03/14/2012 - 16:27

I apologize too did not mean to come off so defensive! What is up with me??? Thank you for reading and visiting!

Lol I'm actually wearing the purple top right now!

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 03/14/2012 - 19:20

Ana I find that when I use my kreg jig pocket hole thingy that the wood splits when I am attaching the screws. Am I putting the holes too close the end or am I putting the screws in too far? Thanks for you help.


Thu, 03/15/2012 - 04:38

Chances are you're over-tightening the screws. If that's a persistent problem for you, try switching to a doweling jig and use dowel tenons to attach your joints. It's a little harder than a pocket hole jig, but not a lot, and it won't split out the wood. Most hardware and home improvement stores sell doweling jigs.

If you want to go really hard core, you could learn to cut dados and rabbets to capture the uprights in the top and bottom. That takes more expensive tools, but is very strong and will look very sharp. You can cut those with a router, which is expensive, or a hand saw and a chisel or router plane. I've done both and found the hand tools easier for getting a good accurate cut. Plus, it's just fun to watch the wood roll away from the chisel.


Thu, 03/15/2012 - 07:42

My wood split on the dream dollhouse project that I made... Like you, it was normally when the holes were drilled too close to the end. I just put wood glue where it split and clamped it til it was dry. Then sanded it down before painting it. I redrilled the holes on the second floor so they were about 2 inches from the end and it made a world of difference.

Tina Garza

Thu, 03/15/2012 - 11:18

I was just about to buy the cube self from Ikea but I wasn't happy with the thought of that. I love your version so much better. I love the adjustable selves. And I can make it the exact size that I want it to be. You always come up with what I need. First I need to build a storage self in my daughters room for her books, tv, and toys. That should be really easy with this same method. BTW I love your new videos!! You are so encouraging!!

MarisolinAustin (not verified)

Thu, 03/15/2012 - 14:22

Seriously, could you be any cooler? Awesome website! Can't wait to try this!

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