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.


Guest (not verified)

Sat, 03/17/2012 - 12:46

I really appreciate you posting videos here and there about the projects. It really gives me the visual boost needed to accomplish jobs. I recently bought a kreg jig but have yet to use it. Seeing someone else handling one really helps me see how its done. Maybe I can attempt something when the kids go to bed tonight :) Thank you so much for your site.

Guest (not verified)

Sat, 03/17/2012 - 14:42

Great project, I'm hoping mine turns out as nice. Just a note, your cut list doesn't mention the two inside 1x12's, it looks like they are 42 3/4 long?


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 09:44

Ana, what kind of wood did you use for the 1x12 boards? In your video, you mentioned using poplar for the trim - which I'm definitely doing.

Did you use poplar for the 1x12's as well or did you use a softer wood there? I am heading to HD (either today or tomorrow) to buy wood for a tall version of this (2 cubbies wide x 4 cubbies tall). So kind of a mix of your two plans put together. :)

Pine is cheaper, so that's why I was wondering. :) The whole thing will be painted so mixing the woods won't be that big of a deal. Just curious what you used in your video.


Fri, 04/13/2012 - 14:56

If you want to hang it on the wall, there are a couple of things you can do:

1) A french cleat makes it easy to move. These are great for cabinet systems in workshops or craft rooms, because it's easy to rearrange your cabinets as your needs change.

2) You could screw through the back and into studs with very long screws. There are special cabinet screws that are designed not to pull out easily. I think I've seen them at Lowes and Home Depot, but I'm not sure.


Sun, 04/15/2012 - 11:58

Thanks for the link, I took at it and it looks like something to add to the arsenal. I assume for the second option that you're talking as if I added a back to it.

ktkadoo (not verified)

Tue, 05/22/2012 - 09:34

Is it possible to just make this without a pocket hole drill? Can you just use regular screws? I definitely can't afford to buy one right now, but we do have a regular drill.

Joyful (not verified)

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 17:44

I just wanted to let you know I use a small Kreg jig that only cost around $35' I have to use separate clamps but until I can get the mack daddy master set I will use this one.

Doris R (not verified)

Mon, 06/04/2012 - 20:44

You are so inspiring! We want to build a couple of step cubby bookcases (something like this:  the plan is to have a left and right shelfing unit with a space between to divide our loft into an office area and a sitting area.

Can you give a few pointers on how you would modify the plans to do the steps?Thanks again for your great website!!


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