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.



Wed, 10/30/2013 - 01:36

Hey Ana...not sure if I missed it but what are the measurements and size of wood used for the actual shelves?


Tue, 02/18/2014 - 19:41

Can anyone who painted this project lend some advice as to which you did first and why...paint or drill the shelf-pin holes? My concern for painting first is the possibility of maring the painted surface when drilling the holes. Conversely, I'm worried about drilling the shelf-pin holes first and then having the holes get "filled" with paint and having to take the time to clean each and every one of them out! Not sure if this is really an issue but I've never used shelf pins so I just want to make sure.

By the way...for a beginning woodworker (and advanced woodworkers I'm sure) this site is incredible! Thank you so much for the valuable tips, videos, and plans. Top notch!


Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:04

I started the large cubby bookshelf project and the shopping list calls for 3 1x12 @8 ft long. By the time I made the required cuts 2 @ 45 1/2", 1 @ 45", 1 @ 43 1/2" and 2 @ 42 3/4" for the box I had used up all 3 1x12's. Is that a typo and you're suppose to have 4 boards? Now I don't have wood for the shelves and I'm hoping I didnt do that wrong. 


Fri, 08/09/2019 - 19:09

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Wed, 11/18/2020 - 10:34

I had to go buy another 1x12 for the shelves. Perhaps the buy list should read 4-1x12's instead of 3?


Sat, 06/26/2021 - 12:26

The plan shorts you one 1X12X8. Three 1X12s will make the unit, you need an additional 1X12 to make the shelves.

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