Henry Bookshelf

open frame bookshelf pottery barn wood
Beginner Projects
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Free plans to build wood bookshelf featuring open sides from Ana-White.com

This beautiful bookshelf acts as a frame, easily decorating a space without overwhelming it.  Made of wood, this is the perfect piece to add wood texture to your room.

This is a free step by step project plan, with diagrams, shopping and cut lists and lots of reader submitted photos.

Happy Monday!!!


I am delighted to share new, simple plans with you today!!!


My friend Whitney from Shanty2Chic needed something to fill an open space in a corner near a window, but couldn't quite find the right piece on a reasonable budget.  So Whitney asked me to create plans for a pine bookshelf with open sides, inspired by the Pottery Barn Hendrix Bookcase.


For $700 less, here's Whitney's handmade open pine bookshelf -



Gotta love DIY!!!


Here's from Whitney from Shanty2Chic:


"I am so excited to share my latest furniture build with you guys today.  I have a blank space next to my couch in my living room that I am always trying to fill.  It sits next to a window, so I always feel like I am covering the window when I put something in front of it.  I decided an open bookcase was the perfect solution because it would let in the natural light and give me the height I was wanting as well. I teamed up with my good friend Ana White to bring you this Pottery Barn inspired bookcase…. The best part?  This one cost me just under $100 even using select pine on many of my boards.  LOVE it!"


And the best part?  You can build it too!  Of course we got you covered with the free plans following.


But before plans - you know the drill (haha!) - you have to go check out Whitney's building and finishing post, and see lots more pictures! See you back here for plans!


Thanks Whitney!

XO Ana

open frame pottery barn bookshelf plans
Dimensions shown above


Shopping List
  • 4 - 2x3 @ 6 feet long (can rip 2x6s in half)
  • 3 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
  • 3 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
  • 1 - 1x12 @ 10 feet long
  • 1 - 1x12 @ 6 feet long full sheet of 1/4" plywood or paneling for back (would be super cute to use planked boards for the back too!)
  • 1-1/4" and 2-1/2" pocket hole screws
  • NOTE: If you can't find 2x3s and don't want to rip 2x6s down to 2 1/2" widths (2x3 should measure 1 1/2" x 2 1/2") you can substitute 2x4s - but you will need to take an inch off all shelf trim boards (excluding top shelf trim boards and end shelf trim boards)
  • NOTE: 1x12s can vary in width, most likely 11 1/4" wide. For the end shelf trim pieces, measure and cut to fit for the best fit.
Common Materials
Cut List
  • 4 - 2x3 @ 70 1/2" (legs)
  • 2 - 2x2 @ 36" (top shelf trim)
  • 4 - 1x2 @ 31" (front shelf trim)
  • 4 - 2x2 @ 31" (back shelf trim)
  • 5 - 1x12 @ 33" (shelves)
  • 2 - 2x2 @ width of 1x12 shelf (top end shelf trim)
  • 8 - 1x2 @ width of 1x12 shelf (end of shelf trim) back is maximum of 65-1/2" x 34-1/2" (I tend to cut backs a little bit smaller so you can't see them from the sides)
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
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

This bookshelf is basically two face frames (the front and back) with shelves in the middle. I highly recommend using a Kreg Jig for construction, just because it will hide all the screw holes, be much stronger (whick is very important on this bookshelf with open sides), and be much easier to construct - trust me, countersinking through 2x4s on edge is no.fun. at. all.

You are saving hundreds - invest in one or at least put it on your Christmas list!  You'll thank me later, I promise!

So build your front face frame as shown in diagram, keeping edges flush to back and hiding pocket holes on back side.  Try placing a piece of 3/4" stock (like a 1x2) underneath the 1x2 shelf trim to raise them up 3/4" as you attach. 

Step 2

The back frame will be much easier because all the boards are 2x thick. Set your Kreg Jig to 1-1/2" setting and drill pocket holes on each end of the shelf trim boards, and on the tops of the legs. Then assemble with 2-1/2" pocket hole screws.

Make sure the shelf trim placements match exactly the front face frame so your shelves will be square.

Step 3

Now set your Kreg Jig to the 3/4" setting and drill 3/4" pocket holes around all sides of all of the shelves. I'd do 2 per end, and then 4 per front and back side of each shelf. Then attach the shelves to the front and back face frames, as shown in diagram. Note the 1 1/2" gap at end of each shelf for the end trim pieces.

Step 4

Measure and cut your end trim pieces (as 1x12s can vary in width and you want these to be per-fecto) and attach through those pocket holes you drilled on the underside of the shelves with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

Step 5

Step 6

For finishing details, please visit Shanty2Chic.

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.



Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:36

Thanks for all your work on the plans for the site. I've benefitted greatly from these projects, especially your detailed skectchup work. Where do you find the trim hardware that you use on your projects? For instance the top corner pieces of this bookshelf. Can you direct me to a good online retailer?


Fri, 08/09/2019 - 19:11

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