Kentwood Bookshelf

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 03/13/2012 - 19:31
| Print this plan

How to build a rustic wood bookshelf. Free plans, shopping list, cut list and real photos to help you build your own bookshelf.

Today is Make a Beautiful Bookshelf Day.

This beautiful bookshelf ...
It's made of solid pine boards.  And it's DIY.
We have our friends from Shanty2Chic today to thank for building and sharing this beautiful bookshelf.  You can learn more about how Whitney stained and finished this bookshelf at her blog post.
So let's get building!
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

1 - 4 feet long 1x12
2 - 8 feet long 1x12
2 - 8 feet long 1x2
2 - 8 feet long 1x3
4 - 8 feet long 2x2
planking for back

Cut List

2 - 1x12 @ 60 3/4" (sides)
4 - 1x2 @ 11 1/4" (side trim)
4 - 2x2 @ 62 3/4" (legs)
4 - 2x2 @ 21 1/2" (top supports and bottom shelf trim)
4 - 1x12 @ 21 1/2" (shelves)
6 - 1x2 @ 21 1/2" (shelf trim)
6 - 1x3 @ 26" (top)
7 - 3 1/2" wide planking or 1x4s @ 60" long (back)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
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

Start by drilling 3/4" pocket holes along side edges of the sides. You may also wish to drill holes along top edge for attaching top. Then add the side trim to the outsides.

NOTE: If you don't have a pocket hole jig, you can still build this plan. You will need to carefully predrill holes and use 2 3/4" trim screws to attach legs in next step.

Step 2

Add the legs ...

Step 3

And the top supports.

Step 4

Build your bottom shelf first (see next step) and then attach to bottom.

Step 5

Step 6

And insert into the bookshelf. I recommend having fixed shelves in this project to give you something to attach the back planking to.

Step 7

Build top first with 3/4" pocket holes and attach to top.

NOTE: If you do not have a pocket hole jig, cut 3 2x2s 11 1/4" long and screw between top supports. Then use these supports to attach top planking to.

Step 8

Finally add the back. To conserve costs, try adding planking or tongue and groove to back, but you can always use 1x4s.

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.
Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.


In reply to by SherieB


Wed, 10/07/2015 - 10:41

I had the same problem when I lived abroad in Europe. The cost of lumber was more than twice as much as it is here in the United States. However, I just completed this project in the United States and it cost less than $100 for the wood, pocket screws, and finishing nails. Purchasing all of the tools required to properly complete the project (except a saw; my hardware store cut all of the wood for me for free) was nearly $100 more. However, I thought it was worth it, because I wanted to purchase all of the tools eventually anyways, and now I'll have them on hand for future projects. I'll be building an identical bookshelf this weekend so that they'll be a matching pair, and with all costs included, it'll be less than $300 for two custom solid wood bookshelves and a collection of tools.


Thu, 10/09/2014 - 19:01

I'm currently in the middle of building this bookshelf but am confused about how to specifically make the top. Could you advise with more detail? Thanks!


Fri, 10/10/2014 - 08:29

i can't wait for this weekend. i must ask, though, where did you get those new milk crates? and How much wider can you safely make this without the shelves bowing? thanks


Wed, 10/07/2015 - 10:50

I used wood glue and clamps to attach all six planks to each other to make as smooth and solid a surface as possible. After the wood glue dried, I attached the top by hammering finishing nails through the top of each of the six planks into the frame all the way around. Then I covered the nail holes with wood filler, which is probably not necessary, but I wanted them to be less noticeable. I let that dry, sanded the entire top down, cleaned it, conditioned it, then stained it. 


Mon, 04/27/2015 - 16:48

Love these and I'm to the step where you connect the top. I built the planked top with my kreg jig but not sure how to attach it? Any advice?

William Dyer

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 13:09

I have made several Kentwood Bookshelfs. I made the standard four shelf, a two shelf as a night stand. I made another two shelf but made the shelves 48 in wide. One of the two top shelf was plank like your plans for a TV stand and the other was made from a fourty inche by sixteen inche piece of wood. I used this one as livingroom book/picture stand. The solid top makes it easier for picture frames to set on.