Library Book Cart

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:04
| Print this plan

A rolling cart featuring a angled top book shelf perfect for keeping books in place, and a large bottom shelf perfect for baskets or bins. Sized for children.

I feel selfish posting this one.  I've got a mile long "short" list of most requested projects that I'm bound and determined to take on.  Corner cupboard, check.  Z Tower, check.  Next up, kitchen helper, farmhouse table matching bench, upholstered bed, dining banquette, stunning shelving that Beth just suggested . . . just to name a few.  And I'm quite excited to take on all these projects too!

But when Christy suggested this library cart, I HAD to have it for ME.  Yes ME.  Me as in ME ME ME!!!  I want!  Because I'm the only one in our home that cares if books are piled on the floor or not.  In my defense, I do vacuum around them, stack them, dig through them for a certain princess book that looks exactly like the other twenty three in the set.  And I do move them from room to room on a regular basis.  So yes, I wanted this Library Cart for me.

To hold Grace's books of course.

I did make some modifications from Land of Nod's version, mostly in that I used 1x12s for the box instead of 1x16s, making the shelves narrower (good for turning corners and going down halls - and my most favorite, sliding into closets), but I reasoned that most kids books are smallish, and the larger books could be displayed flat (as the Princess book is done above).  And 1x12s are cheaper, easier to cut, and more readily available.  I also increased the length because any way that I could figure, this piece had to be cut from a ten foot long 1x12.  Might as well use the whole thing up.

The mods were definitely a good choice.  The scalloped boxes came from Home Depot (by the way, thank you Home Depot for sponsoring our site and keeping plans free!  Please pay them a visit for their support) and fit perfectly on the bottom shelf.  The letters were from Joanns, I just bought one of those 100 packs of random letters for two bucks.

Here is a quick photo I took after building to check the fit of the books.  The Library Book Cart fits a TON of books!  I used the bins to hold the smaller books, placed 8 1/2" x 11" books on the bottom shelf - including all the coloring books and workbooks, and then mid sized and larger books up top.  The top shelf is perfect for Grace to sort her own books.

Dimensions shown above.


Shopping List

1 – 1×12, 10 feet long
1 – 1×2, 6 feet long
1 – 1×4, 3 feet long
1 – 1×8, 3 feet long
2″ Screws OR 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws for a Pocket Hole System
Wood filler, glue and finishing supplies

Cut List

2 – 1×12 @ 28″ (Sides)
2 – 1×12 @ 31 1/2″ (Shelves)
1 – 1×4 @ 31 1/2″ (Top Shelf Support)
2 – 1×2 @ 31 1/2″ (Bottom Shelf Trim)
1 – 1×8 @ 31 1/2″ Top Back)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1


Just build a box as you would in any other plan. Super simple. Predrill holes and use 2″ screws and glue.

Step 2


If you want, you can add handles and round the corners. The handles are actually quite useful if you want to transport the shelf (I did from the garage to the house and found them much more than just decorative). Corners are rounded 2″ down and 2″ in from the outside corners with a jigsaw.

Step 3

Bottom Shelf Trim

Add bottom shelf trim with screws from the underside and outside. Don’t forget your glue.

Step 4

Top Shelf Support

Measure and mark out the location for the top shelf support as shown in the diagram above. Predrill holes and attach the top shelf trim to the front side of the library book cart.

Step 5

Step 6

Top Shelf

Place top shelf on top of top shelf support. Mark and screw in place with 2″ screws and glue.

Step 7


A library cart has gotta have caster wheels. Mine are 1 1/2″ diameter, but a 2″ diameter would be a better choice (or even 2 1/2″) if you have carpet or floor differences.


Chrystal (not verified)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:16

LOVE this!! Its just fantastic & so are you :) i'll be adding it to my to do list!! Thanks Ana for all that you do!!

CatherineG (not verified)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 23:42

Thanks, Ana! I have children's books in anticipation of a child someday soon, and this would hold them all perfectly. BTW, I purchased four of the 20-gallon totes from Home Depot - perfect for my Christmas stuff and much better than cardboard boxes! Hope they keep supporting the site!

Jessica (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 02:43

I was loving this in the catalog last night & wishing you would make plans! I wake up this morning to plans! Thank you!!

Jessica (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 02:45

I was loving this in the catalog last night & wishing you would make plans! I woke up this morning to plans! Yay! Thank you!

orangesugar (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 03:42

When you do the upholstered bed are you going to use bed rail clips (like this I was going to try and build an upholstered bed from your chunky leg bed frame eventually, but couldn't figure out how to use the clips without them interfering with the fabric. I'd rather use the clips over screws because it would have to be disassembled and moved and reassembled.

Annie (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 03:43

I just got my Land of Nod catalogue in the mail, and wondered if the library cart was something you had drawn-up plans for. WOW! What a wonderful coincidence! This cart looks like it'll work even better! Thanks, Ana, for all the inspiration and the extra help we need to complete these awesome projects!

Britt (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:29

So excited for this! I'm a teacher and have been thinking of purchasing one, but they are way too much $, this is the perfect solution.

Amanda (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:46

As a total booklover, I LOVE this library cart! Can't wait till I can build something like this for my little one!

Shauna (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:51

Perfect for our homeschool books in our teeny tiny house! Thanks Ana - I can't wait to get started!

Pam the Goatherd (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 05:12

My children are all grown up and moving out on their own so I have plans to convert their room into a sewing/craft room which will also be our guest bedroom. This book cart will be great for storing my craft and sewing books. I'll be making the day bed/trundle bed to go in that room also. We raised three kids in a two bedroom mobile home and have learned to make the most of every inch of space. Your plans are helping me to re-do our whole house with even more efficient, space-saving furniture. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Ana!

Kim (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 06:40

I love this, but I am equally excited about the farmhouse benches that are coming! Hope they are here before the new year.....I have a naked table :)

Cherie82 (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 06:44

I can't wait to make this this weekend, (along with the dress up rack) for my baby girl's 4th birthday. She is going to love using it to cart all of her Fancy Nancy books everywhere. Thank you so much.

Raven (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 06:45

Love it! I homeschool my kids and we take out dozens of books every week. I want this! Thank you!

Melissa (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 06:54

I was just going to email you today with this idea! I am so glad that you found this plan and already have it done. I think this may be the first Ana White project I will make! Thank you. I do have an awesome side table idea that I need to get to you.

Krista (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 07:00

Ooooh, this is too cool! My kiddos would love pushing this around. And I know Kyras teacher would love this...maybe a teachers gift :)
Good for you making something for yourself, it's how we keep motivated right!?

Oh and I am uber exited to see you have a kitchen banquette on your list of plans to do!!! Woot!

Jill (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 07:57

Great project.

The size for the back of the top shelf wasn't given. Any guess what this may be?

Rebecca (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 09:21

It is exhausting the amazing things you come up with for me to add to my build list! I LOVE this. My daughter is a huge reader. This would be awesome for downstairs use and move. Love it! Thank you

shelley (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 09:28

I am so, so excited! You just made my day! I was just looking at a certain website last night and saw this and thought...."Man, I wish Anna had the plans for this on her website. This would be absolutely perfect for us." Yay!!!!! Thank you!

Samantha (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 19:15

Ohh I love love love this!!
Also, I about jumped out of my computer chair telling my husband that the Kitchen Helper is on your to do list. I've been wanting one (and I meand badly) for the last 2 years. If I buy you a coffee will that entice you to put that next on your list ;)

April K (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 20:06

This is so cute and would look great in my daughter's room! I am so very excited about the kitchen helper and can't wait to see the plans! My hubby gave me the go ahead to purchase one online for $150 this week, but I haven't wanted to part with the money! Now I will be patient just a little longer! You are awesome, Ana!

Lynn Peters (not verified)

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 01:48

I am building this for me and for my office! I think I may have to make one (or two) for the home office and for work. I love the look and it would make organizing easier in both places. I think I will use your plans for the file cabinet base to measure a box for the lower shelf. That way I can have a long hanging file box below and space for binders and books on top! You are amazing!

Angela (not verified)

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 03:49

My 3 year old wants one for the play area in the basement, one in the living room and then 3 upstairs (one for each bedroom). I said it has wheels to move it "thats sooo cool mommy" she reponded. As I type with her on my lap the list of how many she thinks we need is growing.
So we will be making one well 2 a more grown up painted on for my sewing/craft area. Would be great not to be confined by my bookshelf. I am so limited on space as it is.

Donna (not verified)

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 12:46

I am building this tomorrow! Got my list ready and heading to homedepot!
Thanks Ana, you are amazing!

JuliaSays (not verified)

Sat, 01/01/2011 - 14:34

I love this! I was just telling my husband that I was on a search for a better way to organize our kiddos' books. This is perfect!

Nan Tovar (not verified)

Sun, 01/02/2011 - 16:39

Thanks, Ana! Might be just the thing to get my daughter's books out of the various baskets they are in! Loving the price, too :)

Katterin (not verified)

Sun, 01/09/2011 - 15:50

As a new homeowner and a single mom of an almost-one-year-old (man, time flies!) baby girl, and being the type of person who jumps into new crafts/hobbies on a whim, I've been watching the site and making plans to start building soon...but this was the plan that actually got me going! My cart is sitting in the garage, wheels removed, wood filler drying so that I can put on a coat of primer after the baby goes to bed.

brckhous (not verified)

Wed, 01/26/2011 - 10:51

Ana, I LOVE those pink scallop-edge bins on the bottom shelf. Where are they from?

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 15:27

Another one of MY designs.  Yes, I designed this for the Land of Nod, along with many other items you decided to post.  I am a single father raising two young girls. I support our family as a designer. 

Yes, Anna, you are amazing.

Jenny W (not verified)

Fri, 01/04/2013 - 11:20

Thank you SO much for this easy to follow plan -- My husband made this as his first project with a new saw and it came out beautifully! I had been eyeing the pricey land of nod version for over a year so I am thrilled!!


Sat, 08/02/2014 - 09:01

I am having a hard time cutting out the handle holes. My problem is the tight curve with the jigsaw. I have cut stress cuts so that as I am going around the blade is not under pressure but I can't seem to get it well rounded. Any pointers or techniques for this?

Thanks in advance.

Free Plans Made Possible By Our Sponsors