Make a sturdy & affordable shelf yourself!

Bookshelves can run you a pretty penny, but they’re also pretty easy to make yourself! In fact, you can do most of the work with just one sheet of $40 plywood. Making a durable, sturdy plywood bookshelf isn’t had–and we’ll even tell you how to get an expensive-looking hardwood finish!

Making the Frame

When you’re buying your plywood sheet at the store, ask them to cut the sheet into four 8′ x 1′ pieces pieces. This will leave you with four rectangular pieces. Take one of those pieces, and ask that it be cut in half, with each half measuring 4′ x 1′. Two of your uncut 8′ x 1′ pieces will serve as the size of your bookshelf, while the smaller pieces you’ve just made to serve as the top and the bottom. Screw or nail them together, and you’ve got your frame!

Adding the shelves

You should have an extra 8′ x 1′ piece of plywood now. Cut this one in half, just like the last–but this time you’ll want to shave off an inch and a half from the 4′ side. This ensures your shelves will fit within the frame, taking into account the thickness of your sides. That’s all for the shelves! Situate them at whichever height you’d like, then nail or screw them in.

The Backing

To make the backing, simply buy an 8′ x 1′ rectangle of luan board, and nail into the frame.

The Hardwood Finish

For making your bookshelf look rather fancy, buy real hardwood that’s an inch and a half thick, at the same measurements as the outward surfaces of your bookshelf. Simply affix the wood to the outside of your bookshelf and stain. Make sure that the wood you choose matches the finish of your plywood!


You don’t want to risk having your heavy bookshelf and books fall! You can anchor your bookshelf by fastening its top to the wall with L-brackets, or shooting a drywall screw through the back and into a wall stud.

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