If you have some spare time on your hands, choosing one of our DIY bookshelf free plans is a great way to stay productive and keep your hands busy. These shelves each come with straightforward material lists, tool needs, and step by step instructions. Most have clear pictures to pair with their written instruction.
Whether you need a unique over-the-toilet shelf or something large and sturdy for all your family’s knick-knacks, there is an option for you.
So, here are our favourite free bookshelf plans to build:
- Jen Woodhouse’s Toscana Bookshelf
- Shanty 2 Chic’s Kentwood Bookshelf
- Ana White’s $30 Industrial Bookshelf
- Life with Fingerprints Kids Bookshelf
- Love Create Celebrate’s House Bookshelf
- Jen Woodhouse’s Crate and Reclaimed Pallet Bookshelf
- Family Handyman’s Suspended Bookshelves
- Shanty 2 Chic’s Ladder Sawhorse Bookcase
- Rogue Engineer’s Industrial Bookcase
- Popular Woodworking’s Simple Barrister Bookcase
- Ana White’s Bathroom Ladder
01. Jen Woodhouse’s DIY Toscana Bookshelf
This bookshelf only costs around $80 to build, when very similar versions can be found in stores for $800. The rustic-sleek look of this bookcase pairs well in an entryway, as a side table in the dining room, or tucked in the living room to house family photos.
The slim 17-inch depth makes it quite versatile, and the X beams in the back give it a unique style, unlike many other half-sized bookshelves. Using just a few 2x4s and a bit of elbow grease, this stylish bookshelf can be in your home in an afternoon.
Find the full plan here: Jen Woodhouse’s Toscana Bookshelf
Essentials power tools for your woodshop: Woodworking Power Tools
02. Shanty 2 Chic’s DIY Kentwood Bookcase
Some spaces simply beg for a pair of bookshelves on either side of a fireplace, TV, or other elements in the living room. If you’re hoping to build your own bookshelves to frame a wall, check out the Kentwood Bookshelf.
This shelf stays classy with wood paneling in the back. Sitting just over 63-inches tall, 26.5-inches wide, and 15-inches deep, this bookshelf sneaks into most spaces to create a beautiful look.
To complete this project, you’ll only need 11 boards and the paneling for the back. A few cuts and some trim work later, the bookshelf will be born. The woodworking bookcase plans are clearly labeled, using colors and different angles to show you each step.
Shanty 2 Chic used a Dark Walnut shade stain to add a touch of charm to this bookshelf, making it ready for her son’s room. If you are hoping to build more than a bookshelf to match, other furniture types can be built in this style through the site.
Find the full plan here: Shanty 2 Chic’s Kentwood Bookcase
03. Ana White’s $30 DIY Industrial Bookshelf
For practicality, sometimes you need a large bookshelf with plenty of space for baskets, family pictures, toys, and even a spot for the cat. Ana White’s Industrial Bookshelves are just that – and are some of the most budget-friendly on our list.
These bookshelves feature four tall shelves as well as a top. The simple design lends itself to modern styles, but depending on the paint or stain, it can also work in a farmhouse or industrial setting.
The open design allows for users to create their own look, filling them with books or choosing to organize with baskets and boxes on all the shelves. With just a bit of wood, a few cuts, and some screws, you’ll be able to try them out in your own home in a few hours.
Find the full plan here: Ana White’s Industrial Bookshelf
04. Life with Fingerprints Kids Bookshelf
Like most things labeled ‘kid-friendly,’ baby bookshelves are quite expensive. However, they don’t have to be! Life with Fingerprints presents a bookshelf with those adorable baby books forward-facing, allowing your little to pick and choose all by themselves.
Using six dowels, a thin sheet of luan plywood, and three 1x4x6 pieces, the bookshelf comes together. The plans walk you through step by step, allowing you to have this built-in no time. Remember, it will need to be bolted to the wall if its in a kid’s room to prevent tip-overs.
Find the full plan here: Life with Fingerprints Kids Bookshelf
Projects for your kids: Free DIY Playhouse Plans For Kids To Spark Their Imagination
05. Love Create Celebrate’s House Bookshelf
Homeowners Lindi and Russell share a precious house bookshelf they made for their daughter. A practical yet petite edition to a reading nook, the house bookshelf provides space for children’s books, toys, and even a stuffed animal or two.
But, this is a great project to branch just a little out of building a square bookshelf. If you’re up for the challenge, they have truly created one of the best free DIY bookshelf.
Find the full plan here: Love Create Celebrate’s House Bookshelf
More creative projects for your kids: DIY Tree House Plans & Design Ideas for kids
06. Jen Woodhouse’s Crate and Reclaimed Pallet Bookshelf
Many bookshelves offer a sleek appearance with thin shelves and clean lines. Other times, a big, sturdy, and even chunky bookshelf is needed in a space.
The crate and reclaimed pallet bookshelf from Jen Woodhouse bring just that. It turns trash to treasure through using old pallets to give it a rustic look. If you want, you can fill the shelves with small crates for an even more farmhouse look.
You’ll learn a bit of pocket hole joinery in the plans, but don’t fret, they’re still very clear and well laid out. Jen Woodhouse sets you up for success in her detailed plans, letting you quickly finish another of the best free DIY plan we could find.
Find the full plan here: Jen Woodhouse’s Crate and Reclaimed Pallet Bookshelf
07. Family Handyman’s Suspended Bookshelves
Most of us have run out of floor space in an apartment and wished we simply had more square footage. Well, most people do. You just have to make it usable! So, in step Family Handyman’s suspended bookshelves. Hanging to the wall, these stylish shelves are insanely simple to build, although they look quite tricky.
You will only need a drill and a saw. Family Handyman walks you through each step in vivid detail. Unlike many other bookshelves on this list, though, you should pre-stain this as it is not freestanding. After that, you’ll be able to put together the shelf in an afternoon.
While it may look light and potentially weak, it is incredibly strong. Drilled into studs for support in the back, plus the cable supporting the shelves, this project can easily hold a whole set of workout weights or all your old textbooks from college.
Find the full plan here: Family Handyman’s Suspended Bookshelves
08. Shanty 2 Chic’s Ladder Sawhorse Bookcase
Half the reason why you want to build your bookcase is to make it unique and just a bit different from what you could have purchased from a store. Of course, saving a bit of money is a great reason too! This ladder bookcase does both of those and can be put together so quickly.
This bookshelf needs just three tools to be built and costs under 60 dollars. If you have some scrap wood lying around, you may only need to purchase the top brackets to help create the A-frame. Regardless, the step by step pictures from Shanty 2 Chic makes it easy to follow along as you build your own.
Find the full plan here: Shanty 2 Chic’s Ladder Sawhorse Bookcase
09. Rogue Engineer’s Industrial Bookcase
Is your living room or bar needing a stand-out piece? Consider Rogue Engineer’s stunning Industrial bookcase. Built with thick decorative trim, tongue and groove backing, black steel pipes, and an afternoon, it can be yours.
Inspired by an $1800 Pottery Barn bookshelf, you might even consider making a few of these. This shelf is 15-inches deep and quite tall, at 81-inches high. Depending on your space, you could easily make it wider or slimmer, depending on your needs.
For the ultra-classy finish seen on the website, you can use two different stains or paints to create a beautiful contrast that melds with the steel pipes. All in all, this handsome shelf is well worth the time and effort to build.
Find the full plan here: Rogue Engineer’s Industrial Bookcase
10. Popular Woodworking’s Simple Barrister Bookcase
Don’t let the name mislead you; this simple Barrister Bookcase is quite the feat to build. But, consider it a challenge well worth taking.
The beauty of a Barrister bookcase is that they are incredibly sturdy while being customizable. You can interchange each of the shelves with the others, as they are each their own unit. The included glass-front shelf in this design keep valuables safe from moisture and dust too.
This shouldn’t be your first free DIY bookshelf plan that you follow, but once you have a few woodworking skills under your belt, try it out. Popular Woodworking will walk you through every step of the way while providing extra tips and tricks to help you out.
Find the full plan here: Popular Woodworking’s Simple Barrister Bookcase
11. Ana White’s Bathroom Ladder
Bathrooms are notorious for lacking storage, so why not add a simple bathroom ladder come bookshelf above the toilet? Ana White provides a stunning, freestanding shelf on her website. A bonus to this free DIY Bookshelf plan is that you get all the leaning ladder style without having to drill into the wall.
The shelves on this design have a small rim around them, keeping your books, towels, baskets, or toiletries right in place and free from falling to the bathroom floor.
For this shelf in such a heavily used room with high moisture, Ana recommends Danish Oil. This one-step stain will seal and protect, allowing you to put your final touches on in just 15 minutes.
Find the full plan here: Ana White’s Bathroom Ladder
Don’t forger to check these DIY projects for your backyard: DIY Backyard Woodworking Projects for Beginners
Choosing the Best Free DIY Bookshelf Plan for You
Each of these incredible bookshelves can provide extra storage space for your home while bringing a sense of accomplishment. The clearly laid plans by these spectacular companies and bloggers will keep you moving forward. Make sure to follow our safety tips, and if you ever get stuck, reach out to the blog owners, and they will usually respond with some helpful tips!