Thursday, September 12

Simple Mini Bookcase

"The best building plans in life are simple. Like, super simple."

Okay, that may not be a famous quote (yet), but I do think there's something extra sweet about plans that are quick and easy to build with basic tools. But did you know...

Simple doesn't have to be boring.

So today I'm sharing plans to build mini bookcase that's super simple to build and totally cute!
Check out our complete list of free plans here.

This bookcase is the perfect little size to squeeze in just about anywhere! Try it by your favorite reading chair, try it in a kids room, tuck it into a corner or hallway, even use it as a nightstand (perfect for all you bedtime readers!). But what really makes this guy special is the sweet trim detail on the sides. That trim really makes the whole thing look so high-end, and you won't believe how easy it is!

Measure twice, cut once (seriously, though). Use glue in every step (be careful to clean up any drips). Read through all the instructions before you begin. Use 1 1/2" screws unless otherwise indicated. Pre-drill and countersink all your screws. Be safe, have fun, and let me know if you have any questions! Please note I have not built from these plans myself (you might be the first!), so double check all your measurements as you go.
Shopping List:
1  -  1x12  @  8'
1  -  1x12  @  4'
2  -  1x2  @  8'
1  -  1x2  @  6'
1  -  thin plywood half sheet or "project panel"
1 1/4" wood screws
1 1/4" finishing nails
Optional: Kreg Jig + 1 1/4" pocket hole screws
Optional Kreg Adjustable Shelf Jig and shelf pins
wood glue
sandpaper and finishing supplies

Cut List:
(A)  2  -  1x12  @  34"  (sides)
(B)  4  -  1x2  @  36"  (legs)
(C)  8  -  1x2  @  10 3/8"  (diagonal trim, ends cut at 30 degree angle)
(D)  3  -  1x12  @  13"  (shelves)
(E)  1  -  1x12  @  16"  (top)
(F)  1  -  thin plywood  @  16 x 34 3/4"  (back)

Start by attaching two legs (B) to each side board (A). The legs should sit on the face of the side board and be flush at the top and sides. The bottom of the legs will stick down 2" below the side board. Attach it with wood screws or nails. Don't forget the glue!

Add the trim boards (C). The ends of each trim board should be cut at a 30 degree angle parallel to each other (\=\). Attach the trim boards between the legs with finishing nails and glue. The top of the first trim board should be flush with the top of the leg, and the remaining trim boards should all be spaced 7" apart. Make sure that you lay the two side boards next to each other and have one set of trim pointing up to the left (as shown) and the other set with the trim pointing up to the right (opposite of what is shown).

Optional: Drill pocket holes along the top of each side board for later (on the inside of the board, not on the side with the trim).

Drill pocket holes along both sides of one shelf board (D). Use the pocket hole screws to attach it to the bottom of the bookcase. It should sit between the side boards (not under them!) and be flush at the front, back, and bottom. No Kreg Jig? Just drill through the side boards into the ends of the shelf with regular wood screws.

Use the pocket holes you made along the top of the side boards to attach the top board (E). This one should sit on top and be flush with the outside edges of the legs. No Kreg Jig? Just drill down through the top into the legs and side boards with regular wood screws.

Add the back (F). It should line up flush with all the edges. Attach it in place with glue and either nails or screws (I used nails).

Install the remaining shelves (D). You can use the adjustable shelving jig to make pin holes along both sides of the bookcase so the shelves are - you guessed it - adjustable! I did this and totally love how it turned out! It's so great to be able to customize the shelf space for odd-size items. You can even add another shelf later if you need it! You can barely see the pin holes in this picture:

If you don't have the shelf jig, you can drill through the side boards into the ends of each shelf with regular wood screws to attach them permanently. Just make sure the shelves are level!

You're almost done! To finish, fill any visible holes with wood filler then sand everything down really well. This is the most important step for a professional finish! Start with a rough sand paper, then go over everything with a medium paper, then again with a fine paper. Once it's super smooth, finish it with whatever paint or stain and sealer you like.

I built this bookcase for my sister and drew up a couple different options to get a feel for what she liked and what would work best in her space. I think this extra-wide version (with space for a tall basket of blankets) was my favorite:

If anyone is interested in building that version, let me know and I will get the plans posted!

Now let me know: where would you love a mini bookcase? And what would you use it for - are you an avid book collector or do you like to mix in decor?


  1. Hi Georgia, my name is Lauri just came across your site and love your simple ideas. Do you have a newsletter?

    1. Yes! You can sign up here:

  2. Hi, I would really like to use that for my daughterson room. I love the classic simple style.