DIY modern bookcase

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The thing that kicked off my daughter’s bedroom refresh was this DIY modern bookcase.  The girl needed storage for all of her stuff in a bad way.  Cluttering the top of her dresser, nightstand, and desk with all of her knick-knacks and collections worked for her, but made me cringe every time I entered her room.


I knew that a bookcase was the best route.  As soon as I saw this one from CB2 I was smitten.  It was different from the everyday bookcase and had a pretty, modern look.  And, while it wasn’t an outrageously priced piece of furniture, I knew I could easily build one myself and save the extra cash.  All in, this was built for under $100.  Of course the other benefit of building this yourself is that you can customize it to whatever size and color you want!
How to do it!
  • 6 wood boards 1″x12″x4′ (I used finger jointed pine boards)
  • 1 wood boards 1″x12″x6′
  • tape measure
  • wood glue
  • screws + screw driver
  • drill for pre-drilling screw holes
  • wood filler
  • sandpaper
  • caulk
  • primer
  • paint (I used Benjamin Moore Simply White)
STEP ONE:  Set aside five of the 4ft. boards.  These will be your horizontal shelves.
STEP TWO:  Cut down the remaining 4ft. board to three 12.5″ long sections.  These will make up some of the vertical supports between the shelves.
STEP THREE:  Cut down the long 6ft. board down to five 12.5″ long sections.  These are the remaining vertical support pieces.  You should now have a total of eight 12.5″ supports.
STEP FOUR:  Sand down the edges of your cuts.
STEP FIVE:  Start attaching your pieces.  You will want an extra set of hands for this part.  Starting with a 4ft. board (your bookcase base), measure in 9″ from the outsides and mark a line with a pencil.  This is where your first vertical support pieces will be attached.  Apply wood glue and attach one of the 12.5″ support to your 4ft. board.  Have someone hold it in place while you pre-drill and then screw.    Repeat on the other side.
STEP SIX:  Add a 4ft. board on top with more wood glue, pre-drill, and screw.  Sink your screws down into the wood just enough so you can cover with wood filler for a smooth finish.
STEP SEVEN:  You’re going to be adding another set of vertical supports, but this time measure in 13″ from the outsides and mark a line with a pencil.  Attach more 12.5″ supports.  Keep repeating Steps 5-7 until you’re done!
STEP EIGHT:  Fill holes with wood filler and sand once dry.  Then, run some caulk along the seams where the vertical supports meet the shelves.  Let dry.
STEP NINE:  Prime your bookcase for paint!
STEP TEN:  Paint time!
Ok, so I have to tell you about my favorite tool to use when painting!!  I came across this Critter Paint Sprayer a couple of years back when I was painting out our office built-ins.  I was wanting a professional sprayed finish, but didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on the usual paint sprayers you see.  This paint sprayer is under $50 and is probably the best money I’ve ever spent.  For real.
Why I love it:
  • PRICE!!!  I mean come on.  Under $50 for an amazing paint gun!!
  • Sprays beautifully and quickly!  The coverage you get using a spray gun is amazing, especially since you’re not using as much paint as you would with a brush and roller.  And of course the time you save just can’t be beat.  I used it to paint Sam’s antique spindle bed black, and was blown away by how quickly I was able to get the project done.  The thought of having to have hand paint all of those spindles just sounds like a nightmare.
  • It comes with a mason jar canister which is BRILLIANT because 1) You can fill your own mason jars with paint as extras to have on hand for large painting jobs for super fast canister changes, 2) You can save unused paint in the canister by adding a mason jar lid, 3) Worst case scenario, you break the canister. You’re up and running in no time by using another mason jar (I’ve never had that happen, but it came to mind), and 4) The glass jar is easy to clean.
  • You don’t have to add paint additives to thin out the paint.  The projects I have used it with have all been regular interior latex paints and I’ve had no problems with the paint gumming up in the gun like I hear about other paint sprayers.
  • Easy to clean!  I can have this spray gun cleaned out in no time with warm water.  I’ve even accidentally left it out all night before.  The only thing I had to do was push a toothpick through the tip to dislodge the dried portion.  Still super quick.
  • The spray gun attaches to a regular 3/4-horsepower minimum compressor (if you don’t have one you can borrow from a friendly neighbor/friend, or rent from a home improvement store)
Ok, so there you have it!  A pretty, modern, simple to built bookcase that can easily grow with your child throughout the years.
Click here for Izzy’s full room tour and detailed sources.




  1. Cassie Bustamante Avatar

    i love how it turned out and offers more "compartments" instead of shelves where you need bookends. 🙂

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      You are so right about the compartments! Thank you, Cassie 🙂

  2. Rebekah@diytoolskit Avatar

    Shelley, So cute bookcase. I’m so impressed that you make this white color bookcase. As a DIY’er, I also want to make a nice bookcase. Thanks.

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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