How to Make Easy Nursery Bookshelves

My friends recently had a baby boy and before he was due we did a little bit of space planning to make sure the room functioned the best way possible when he arrived. We re-arranged the furniture and organized his clothes.

After a couple hours of sorting and taking stock of what was staying in the room we had a big pile of books. They varied in size and shape so a normal bookshelf wouldn’t allow them to all stand upright.

You could buy these from amazon or you can build some yourself. I decided with some leftover wood I had from another shelving project I had, I would make some bookshelves for them. I started out with 4 pieces of 1×8 boards about 3′ in length. I used some examples found on the web for inspiration but ultimately designed from scratch using the material I had available to me.

Materials needed
(4) 1x8x3′ Wood
Wood Glue
Tools used
Table Saw
Miter Saw
Hand Sander
Brad Nail Gun
Paintbrush – I have this set

Start by using the table saw to cut 3 of the boards in two pieces. I cut them at the 4″ mark, leaving about 3-1/4″ for the other piece. The 4″ piece will be the bottom, while the 3-1/4″ piece will act as the back. The 4th board will be used to create the bar in the front and the sides.

Next, take your last board and using the table saw again cut into strips. I cut mine at 3/4″ so they would be perfectly square. You can cut this any dimension you would like.

Then take your leftover board and cut the end pieces. I first cut them into 3-1/4″ x 4-3/4″ rectangles (based on the dimensions of my front + back) and then added an angle to them. If you make one you are happy with you can trace it over again to create the other 5. In the end you should have 6.

Once all your pieces are cut you can quickly take a sander to smooth out the edges and the surfaces of the wood. Once the piece is assembled, I’ll use the sander again to smooth out corners since this will be in a nursery but for now focus on the finish surface so the paint will go on smoothly. Now you can start assembly.

I used a Kreg Jig to create pocket holes to connect the back pieces to the bottom pieces. I drilled 4 pocket holes evenly spaced into the bottom 4″ width board. Attach the bottom and the side piece with wood screws.

Next I added the sides using wood glue and a brad nail gun. Once you have the sides on, insert the front bar and again with wood glue and a nail gun afix the font bar to the sides.

I added clamps for good measure and let the glue dry.

Once the glue was dry I removed the clamps and sanded a second time, this time focusing around the bottom corners and edges where a small human could possible bump their head. Next, I borrowed some trim paint from my friends so it would match with their existing room color and painted all sides with a brush. Since the brush strokes are slightly visible, brush parallel to the long edge of the shelf.

To hang on the wall, drill pilot holes in the back piece of wood and mount to the studs using wood screws.

This project was done at my neighborhood NextFab location! If you are a city dweller, don’t have room, or don’t have money to purchase all the tools needed for this project I highly recommend you check to see if your community has a maker space to rent equipment from! It’s a great way to see if you enjoy it before investing in a lot of equipment right away.

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Hi! I’m Kristy Pedersen. I’m renovating houses in Philadelphia and sharing the process one step at a time.

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