Handbuilt Holiday week 5 and today we have a midcentury inspired modern bookshelf sized just right for kids. Ana White and I aim to provide a variety of gift build ideas for this series and today is a more practical plan with these bookshelves. We have a ton of fun projects that are geared more towards play (see them here) but we also like to mix in a few purposeful projects like these modern bookshelves.
Ana designed this bookshelf with kids in mind, it’s the perfect height for small humans with easy access to both shelves. The angled legs have plenty of support and add a modern design element.
Although not intentional these bookshelves fit perfectly under the eaves in our upstairs hallway. If you have eaves in your home and are looking for a furniture piece to fit that space definitely consider these bookshelves for a great storage solution.
I absolutely love the tilted bottom shelf that is able to store books both flat on display and also upright which increases the storage capacity.
And the top shelf is plenty deep enough to hold books, even large picture books and knick knacks too.
Ana has the plans here, be sure to read through entirely before beginning and scroll down for my tips and notes on the building process.
For the bottom shelf front apron ledge you want to make the pocket holes in the middle of that 1×4 piece. This will give you a solid connection when attaching the shelves to the legs.
Also I highly suggest painting the legs BEFORE attaching the shelves and supports. Silly me was in a rush to get this piece built so I wasn’t thinking about the finish process until after it was built.
Thank you for joining Ana and I for this Handbuilt Holiday series. We enjoy putting together gift plans we hope readers will find useful and fun to give as gifts for the holiday season. Be sure to share your builds on social media and tag us, we love seeing your projects!
I love these! I’m looking for shelving to go in the basement to house all of our books and these would look great, do you think I could alter it to make it higher? Maybe 5 shelves. Or do you think I’ll lose stability.
Thanks Steph, yes you could definitely make it higher but I would increase the depth at the base as you go up.
Thank you!! I’m a huge fan and appreciate you taking the time to answer back!
Jen Stow says
Can you show more pics of the pocket holes? Also what paint and finish did you use? Love it!! Thanks
Hi Jen, I added a pic of the bookshelves from the back which shows a lot of the pocket holes. Hopefully that should help. Also the paint is Benjamin Moore color: artichoke.
Christa Reinhart says
What a cool bookshelf. I love that the legs can be painted to match the room. I love the leaning shelf. If only I was handier I would make one. I also love the books you have on there. My daughter also likes the Land of Stories and This Isn’t What it looks like series. I’m not familiar with the 13 story treehouse books so I’ve just requested them from the library assuming if your daughter likes them mine will too. Thanks so much for sharing. What a cute and practical piece of furniture.
Thanks Christa, it was super fun and fast to build too. We both must have avid readers, my daughter loves anything fantasy and a bit quirky too. The treehouse series is wonderful, I hope she likes it. SO nice to hear from readers, thank you for leaving a nice note.
This is on my to do list. Love it!
[email protected] says
What a fun build!! Really really love it.
Thanks Ashley, super functional for my kids but with grown up style points 🙂
This is the perfect solution for my kiddos. With a deeper top shelf, this will be the little homework station we’ve been searching for. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Lindsay, we love ours tucked away under the eaves. So much book storage with added cuteness 🙂
Where do you put the picket holes on the horizontal pieces of the frame?
Hi Les, for the short horizontal pieces of the frame put the pocket holes on the underside and only in the front (where it connects to the front legs). The back gets attached using a countersunk screw through the back leg and into the short piece. I hope that helps.
Yes. Thanks. One pocket hole screw-in the underside of the horizontal piece and glue, right. Thanks for responding.
Ashley M says
Hey so I started to build this but I realized there really aren’t assembly instructions for the shelves, can you go into more detail about how you joined everything together? I’ve already made my cuts but I’m stuck here.
Hi Ashley, Are you asking about the actual shelf portion? Or how to attach the shelves to the legs? If you indicate which Step in Ana’s plans you need further detail then I can better assist.
Sarah Wong says
Hi Ashley. What kind of wood did you use for the shelf?
Hi Sarah, The shelves are pine.
Thanks for the plans, this is my first wood project! I was wondering if the legs are also made out of pine? Also, how do you attach the top shelf to the apron? I see from the picture there are 2 pocket holes on the 1×4 attaching it to the frame but is there anything that secures the front of the shelf to the apron or frame or does it just sit on the apron. Thanks for the help!
Hi Jessica, yes the legs are 2×2 select pine. The shelf is attached to the apron from the underside using pocket hole. And the shelf is attached to the frame on the underside using pocket holes at the corners. Good luck!
Hi Jaime, I am still confused. Are these pocket holes shown in the picture you have labeled as the view from the back? If not do you have a picture of these pocket holes joining the top shelf to the apron? Sorry, I am a visual learner.
Hi Jessica, where the top shelf meets the apron you only need brad nails from the top down to secure the shelf to the apron although you could make vertical pocket holes in the apron on the back side and secure the shelf that way as well.
sarah mays says
Hi, do you have the measurements and angles for the project? thanks!
Hi Sarah, the plans can be found here: https://www.ana-white.com/woodworking-projects/modern-kids-bookrack