DIY Bracket Bookshelves

May 2, 2011

Hey there, hope you all had a great weekend!  We spent most of Sunday helping my parents move their things onto a moving truck, and since they’re downsizing, they graciously donated some bookcases to our Alma Project.  I’ve been scouring Craigslist for weeks without any luck, so how fortunate to score some sturdy freebies from my folks!  Now we can build that entertainment center we’ve been planning for so long.    

I also managed to squeeze in an hour to put the finishing coat of paint on a simple project I started last week.  My little girl is at that age where improving her reading ability is priority number one, so I wanted to build her something that would keep books front and center in her world.  These inexpensive bookshelves are made from basic wood brackets and dowel rods found at a home improvement store, and they cost me about $15 each. 

cg bracket bookshelves 1


If you want to replicate the project, here’s what you’ll need for each shelf:  2 basic 6” x 8” wood shelf brackets (I found these at Home Depot), ½” thick wood base cut to chosen length; 2 dowel rods; wood filler; wood screws; power screwdriver and drill bits; wood glue; primer and paint.  Decorative appliqués are optional.


supplies for bracket shelves

First, remove the hanging hardware that comes with each shelf bracket and drill a new hole for your nail with a drill bit on the opposite side of the bracket.  Rotate the hardware to the opposite side and screw it back into the wood bracket.  (Rotating the hardware allows you to hang the shelves once they’re finished.) 

bracket rotation

Next, determine the position of your dowel rods, and use a drill bit to create a hole for them.  Drill two holes in each bracket with the proper sized drill bit, being careful not to drill all the way through the bracket.  Use wood glue to secure the dowels (cut to the proper width) to the holes drilled into the brackets (not pictured).  Once the wood glue is dry and dowel rods are secure, drill small pilot holes, then use wood screws to affix the brackets to the wood base. 

drill and screw together

Use wood putty to fill any seams, and sand edges when dry.  Use wood glue to attach the decorative appliqués (optional).

sand and appliques

Prime and paint bookshelves after assembly.

bracket painted


cg bookshelf


Cost:  Brackets $2.50 each; dowel rods: $0.85 each; wood board $1.50 a foot; appliqués $5.00.  Total cost = approximately $15 each (including appliqués, not including screws, wood glue, wood filler, primer & paint). 

cg bracket bookshelves 1


I love the idea of rotating the books on the shelves to entice my girl to pick a few new books everyday.  It seems to be working . . .

cg reading corner


The best part for me is my growing girl now has a reading corner to call her own, and a place I can send her everyday to improve her skills and encourage a lifetime affection for books!  

I do have plans to say farewell the pastel pinks in this space, but a new color palette will have to wait a few more months.  These days, I’m just so happy she’s becoming such an avid reader.  smiley_thumb6



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