Learn how to build a DIY bookshelf with trellis back with step-by-step tutorials and detailed plans. This is a great beginner-friendly project that can be completed on a weekend.
With two very avid little readers in our home, we always seem to be bursting at the seams with books. We keep trying to find ways to store and display them.
When they were little, I used front-facing bookshelves so they could easily see the book covers. Now, we just need a shelf that can be filled with rows of books.
So I built this. And added a little bit of character to the back… because why not?!
Let’s get building!
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- Lumber per the plans
- Edge-banding Learn How to Cover Plywood Edges for a professional finish.
- 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws
- 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
- 17/32″ staples
- 1 ¼” finish nails
- wood glue
- Primer, paint or stain in your color of choice. I used Brooklyn by Behr paint
Step 1 – Prepare the boards
- Make all the cuts per the plans and sand all the boards smooth.
The legs are made from 2×2 boards and the shelves are made of plywood plus there are 1×2 book supports.
- This is a great time to apply edge-banding to plywood to get the clean edges.
To apply edge banding, I like to use my Cricut Easy-Press Mini instead of an iron. It’s just as powerful but tiny and easy to maneuver. Once applied, I can just sand the edges to blend them in.
- Make pocket holes as needed. The plans show you exactly where the holes will be. All the 2×2 boards are 1-1/2″ thick and the holes are made with a setting of 1-1/2″. The setting for the 1×3 boards is 3/4″.
Further reading – Pocket hole basics
Step 2 – Build the sides
Attach the 2×2 aprons and the book supports to the legs using pocket hole screws and wood glue. Once again, the thicknesses are different – 2×2 boards use 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws, and the 1×3 boards using 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.
I like to use a scrap wood spacer to ensure even spacing.
The pocket holes are facing downwards so they are hidden but that can make it hard to reach in to attach. A right-angle drill adapter is a great help for this.
Step 3 – Add the shelves
Attach the long supports and the shelves to the side. The long supports are attached using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.
The nails are embedded deep into the plywood and the nail holes can be easily filled up to be hidden.
Step 4 – Complete the shelf
Attach the other leg frame by attaching the long aprons with pocket hole screws and nailing the edges of the plywood shelf to the aprons.
Step 5 – Add the top
Step 6 – Add the back
For the back, to add some character, I decided to use vinyl lattice.
Vinyl lattice is easy to cut with a circular saw. A wood lattice can be used as well but they are usually pretty rough and splintery. The vinyl lattice is pretty smooth and easy to use.
I was pretty liberal with the staples and added them at every joint to make sure that the lattice did not move at all.
Step 6 – Apply Finish
- Fill all the nail holes and any visible pocket holes using wood putty.
- You can paint it any color you like. If you used a wood lattice, you can also use stain.
Painting the vinyl lattice is pretty straightforward. I used outdoor latex primer and paint with my paint sprayer. I have used this before on my lattice planter and it has held up well for 3 years out on my patio. So, I expect it to last long indoors.
That’s the bookshelf. The trellis backing adds interest and character.
It is simple to build and took me 2 days – only because I was recording the whole thing AND it was HOT. It is certainly an easy project for the weekend.
Printable plans for the bookshelf
Click the link below to get the woodworking plans. The plans have all the dimensions plus step-by-step instructions with illustrations to help you build the bookshelf.
More DIY Shelves with Plans
Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"