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Home » EASY DIY Book Rack or Shoe Rack –FREE BUILDING PLANS!

EASY DIY Book Rack or Shoe Rack –FREE BUILDING PLANS!

Shara Woodshop Diaries placing shoes in wooden shoe rack

In this post, I’m sharing how to build this simple DIY book rack that could double as a shoe, plate, or towel rack, too!

*This post is sponsored by KregTool.com. It also contains affiliate links. See policies page.

This project may be small and simple, but it packs a ton of opportunity!

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You could use this in the kitchen as cookbook rack, spice rack, or as a plate rack.

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Use it in a bathroom for toiletries or towels.

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Use it in a kid’s room for books and toys.

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Or use in an entryway as a shoe rack.

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There are so many options, but no matter what you use it for, I’m sharing how to make your own right here!

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Check out the video and plans below:

Tools & Materials:

PRINTABLE PLANS: You can grab the FREE PRINTABLE PLANS for this DIY book rack complete with plywood cutting guide on KregTool.com here.

Notes About this DIY Book Rack Project:

Overall Dimensions:

The overall dimensions of this project are 6 ½″ deep x 25″ wide x 42 ¾″ tall.

Overall dimensional diagram showing size of book rack projectOverall dimensional diagram showing size of book rack project

However, the sizing is EASILY customizable so if you need it larger or smaller, feel free to get creative to suit your own needs and space.

Base Sizing:

The base on this project is simply two legs and a piece between them mounted toward the front.

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This is because this project is designed to be mounted to the wall and the back needs to sit flush against it. So the base needs to be taller than your baseboards and inset far enough from the back edge that it doesn’t come into contact with your baseboards.

Some posts you may find helpful in the build:

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However, if you have scraps, I recommend browsing your scrap pile to see what you can use for this because most of the pieces are fairly small.

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I used my circular saw and Kreg cutting guides to cut down my plywood pieces into a back panel, two side panels, a bottom, two shelves, and three shelf fronts.

RELATED: How to cut plywood sheets using a circular saw

Book rack plywood pieces laid out on workbench labeledBook rack plywood pieces laid out on workbench labeled

I laid them out on the workbench and marked the edges that will be exposed in the finished project so I knew which edges to edge band.

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I applied iron on edge banding to all the edges that will be showing at the end and once I had all the sides that I marked covered, I gave everything a good sanding.

Step 2: Attach Book Rack Back and Sides

I assembled this project using pocket holes and screws, so I pulled out my Kreg pocket hole jig and drilled ¾” pocket holes into the ends of the little shelves and along the long edges of the back side of the back panel.

RELATED: How to use a pocket hole jig

Shara drilling pocket holes into plywood panel on Kreg 720 jigShara drilling pocket holes into plywood panel on Kreg 720 jig

I used 1 ¼” pocket hole screws to secure the back panel between the side panels making sure to place my edge banded edges in the right position.

Shara Woodshop Diaries assembling back and side panels with pocket hole screwsShara Woodshop Diaries assembling back and side panels with pocket hole screws

Step 3: Install Shelves

Then, I placed the two middle shelves in and secured these with 1 ¼” pocket hole screws. 

Shara equally spacing shelves in book rack before securingShara equally spacing shelves in book rack before securing

Before securing, I made sure these were equally spaced out and that the shelves were square to the back so the shelves wouldn’t be tilted.

Step 4: Add Bottom to Book Rack Shelf

For the bottom panel, I centered it side to side, but kept the back edge flush to the back panel and simply screwed this in using 1 ¼” wood screws from the bottom.

Shara screwing bottom panel onto book rack project on workbenchShara screwing bottom panel onto book rack project on workbench

Step 5: Add Shelf Fronts

To prevent books, shoes, plates, whatever you put in here from sliding off the shelves, I added some small pieces along the front edges of each shelf.

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I applied wood glue along the front edges of both shelves and nailed these pieces on through the front and through the side panels.

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For the bottom, since there’s no shelf to nail to, I applied wood glue on the bottom edge and glued it to the bottom panel.  I used nails through the bottom and sides to keep it in place while the glue dried.

Shara Woodshop Diaries nailing bottom shelf front ledge in placeShara Woodshop Diaries nailing bottom shelf front ledge in place

Step 6: Add Top Trim

I cut a small scrap piece to glue to the top edge here—100% just for looks.  I don’t know why, but I felt like this top section needed something here to finish it off.

Top trim piece glued and clamped onto top of shelf panelTop trim piece glued and clamped onto top of shelf panel

Step 7: Add Dowels to Shelf Tops

Then, I cut three ¾” dowels to fit right above these shelves.  I added these to give some extra height to the shelf fronts to prevent things from falling out.

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These pieces are optional and you could definitely trade these out for something else if you wanted to use 1x2s, square dowels, etc.

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This was kind of messy, but I just added some glue on the ends of each dowel and slid it in place about ¾” above the shelf fronts. 

Shara Woodshop Diaries using nail gun to secure dowel rods in bookshelfShara Woodshop Diaries using nail gun to secure dowel rods in bookshelf

I shot a nail through each side and into these ends to hold them while the glue dried, then wiped and sanded off any glue messes that occurred while putting these in.

Step 8: Assemble Shelf Rack Base

I cut some scrap 2x2s—two at 6” long and the other 21” long.  I drilled 1 ½” pocket holes into the ends of the long piece and assembled this base using wood glue and 2 ½” pocket hole screws.

Dimensional diagram of book rack baseDimensional diagram of book rack base

As a side note—theoretically, each joint should have at least two screws, but I’ve found when using 2x2s, that they’re more likely to split when driving two screws into such a small piece.

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So I’ve found that in most cases, some wood glue and one screw works well.

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Before attaching the base, I went ahead and stained it.  I used ebony stain because I wanted the base to be dark to contrast the shelf.

Step 9: Attach Base to Book Rack

Then, I secured the base to the bottom of the shelf using 2” wood screws.

Shara Woodshop Diaries using driver to secure base to bottom of shelf cabinetShara Woodshop Diaries using driver to secure base to bottom of shelf cabinet

Step 10: Secure to the Wall

This shelf rack is tall and skinny, so it has the potential to easily tip over. So it should be secured to the wall once complete. 

Plywood book shelf rack with various books inside leaning against wall next to glass vasePlywood book shelf rack with various books inside leaning against wall next to glass vase

Once you place it where you want it, I recommend using a screw to secure it to a wall stud behind it through the back panel or use another method to anchor it in place.

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And now it’s ready for books, shoes, plates, towels, whatever.

natural plywood book rack shelf with books inside leaning against wallnatural plywood book rack shelf with books inside leaning against wall

I hope you enjoyed this simple little project build and if you want the plans to build your own, you can grab them here for FREE from KregTool.com.

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Pinterest collage image showing dimensional book rack diagram up top and completed book rack at bottom with text Pinterest collage image showing dimensional book rack diagram up top and completed book rack at bottom with text

Until next time, friends, happy building!