A Bookshelf For My Sister

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I recently built a bookshelf for my sister, Megan. She was moving into a new apartment and wasn’t going to have built-in shelves like her previous apartment, so she was in need of a bookshelf. I was eager to work on a new project, so I offered to build one. We looked at a few options and she decided she liked Shanty 2 Chic’s industrial cart bookcase the best. This was my personal favorite out of her options, so I was glad she picked it out.

I’m a huge fan of the Shanty 2 Chic site and have followed their tutorials before, so I was confident the directions would be clear and easy to follow. They have hundreds of free furniture and decor plans on their website, and even a new show on HGTV called Open Concept! Their plans for this project are posted here. If you are interested in DIYing any of your furniture, I highly recommend checking out their site.

I headed to Lowes to get my supplies, and I asked the guy working there cut my wood to the dimensions I would need on their saw. This saved a ton of time on my end later. We then loaded up and I transported everything home. Luckily the backseat in my Altima folds down and it all fit like a charm after a little maneuvering.


Altima to the rescue!

Once I got home I got started. I was excited to finally use my Kreg K5 Pocket Hole Jig. I had asked for this for Christmas because I came across tutorial after tutorial that recommended it for woodworking projects. At first I opened it up and stared at it for a while, wondering how the contraption worked. But after a quick read of the manual and a couple of online tutorials, I was ready to go.


My Kreg pocket hole jig, AKA my new favorite thing.

The purpose of the pocket hole jig is to attach pieces of wood together so that you cannot see the screws and create a very sturdy connection between them. It provides a template and guide for drilling holes at just the right angle. It didn’t take me long to understand why this was a must-have for any type of furniture building. The Shanty 2 Chic plans provide a diagram of where exactly to drill the pocket holes, so it was a piece of cake once I got the hang of it.


Beginning the assembly of the shelves.

I attached the pieces of each shelf together using wood glue and pocket screws. I would also take a break every once in a while and spray paint the brackets, hardware and wooden dowels that go along the back. I used the same spray paint that is in the tutorial, Rustoleum Metallic Flat Soft Iron.

Even after the shelf was assembled, the spray paint makes the wooden dowels look like metal, which is very cool. Once those were dry I worked on assembling the legs on the back of the shelf by drilling the holes for the dowels and connected them, and then connecting the shelves using more glue and pocket screws.


Lining everything up got a little tricky, but I was able to make it work. After I put the front legs on, it was officially assembled!



You may notice it’s slightly smaller than the Shanty 2 Chic bookcase. I modified it to be one shelf lower (about 20 inches), took 5 inches off the width, and used 2x10s instead of 2x12s for the shelves to take 2 inches off the depth. This was because I didn’t want it to look like it was completely taking over Megan’s living room. It is still a pretty good size piece of furniture.

Now all the was left were the finishes and the casters. My sister wanted it to be a dark finish to match her TV console, so I layered a couple of different Minwax stains on it over the next few nights and then covered it with a coat of poly. I used 4 inch rubber casters and spray painted them to match the other hardware. They were around $4 at Harbor Freight, much cheaper than anywhere else I could find them. I was worried about the spray paint coming off while we were rolling it while transporting it to her apartment, so I covered the wheels with plastic wrap until we got there.


The finished product.

I built the bookshelf in a couple of days, and then spent a little bit of time over the next 3 nights on the stain and poly and then attaching the hardware pieces that really give it that ‘industrial’ look. In total, the project cost around $110-120 for the lumber, hardware and casters. I already had the stain so that would have added to the cost. However, for a solid wood bookshelf I think it was completely worth it. And most importantly, my sister liked it!

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Barb Schultz
Barb Schultz
8 years ago

Awesome project!! Impressed by your woodworking and DIY knowledge!!

8 years ago
Reply to  Barb Schultz

Thank you so much, Barb!

8 years ago

Love Love Love!!! I’m so impressed!!! Great job! 🙂

8 years ago
Reply to  Rae

Thank you, Rae! 🙂

Jo Myers
Jo Myers
8 years ago

I saw the book shelf a week ago Saturday. You did a fantastic job!


[…] used another Shanty 2 Chic tutorial for this project, just like I did with my sister’s bookshelf. I was going for a very Restoration Hardware look and hopefully that was […]

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