This DIY built in bookshelves completely transformed our space. This room has been the slowest to come together and as a result is now probably my favorite space in our whole house.

This project isn’t as cut and dry, directions wise. And also varies depending on how big or small your bookcase / built-in is. So I’ll share as many details as I can think of here.

How to make a built in bookshelf

Figure out the basic measurements for the build. Depth, length, and height. And then you can draw out your design on paper OR use something like Shapr3D to model it.

Taking measurements

Make all of your cuts with a circular saw and straight edge (or you can use a track saw or table saw). We actually used a combination of all three of these for various reasons.

Making your cuts

For iron on edge banding, you just cut the edge banding down, attach it with the hat of an iron, press it down with a hard flat surface, and trim off the excess with a special trimming tool.

Edge Banding

We used pocket holes for any shelves that had backs on them and then just screwed up from the bottom anywhere pocket holes wouldn’t work.


There are a lot of triangle / carpenter squares and levels involved in this process. And plenty of tweaking. Reference your drawing or Shapr3D model often through the assembly process.

We added adjustable feet to the bottom of the bookshelf and the cabinet area. And then, we just covered it with a long white oak toe kick, which made out of the scrap pieces of white oak ply.

Adding feet + toe kick

Swipe up for full tutorial!