DIY Collapsible Bookshelf


A collapsible bookshelf is a useful piece of furniture for college students and teachers because it is easily moved and sturdy enough for textbooks. The bookshelf can fold up into a small, relatively flat unit that slides under the bed or behind boxes in the closet. Made out of wood, the fold-up bookshelf can hold the same weight in books as a standard wooden bookshelf without worry. Create your own bookshelf to match the decor of your dorm or classroom.

Things You'll Need

  • 48-by-6-by-1-inch pine boards, 2
  • 24-by-6-by-1-inch pine boards, 4
  • 30-by-8-by-1-inch pine board
  • 48-by-26-by-1/4-inch plywood sheet
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Twelve small hinges
  • Two medium hinges
  • 1/2-inch wood screws
  • Flat L-brackets
  • Wood glue
  • 1/4-inch diameter wooden dowels, 1 inch long
  • Cordless drill
  • Philips head screwdriver bit
  • 1/4-inch boring bit
  • Router
  • 1/4-inch diameter round router bit
  • Mark four horizontal lines across the width of a 48-by-26-by-1/4-inch plywood sheet, the back of the bookshelf, with a pencil. Mark the first line along one 26-inch edge, making this the top of the bookshelf. From the top mark another line at 10 inches down, at 21 inches down and at 34 inches down.

  • Mark two 48-by-6-by-1-inch pine boards with the same horizontal lines. These boards arethe sides of the bookshelf.

  • Cut two 1/2-inch long grooves into four 24-by-6-by-1-inch pine boards, the shelves, with a 1/4-inch diameter round router bit and a router. The grooves are on the 6-inch-long side edges, 1 inch from a 24-inch-long side. These grooves hold the shelves in place while the bookshelf is standing.

  • Drill a 1/4-inch diameter hole 3/4 inch under each line drawn on the bookshelf sides 1 inch from the front of the board with a 1/4-inch boring bit and a cordless drill. Set the depth of the drill to 1/2 inch deep. Choose the front of the board with wood grain and color in mind to guarantee the bookshelf is attractive.

  • Lay the back of the bookshelf on the worktable or floor with the horizontal lines facing up. Lay the sides next to the back with the horizontal lines aligned.

  • Fold the sides onto the back, keeping the lines aligned, and connect the sides to the back with two medium hinges on each side. Use wood glue and 1/2-inch wood screws to secure the hinges to the back and sides.

  • Open the bookshelf sides and attach a shelf to each line with two small hinges. Use wood glue, a cordless drill and 1/2-inch screws to connect the shelf to the back with the hinges flush with the lines and the sides with the grooves facing down.

  • Drip a drop of wood glue into all the holes on the sides of the bookshelf and insert a 1-inch piece of 1/4-inch diameter dowel into each hole.

  • Screw a 30-by-8-by-1-inch pine board, the base, to the bottom of the back using 1/2-inch wood screws and a cordless drill. Secure the base to the back with flat L-brackets, wood glue and 1/2-inch wood screws.

  • Stand the bookshelf up, pull the sides out toward the front and set the four shelves on the dowels aligning the grooves on the bottom of each shelf.

Tips & Warnings

  • For more stability, add sliding bolt locks to the inside of the sides or replaceable dowels on the inside of the sides.
  • Close the bookshelf by pushing the shelves down and the sides and base up over the shelves.
  • Wear protective eye gear when working with wood.

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  • Shelves Cabinets & Bookcases: Editors of Fine Woodworking
  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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