Your living room sets the tone for the rest of your home, so if yours is looking more like a tired spot in which to dump your stuff than a welcoming haven, it’s time for an update. Here’s a great project to get you started. This DIY, built-in bookcase uses flat packs and timber mouldings to create a striking focal point. It’s a cinch to make, and will smarten up your place in a flash!
Gather your supplies
Bookcase H2020 x W800 x D280mm (3)
Bookcase H2020 x W400 x D280mm (2)
70 x 45mm treated pine
1200 x 900 x 15mm plywood
32 x 6mm cover strap
90 x 19mm colonial moulding
90 x 19mm pine DAR, primed
30 x 30mm ovolo moulding
1. Material quantities and number of bookcases is determined by space available.
2. Fill nail holes with wood filler and lightly sand before painting.
- Step 1: Measure up your wall and purchase the required number of flat-pack bookcase units to suit. You don’t need an exact fit, but aim for a 16mm space between each unit and 70mm from walls, to get a similar look. Don’t fret, the gaps will be packed out later and well hidden with cover strap!
- Step 2: Unpack bookcases, setting MDF backings aside. If bookcases don’t come with backing, you can have them cut from 3mm MDF. Paint backings blue and allow to dry.
- Step 3: Assemble bookcase units, following product instructions. For added strength, it’s a good idea to glue joins as well as use the provided mechanisms. When all units are assembled, affix MDF backing panels to bookcases, using fixings provided.
- Step 4: Each bookcase need a base to sit on, to keep them level and secure. Measure distance from wall to wall, inside of skirtings, and cut lengths of 70 x 45mm treated pine to suit. Using depth of bookcases as a guide, lay lengths of treated pine in position, with 1 to sit flush with front of bookcase and 1 hard against skirting of back wall.
- Step 5: Measure and cut 15mm plywood to enclose base, allowing for overlap of skirting so it sits flush with walls on all 3 sides. Use nail gun to fix into position.
- Step 6: Position bookcases on base. The material width of verticals is 16mm, since we will be using 90 x 19mm pine DAR to enclose sides, position furthermost left and right bookcases 70mm from walls. Then evenly spread out remaining gaps, here 16mm.
- Step 7: Pack gap between 2 bookcases with timber offcuts, gluing and clamping into position. Predrill and drive in screws through existing shelf holes, to secure units to packing from each side. Repeat for each bookcase.
- Step 8: Pack the space between each end bookcase unit and wall with timber offcuts and drive a screw through existing shelf holes into packing, to hold them in place.
- Step 9: To enclose sides, cut lengths of pine DAR to suit. They need to sit 90mm shy of top of bookcases to cater for the crown. Cut out a notch at bottom to suit shape of skirting. Give each a coat of White Aquanamel. Allow to dry. Fix to packers, flush with front of the bookcases, using nail gun.
- Step 10: Measure and cut a length of colonial moulding to butt against the newly cut sides and act as a skirting. Undercoat and finish in White Aquanamel. Allow to dry. With decorative face up, fix into position using nail gun.
- Step 11: Measure and cut cover strap to enclose gaps between bookcases. The cover strap also needs to sit 90mm shy of top to cater for crown. It will sit on top of skirting at bottom. Undercoat and finish in White Aquanamel. Allow to dry and fix into position using a nail gun.
- Step 12: The crown, which adorns top of bookcase, is made up of 3 components. Begin by measuring distance from wall to wall and cut a length each of pine DAR, colonial moulding and ovolo moulding to suit measurement.
- Step 13: Put colonial moulding on work bench, decorative face up. Measure in 60mm from back edge and mark a line along length. Sit ovolo moulding flush on line, decorative face out, apply glue and affix in position using nail gun.
- Step 14: Hold pine DAR hard against ovolo moulding, perpendicular to colonial moulding. Apply glue, then affix to
ovolo moulding using nail gun. You will be left with an 11mm lip behind pine DAR and back edge of colonial moulding.
- Step 15: Undercoat crown and finish in White Aquanamel. Allow to dry.
- Step 16: Have someone help you hold the crown in position, resting the 11mm lip on top of bookcases. Press pine DAR face of crown hard against bookcase and affix into position using a nail gun.
- Step 17: Fix L-brackets to top rear edge of individual bookcase units and to wall, to hold securely in position.
You’ll also need
PVA; nail gun; power drill and drill bits; timber offcuts, for packing; Dulux Wash & Wear Low Sheen in Bowerbird Blue; Dulux Aquanamel Semi Gloss in Vivid White; MDF screws; small L-brackets (we used 5).