For some people, filling up a bookshelf is a sign they need to get rid of some books. But for a true bibliophile, a full bookshelf just means that you need more bookshelves! If your budget is tight, or if you just want something unique, consider making your own bookshelf from recycled or found materials! It’s a great way to be environmentally conscious while adding something totally unique to your home decor.
At the most basic level, a bookshelf is really a very simple project. Each bookshelf needs a level platform for shelving the books and some sort of spacer to place between the shelves. The “redneck” solution is to use concrete cinder blocks as a spacer and a simple sheet of plywood for the shelf. This is a very simple and effective way to use found or salvaged items to make a bookshelf, but it can be “prettied up” with a simple coat of paint. In order to make it a little more stable, you can use epoxy to hold it together.Advertisement:
If you have some old computers, you’ll usually find a rectangular piece of steel used on the outside of the case. These can be used as shelves, as long as the side facing the user is dulled, covered, or sealed. These unfinished edges can cause dangerous cuts. A bead of caulk or epoxy on the outer edge can provide a safer finish, and these can be spray-painted to customize them.
Cardboard boxes make wonderful book boxes for children and playroom areas. Since the books are tossed into a box rather than shelved, it’s easy for young children to pick up after they’re done reading. Diaper boxes often work well for this, and they can be covered in wrapping paper, scrap wallpaper, or Contact paper to make them fun. They’re not all that sturdy, but considering the cost (almost free!), they make a great addition to a child’s bedroom.
Wooden or plastic crates can be used as-is for a book box, and wooden crates often have a beautiful rustic finish that complements adult decor. The crates can be turned onto one side and used together as a bookshelf, making it easy to store magazines or materials by subject. If you place one on each side with any type of board above and below them, you can create a functional bookcase that allows you to make use of the extra space within the crates.
For the Truly Dedicated Bibliophiles…
For those who are truly dedicated to collecting and enjoying books, consider building wall-mounted shelves rather than purchasing a new bookshelf. Wall-mounted shelves can be added to a wall a couple of feet below the ceiling, allowing you to make full use of wasted space above your head. Simple wall-mounted shelf brackets can be found at any home improvements store, and you can use wood, metal, glass, or Plexiglass to form the shelves. The biggest challenge in storing books overhead is the weight, so make sure to use plenty of brackets and appropriate wall anchors for your bookshelf; check with your contractor or home improvements store to find the right supplies.
The only challenge with using a wall-mounted shelf rather than a self-contained unit is that it requires the use of bookends, but you can customize your bookshelf to suit your unique design tastes by choosing or finding bookends that meet with your designing needs.Advertisement: