Surprise Side Project: DIY Bookcase

Brown, 3-shelf DIY bookcase

My DIY Bookcase

I made that. Granted, it’s not exactly beautiful. Or totally even. And I didn’t sand it enough, so the stain looks patchy in places. But still, with a little bit of research, help and guidance (and a handful of Home Depot products), I built that thing.

And I’m silly proud of it. 

I’ve arranged the books and decorative jars around on it at least four times.


I built it because I have so many books and they deserve a nice place to rest. Because I like the rustic look and I’d had a single unfinished crate on the floor, holding books for a while. Because I needed something to distract me from the heat and humidity.

And, because I loved shop class when I was in middle school (I was so proud of the buffed, painted and shellacked wooden key holder I made that I could probably still describe it to you in near-perfect detail). Best of all, I had fun.

So, I figured…why not build my own bookcase out of relatively inexpensive materials, following straightforward instructions I couldn’t screw up too much?

Empty DIY Bookcase

About 15 months ago, I started this website (and this blog) as a side project. I believed in side projects then, and I believe in side projects now. I believe in doing things other than writing, both as a way to refresh my brain for better writing (hopefully) and as a break from the thing that occupies so much of my mental energy (writing occupies my mental energy whether I’m actively doing it, thinking about doing it, making excuses for why I’m not doing it or something else entirely).

This was an unplanned project that took up about 5-6 hours of my time over 2 days (staining took up the bulk of it), which isn’t bad. It made me feel really excited and focused and happy, throughout the whole process. And every time I walk into that room, seeing it makes me smile.

I’ll take it.


  4 comments for “Surprise Side Project: DIY Bookcase

  1. Chris
    June 23, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    That looks great, Cornelia! Now I want to make one … Where did you get your crates?

    • Cornelia_LO
      June 23, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Thanks! I got everything at Home Depot. I would recommend stacking the crates and ensuring they’re about the same width, since mine ended up about half an inch off from each other (wasn’t the worst thing).

  2. June 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

    I definitely need to try this! We need a bookcase desperately =(

    • Cornelia_LO
      June 24, 2015 at 10:48 am


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