Big & Beefy Bookcase
Updated: Sep 5
I love CHUNKY furniture! I like beefy legs that give the furniture some visual weight. I like the kind of furniture that will protect me from tornadoes and earthquakes.
The inspiration for the design of this bookcase came from the scrap pile of lumber in the garage, as well as my love of legs that won't buckle under pressure! Yes... that includes mine. There's nothing about my legs that would make one think I'm delicate.
I built this bookcase for the house in Gig Harbor, Washington; you know… the small one that had no storage. I had to maximize every inch.
The overall dimensions I was looking for were 48"wx30"hx21"d. You can modify that as needed to fit your space. These dimensions were what I thought would work best behind my loveseat, and not get into the walkway. The legs are made of 2x6 lumber, and I ripped down the edges to do away with the rounded ness. I think this gives the furniture a more custom look, and doesn't scream, "I was built from the scrap framing lumber pile on the garage floor." I did the same to the 2x4's that formed the skirt for the top and bottom shelves. Since a 2x6 is actually 1.5"x5.5" (don't get me started...) ripping the edges off reduces the overall dimensions to 1.5"x5". I made the front and back by drilling pocket holes into the 2x4's with my Kreg Jig*, used my favorite Titebond Original Wood Glue*, and 2 1/2" Kreg Pocket Holes Screws* to form the joints.
I used leftover 3/4" plywood for the box, including the bottom and middle shelves. You can easily make this from a full sheet of 1/2" plywood, which would help cut down on the price and weight as well.
Once I had the box assembled I added cleats for the center shelf, cut my plywood to size, and inserted. I decided against spending extra to get a jig for shelf pins... I made one once, and it worked out great. I will put that template on my mental-running-list of future blog posts. 😆 When my husband saw me use my template he bought me the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig*. Maybe it looked too primitive?? I was kinda proud of myself for saving a trip to the hardware store and $40!
I added a 2x2 to make the shelf look... )wait for it...) ...beefier, as it was only 3/4" plywood. It's important to add a cleat to the back to support the shelf as well, so the shelf won't sag over time. I went back over time and added 2x4 lumber to the side panels to make them appear more balanced with the front legs. It's completely optional, and I'll leave the trim up to your personal preference.
I finished my cabinet by staining with a medium brown-ish gel stain, and then went over that with milk paint in an off white shade. I wish I could remember the brands and exact colors for you, but time and mind are running on empty.
The one thing I am certain of is that the interior color is Waverly's Chalk Paint by Plaid, and it’s called Agave. I lighten with a 1:1 ratio agave and white, and then add about 20-30% water. I find that diluting the paint helps it flow more smoothly, and I have less sanding to do between coats. I love the Agave when it's a bit lighter. In the photo below the color looks very... brilliant. It's not. It's more like a duck egg blue. My last comment about paint: I haven't been able to find it at Walmart over the past couple of years, but I did check their website, and they are still selling it there. I let the entire thing cure over night and sealed with clear wax the following day!
If you make a bookcase of your own, I'd love to see it! Feel free to ask or comment below
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Materials: Below are links to the tools and products that I use, but you can use any brand. I encourage you to get the best tools you can WITHIN YOUR BUDGET!
- Chop Saw https://amzn.to/3AL7iPy - Table Saw https://amzn.to/3BbQO4i - Palm Sander https://amzn.to/3BeLWM5 - Drill https://amzn.to/3AFmD40 - Kreg Pocket Hole Jig https://amzn.to/3TT4Orl - Kreg Pocket Hole Screws https://amzn.to/3Bb72L1 - Wood Glue https://amzn.to/3qbXRUk Lumber needed for this project: 1 - 3/4" 4x8 Plywood 2 - 2x6x8' 4 - 2x4x8' 2 - 2x12x8