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Easy DIY Modular Bookcase

Finding just the right bookcase for your space in a store just may never happen which is why we love this DIY version from Hester Van Overbeek's book, 'Furniture Hacks.' Filled with clever ideas like this and more, you'll be inspired to tackle your space once and for all, all without breaking the bank.

"This bookcase doubles up as a display case. I made it from pieces of MDF, but you can create something similar from old wooden crates or boxes. If you wish to store heavy items., use thicker wood or MDF . The boxes are stacked on top of each other, creating a large storage space which can easily be reconfigured into a different shape. To make the bookcase secure, I screwed my boxes together and anchored the finished structure to the wall. I can still move the small cubes about whenever I fancy a change," writes Van Overbeek.


  • measuring tape
  • pencil and paper
  • leftover pieces of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) or readymade boxes
  • saw
  • wood glue
  • masking tape
  • hammer
  • nails
  • wood screws
  • screwdriver
  • corner brackets
  • drill
  • wall plugs
  • paint (I used a white milk paint)
  • paintbrush


  1. Measure how long, wide, and deep you want your bookcase to be. Mine is built into an alcove and I made it 12 in (30cm) deep. Make a drawing of squares and rectangles to see what would work well in your room. If you have any large items you wish to store or display, make sure that the cubes are a suitable size. Work out how many boxes you need, or how much MDF you need to buy.
  2. Cut the MDF to shape or have this done by your local home improvement or do-it-yourself store (this will save you a lot of sawing and measuring!). It's a good idea to label the pieces at this stage to make assembling the cubes easier.
  3. To assemble the cubes, apply wood glue to the edge of your wood, place it in position, and press it down. Always double-check you are attaching the correct pieces together before you apply the glue.
  4. Apply strips of masking tape to hold the cube together, then hammer nails into the joins.
  5. When assembling larger cubes, it's helpful to position a stool or chair under the MDF to support it and keep it in place while you hammer in the nails.
  6. Make all your cubes and rectangles in this way.
  7. Stack your finished pieces on top of each other. To make the bookcase more secure, screw the big pieces together using small wood screws. Also, anchor the bookcase to the wall by screwing a couple of corner brackets to the underside of a shelf and to the wall (use wall plugs).
  8. Paint your bookcase any color you like. I chose white, as this ties in with the wall and means the bookcase doesn't dominate the room. If you want your color to stand out, use a primer first. I just gave mine two coats of white paint, allowing the first coat to dry properly before applying the second.

Tip: If you wish to make the bookcase from pre-made boxes, ask a wine merchant if they have any wine boxes for sale, or a grocery store for apple or vegetable boxes. You may have to smooth any rough edges with sandpaper before assembling the bookcase.

Available on Amazon. Excerpted from 'Furniture Hacks And Other Creative Updates For a Unique and Stylish Home' by Hester Van Overbeek. Published by Cico Books.

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