DIY Hanging Bookshelf for Nursery

Leah Baby, Projects Tagged Tags: , , , 0

Hanging Bookshelf

Last week I shared a DIY baby mobile I made for our travel themed nursery, but the projects did not stop there! Our next DIY project was a hanging bookshelf to store all the wonderful children’s books we received at our showers.

I love reading as much as I love traveling and wanted to have a comfy reading nook ready for our little guy when he decides to make his appearance (hopefully very soon). We actually completed this project through a 6 week woodworking class that we had the opportunity to attend. It ended up being pretty awesome as we had access to a full size workshop with every power tool imaginable for any DIY project, which made this significantly easier. However, if you don’t have access to a woodworking shop in your area, you can absolutely do this at home. You’ll just need to rent some tools from Home Depot or Lowe’s to complete it. Here I am working with one of the saws:


First of all, you’ll need the following to create your hanging bookshelf:

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  • Three 1 inch x 6 inch x 8 feet boards in wood of your preference
  • Four 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 48 inch hardwood round dowels
  • Two 1 inch x 4 inch x 8 feet boards in wood of your preference
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer or nail gun
  • Circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Band saw (optional)
  • Drill press (optional)
  • 200 grit sandpaper
  • Paint in color of choice (we used Zinsser 1-2-3 Primer in Gray which was leftover from a prior project)
  • Polyurethane finish (we used Minwax)
  • Magnetic stud finder (optional)
  • Two 43 x 16mm keyhole hanging plates with screws (we used these)
  • Two support brackets (we used these)
  • Drill or screwdriver

Steps to go from a pile of lumber to something awesome!

  1. Make the following cuts to your lumber with a circular saw:
    • Cut one 1×6 board in half to create two 4-feet long boards. These will form the vertical ends of the bookshelf.
    • Next cut the remaining two 1×6 boards into four 35 inch pieces. These will form your 4 shelves.
    • Cut the 1×4 boards into four 35 inch pieces. These will form the fronts of each shelf and prevent your books from sliding off.
    • Lastly cut each wooden dowel to 36 inches if you have access to a drill press or down to 35 inches if you will not be using a drill press.
      • Optional: If you have access to a drill press set it to cut a 1/2 inch deep and wide hole into either side of your 1×6 boards. You will need to make 8 holes total with 4 holes on each board. These holes are for the wooden round dowels to set in so you want them to be about halfway between shelves. Measure and mark where you want each hole accordingly and make sure the marks line up on each board. Make some practice cuts on wood scraps to test whether or not your dowel will fit in the hole before you make the final cuts.
      • Optional: If you have access to a band saw you have the option to make some fancy cuts at the top of your 1×6 boards to add a little pizzazz to your shelf! Simply draw any pattern you like onto what will be the tops of your two 1×6 boards and carefully cut out the pattern on the band saw. Finish up by using 200 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edges. Keep it simple if you’ve never used one of these before. We found this to be much harder than anticipated. Here you can see a close up of the pattern we created. Nothing fancy, but we were proud of it. 🙂hanging-bookshelf
  2. Assembling the shelf:
    • Measure and mark where you would like each shelf to be on your 1×6 boards.
    • Measure and mark where you want each round dowel to be if you did not use a drill press.
    • Use wood glue and finishing nails to attach both the round dowels and shelves onto one 1×6 board.
    • Place second 1×6 board on the opposite side and repeat with glue and finishing nails. Note that if you did not have a drill press to create the inserts for your round dowels, you’ll need to just attach the dowels to the surface of the board like you’re attaching the shelves.
    • Allow to dry overnight. Your project should now resemble a bookshelf!
  3. Paint & Finish: Apply 1-2 coats of your paint of choice and allow to dry for the recommended time. Apply finish per instructions on can and sand and repeat as needed to create the level of shine your prefer. We just applied one as we did not want a super shiny finish.
  4. Placing on wall:
    • Use magnetic stud finder to locate the studs in the wall you wish to hang your bookshelf and mark each side with a pencil to ensure the bookshelf can be attached from each side to a stud. You don’t have to use this tool to find the studs as you can also just knock on the wall and listen for where the studs are placed. We found the stud finder made the job easier and we were sure we were hanging the shelf on the most sturdy portions of the wall (a must for a baby’s room).
    • Measure and mark on the wall where you want your keyhole hooks to go. We put two on top. Screw in your keyhole hooks to the wall. Then insert the keyhole screws into the bookshelf to meet the keyhole hooks. Hook the shelf onto the wall.
    • Lastly attach the support brackets to the bottom of either side of the shelf and then screw into the wall. Test the sturdiness by placing pressure on the bookshelf in multiple ways to ensure it does not budge.

Here is the finished product!hanging-bookshelf


This ended up being our favorite part of the nursery. I am positive we will be using this cozy setup for many years to come with our little one and hope you’ll be able to do the same. This is a much more involved project than I normally post and we benefited greatly from the tools and help we received in our class. However, you can absolutely simplify this as much as you need in order to create a less complicated yet just as functional result at home. Please comment below on your experience with this project and include pics of the finished product!

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