Skip to Content

How To Build A Bookcase In A Closet

How To Build A Bookcase In A Closet

Do you know how to build a bookcase in your closet? If not, then you are missing out on some serious extra storage.

However, it turns out that building a bookshelf does not have to be that hard. It just takes a little elbow grease.

To build a bookcase in your closet, you have to find the right wood, define the size, measure and cut the pieces, layout the wood, and assemble it as you like. This procedure is great for those DIYers who want to get started with a relatively easy project.

Whether you plan to turn a closet into a media room or need an extra shelf in the home office, it is an easy weekend project that you can handle.

We will show you how you can make a sturdy and long-lasting bookcase for all your books, files, or other media.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below, and use the tips that we sorted out from our research and compiled an easy guide for you.

You will be done building your very own bookcase that will hold up over time and make you proud.

Measure the Space Available

The first step is to measure your space and determine how much space you have available. Measure the width of the closet door jamb, and subtract an inch for each shelf you want to accommodate.

For example, if your door jamb is two feet wide and you want four shelves, subtract two inches from each side of the door jamb, giving you a total of six inches that can be used for bookshelves.

Measure the length of the door jamb from top to bottom as well. Subtract an inch from this measurement for each shelf you want to accommodate.

Cut Back the Door Jambs

To build a bookcase in a closet, you must first remove the existing door jambs. You can do this by using a hammer and chisel or a reciprocating saw.

If you use a reciprocating saw, make sure that you wear eye and ear protection gear.

Use a reciprocating saw to cut off the door jamb. The best way to do this is to use two hands on the reciprocating saw.

One hand should be on the trigger, and one hand should be on the top of the blade guard so that it does not move as you cut into the wood.

You need to cut down one side of the door jamb until it reaches about 2 inches from where it meets the wall.

Use a hammer or chisel and hammer away at the wood until it breaks away from its connections with other wood pieces inside your closet.

Once this piece falls away from its connections, remove all remaining nails or screws holding this piece onto other pieces of wood inside your closet.

Book shelve

Cut the Wood for Your Bookcase Shelf Frames

Next, cut two pieces of lumber for each shelf; one for the front edge and one for the back edge. These pieces should be about 1 inch shorter than the inside width of the closet wall.

For example, if your closet walls are 10 inches wide, cut a 9-inch piece for each side’s front edge and leave 1 inch off each side’s rear edge.

After cutting all the pieces for one bookcase, check them for accuracy against each other before assembling them into a unit.

If there are any discrepancies between pieces, you will need to trim them down until they fit perfectly together without gaps or uneven surfaces at joints; then, glue or nail them together using wood glue and nails.

Add Shelves and Shelf Brackets

When building a bookcase in a closet, use shelf brackets to support the shelves.

The brackets hold the weight of the books and allow for easy removal if you want to rearrange your collection or move your furniture.

You can also adjust the height of each shelf based on how tall you want it to be.

Measure and mark off where you want each shelf bracket to go on the back of your bookcase before attaching them with screws or nails. Space them evenly apart to have enough space for two or three books per shelf bracket.

Check to see if all of your shelves are leveled before adding any weight to them by placing a level across them at eye level while standing on a ladder or stool. If they are not leveled, adjust them until they are using wood shims under one end until they are straight.

Install Bookcase Dividers

Adding dividers between the shelves of your bookcase can help organize the space better and make it easier to find what you are looking for.

These dividers come in several styles and sizes to fit almost any style of the bookshelf. Depending on how many rows of shelves you want them on, they come as single dividers or double dividers.

Prime and Paint the Bookcase as Desired

You have completed the frame and shelves, so now add some finishing touches.

Start with a good quality primer and paint in a color that matches your room.

If you have a small closet, it may be best to use a light color so that it does not look too dark.

You can choose any color you like, but make sure that it is something that will fit in with your decor.

Once you have carefully painted the bookcase, allow it to dry overnight before continuing with the project.

If you made any mistakes or missed any spots, they will be easy to see and fix before applying the finish coat of paint or stain.

If you want a simple finish, apply one coat of polyurethane varnish or polyurethane sealer.

Consider using an oil-based stain instead of paint or varnish if you prefer a more subtle look.

The wood will absorb the stain and create a beautiful finish for years.

You have completed the process of building a bookcase. All that is missing now are some good books to fill it up!

Summing Up Building a Bookcase In Your Closet

It’s not as hard as it sounds to build a bookcase in your closet. Just make sure that you measure and cut everything accordingly. If you’re finding you need help, consult a professional to assist with either the building or installation of your brand new bookcase!

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.