Looking for some simple DIY bookshelf projects? Here are 7 creative projects with DIY instructions ranked from easiest to most challenging.

DIY bookshelf projects

I counted the other day and guess how many bookshelves I had in this house?

Can we still be bookshelf friends if I tell you?

21 bookshelves.


That is a LOT of bookshelves.

One for almost every major holiday in the calendar year.

It’s also a lot of bookshelf decorating and bookshelf projects. That’s why I’m all about a really good bookshelf DIY. Here are 7 different DIY bookshelf projects that I’ve made to my existing bookshelves (some only take about an hour).

Let’s get started with the projects before I decide to shelve this discussion. 🙂

(ps I’m so sorry. Me, myself and I never met a corny joke we didn’t like.)

DIY bookshelf projects faux wood paper

DIY bookshelf projects faux wood back

7 DIY Bookshelf Projects You Can Make

1. Add faux wood paper to the back of the bookcase

I’m going to start with the easiest to the hardest DIY bookshelf projects.

This simple DIY will take you MINUTES.

All you need is this paper that I found at Hobby Lobby.

Here’s a hint—it’s not in the craft section.

See the DIY project and the paper that I used here.

DIY bookshelf projects painted bookshelf

DIY bookshelf projects bookshelf painted with SW Naval

2. Paint the back of the bookshelf

This took less than 30 minutes.

Why not add a bold color to the back of a bookcase?

The key is adding accessories that make the color pop. Here, the color is dark, so I added white milkglass. If I had painted it a lighter color, bright colors would make this bookshelf pop.

See the DIY project and my favorite navy blue here.

DIY bookshelf projects painted bookshelf

3. Paint it a bright color

Why not paint it a brilliant color?

This was one of my DIY bookshelf projects that I painted blue.

One of my favorite painting secrets? I just paint the hardware the same color, too. It makes it look a little more vintage.

See some of my favorite blue grays paint colors here.

And my favorite paint colors for 2020 here.

4. Tile the back of the bookshelf

Sometimes all you need for your bookshelf is a little DIY bookshelf tile project.

Especially if it’s leftover from another bigger project.

See how to tile the back of a bookshelf here.

5. Add wood to the back of the bookshelf

This was so inexpensive.

I used wood shims for this project.

They come in a package of 15 for $1.75.

You can see the entire bookshelf DIY here.

6. Make a spool bookcase

Sometimes the idea for DIY bookshelf project comes when you find a spool in the middle of the home improvement aisle.

This spool was free.

We took it and made a bookshelf from it with metal piping and casters.

See the entire spool bookshelf DIY here.

7. Make a locker out of it

I saved this one for last.

It was the hardest, but don’t tell the others–it’s my favorite.

It started life as a cubby bookshelf.

And now?

It’s a locker ready for school supplies and library books.

See how we transformed a bookcase into a locker here.


So many bookshelves.

So little time.

Next time you see a bookshelf at the thrift store or a yard sale?

Don’t just walk on by.

It’s just waiting for a world full of bookcase possibilities. 🙂

PS Denton just added this comment and I couldn’t resist: “Awww, I was hoping you’d have another joke at the bottom to bookend your post”🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for elle elle

    Link to transforming a bookcase to a locker goes to a story about stinky socks and flipping hair. Cute but not the right link.

  2. Image for Becky Becky

    Now I have a serious case of bookshelf envy... TWENTY ONE?!?! We have 10ish (I admit that most of them are huge). Do you know what would happen if I had 21 bookshelves though? 2,000 more books would enter my home. The whole thing would crash into the basement with the weight thereof. My people think shelves are for holding... books. 😁 All of my bookshelf decor has to fit in front of the books. I'm not giving any of MY books up though either, so... I just need more shelves! ...Back to my bookshelf envy... I have to try some of these! Thanks for all the ideas!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      I'm about to add another one to the closet! You can never have enough bookcases. :) Happy day! karianne

  3. Image for Jayne McLeod Jayne McLeod

    That was a corny joke .... and it was a real knee slapper too !!!! thanks for the laugh ... keep them comin' oh yes, and thank you for the DIY's and all the amazing information's' that you share with us ... YOU are a riot Alice. Enjoy an amazing day ! Jayne

  4. Image for Mary Evans Mary Evans

    Bookcases that don’t look like bookcases. My bookcases look very boring with just books. You have made them stand out and become a conversation piece. Added character to your beautiful home. Love all the ideas. How can I get an appointment with for a consultation.

  5. Image for Kris Kris

    I would refer to your spool shelf as an end table and I have the perfect place for it if you ever want to become unspooled and enter a new chapter in your life. Ha.

  6. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Boys, i have 4 two sons and two grandsons, thank goodness only two of them are like that,lol! Denton can pun all he wants to, thanks for the post, i pinned it. I never know when i might get the urge to change a bookshelf.

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