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Frameless Bookshelf

Add quality, high end shelving almost anywhere with this bookshelf plan.  Can be customized to different lengths, number of bays, and heights up to 8 feet tall.

Tools Needed: Measuring Tape, Drill, Kreg Jig, Circular Saw, Mitersaw, Brad Nailer, Power Sander

Materials Needed: ShelfHelp plywood carcass, 1x4 and 1x6 supports, 1/4" plywood back, 5-1/4" baseboard moulding, 1-1/4" Kreg Screws, 1" brad nails, wood glue


Step 1: Design Your Bookshelf

Use our free online configurator to design your bookshelf.  

  • Depth: 12" depth recommended, 16" depth may be used for closets, deep baskets and bins, linens and blankets.
  • Height: Up to 96", recommend between 72"-84"
  • Length: Any length, if extra long, must be built in place or built in sections, as it will become too large and cumbersome to be moved.
  • Bays: To prevent shelves from sagging, bays should not be more than 36" wide
  • Shelf Spacing: most shelf spacing is minimum 12", middle shelves can be made adjustable.  Leave more room at the top shelf since the header and crown moulding will be installed over the top.

Order your ShelfHelp bookshelf.  Once it is delivered, assemble with two pocket holes on each end of each shelf.  The bottom and top shelves must be fixed, but middle shelves can float.  For extra tall bookshelves, consider making the middle shelf fixed.

Step 2: Bay Supports

To make the bookshelf strong and provide a backing for the crown and base mouldings, 1x boards are added.

Cut to match the width of your shelf lengths.

Attach with 3/4" pocket holes and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws on ends and top.

Step 3: Back

A back is optional if attaching to the wall.  If not attaching to the wall, the back is recommended for giving the bookshelf strength and a finished look.


1/4" plywood, beadboard, paneling, or shiplap and tongue and groove products can all be used.  Use 1" nails for 1/4" material, 1-1/4" nails for 1x material. Attach to all fixed shelves and dividers with glue.

TIP: Before laying the back on, mark with a pencil the location of the dividers and fixed shelves on the sides of the bookshelf.  Then lay the back on, and draw lines on the back between your pencil marks on the sides.


Step 4: Moulding

Crown and base moulding will give your bookshelf a finished, built-in look.

Cut the long front runs first, with ends mitered at 45 degrees.  Nail on with 1-1/4" brad nails.  Then cut the sides to fit.