Bookshelf project, before and after
Jamison Risenmay portrait

Madison Bookshelf

How to build a 3-shelf forward facing bookshelf

Jamison Rantz

Rogue Engineer

Behr Color Palette

This color is Soft Mint

Soft Mint


Take control of story time. With a few basic tools, a little know how, and some common lumber, you can build your very own children’s wall-mounted bookshelf and rid of yourself of that mountain of books. Not only is a bookshelf a great way to organize but it’s a great opportunity to add an accent color to the room!

Cutting the shelf sides on a bandsaw
Scribing the curve on a shelf rail
Bookshelf on a work table in the final stages of assembly

Bedtime stories are part of the daily routine in our house. But with our recent move, we quickly realized that the space in our daughter’s new bedroom was a bit cramped for her old bookshelf. After a month or so of picking up books piled high on the floor, we knew we needed to come up with a better solution!

We designed this bookshelf with our little one in mind. It's easy to reach, and with the books facing forward, she can pick out exactly what bedtime story she wants. (She's quite picky!) The best part about this book storage, is the slim design allows you to utilize an otherwise empty wall and save on space!

Not only is a bookshelf a great way to organize; it’s a great opportunity to add an accent color to a room.

To build this bookshelf, we started by cutting all the wood with a miter saw to the dimensions specified in the project plans. The profile at the top can be cut out with a jig saw or band saw using the supplied template. The notch at the bottom will also need to be cut out to allow the bookshelf to fit around the existing trim. I also added a curve to the bottom rail of each shelf for added detail. This can be traced using anything stiff and straight that you can find and flex to create the arc.

Then, the 1x4 frame gets glued and nailed together using 1-1/4” brad nails. Next, the baseboard trim will get cut to size on the miter saw, mitering the corners at 45 degrees. The key to cutting trim is to cut it on the longer side and check the fit. Then you can always trim it back a little more. If you cut it too short, you can’t add back the wood!

After, gluing and nailing the trim and mounting rails in place, the entire frame should get painted along with the remaining rails. When I paint furniture, I like to apply at least 2-3 thin coats, making sure to sand with a fine grit sandpaper between each one. This will give you a great even color when you are done. Make sure to allow ample time for each coat to dry before sanding and remove any dust with a tack cloth before the next application of paint. Finally, hammer the rails in place and fill the holes with wood filler. Once dry, sand the wood filler smooth and touch up with paint as required.

Painting the shelf rails with Behr Soft Mint paint
Painted bookshelf on a work table with the shelf rails attached

The Key to Cutting Trim

Make sure to cut it on the longer side then check the fit. You can always trim it back a little more but if you cut it too short, you can't add back the wood!

Visualize It

Young girl in polka dot dress taking a book from the bookshelf

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A great way to add color to a room is through a small piece of furniture.

It doesn't have to be ugly or hidden. Use it as an opportunity to add some color to a room.

The Big Reveal

Finished bookshelf filled with children’s books
Detail of the top corner of the bookshelf
Young girl sitting in a chair, reading a book

If you have children, then you know that organization needs to be a priority. But it doesn’t have to be ugly or hidden. In fact, you can use it as an opportunity to add some color to a room. This bookshelf has been great for storing books but even better for our little one to pick out her favorites!

Jamison Rantz portrait

Jamison Rantz

Jamison Rantz is a husband, father of two, and former aerospace engineer. Nowadays he is putting his design expertise to use in the DIY furniture world where he publishes extremely clear and concise furniture and décor plans on his hit new site