This built-from-scratch book bin puts grabbing something to read in reach of even toddlers. Learn how to make your own book storage with a pretty wallpapered interior.

By Kit Selzer and Helen Milan
November 30, 2018
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Organize a playroom, reading corner, or children's bedroom with this straightforward solution for books. Made from affordable MDF, the DIY book bin designed by Helen Milan features three large compartments to accommodate picture books of various sizes. Customize it with your choice of paint, then line the interior with your favorite adhesive shelf liner or temporary wallpaper.

How to Make a Book Bin

Supplies Needed

  • ¾"x4'x8' Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
  • Table saw or portable circular saw and straightedge
  • Four clamps with at least 16" of jaw capacity
  • Wood glue (optional)
  • Cordless drill/driver
  • Countersink drill bit
  • #8x1½" flathead screws (46)
  • Wood putty
  • Spackling knife
  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush or paint roller
  • Wallpaper (optional), we used Dalmation Spot from Livettes Wallpaper
  • Four legs
  • Four leg mounting plates
Free Book Bin Building Plan

Step 1: Cut Wood

Cut all wood pieces using a table saw or portable circular saw and straightedge. A table saw works best, ensuring square pieces of uniform width and length. You'll need:

  • One ¾"x16"x36" MDF for the bottom
  • Two ¾"x9"x36" MDF for the front and back
  • Four ¾"x9"x14½" MDF for the ends and dividers

Use extra care with portable tools to ensure precise cuts. MDF is a man-made material, widely available at home centers, that will not warp or crack over time. It also sands easily and takes paint well. You could also use pine for the project for lighter-weight assembly.

Step 2: Clamp in Position

Lay the bottom board (¾"x16"x36") on a flat work surface. Stand the front, back, ends, and dividers on top of the base in their final positions. Place clamps across the width of the assembly at each end and divider to hold those pieces in place. With the clamps in position, but not fully tightened, tap the ends and dividers until they are spaced 11" apart, square to the front and back, and all adjoining edges flush. If desired, you can add wood glue to the joints before tightening the clamps so the pieces can’t move.

Step 3: Screw Together

Where each piece meets another, draw a line showing where the screws should go so they center on the edge of the adjoining piece. With a countersink drill bit, drill three equally spaced holes, each with a counterbore just deep enough to hold whatever material will hide the screw head. Drive the screws through the front and back and into the ends and dividers. Do not attach the bottom board. Be careful not to overdrive the screws; doing so could make MDF bulge.

Step 4: Attach Base

Remove the clamps. Flip the assembly over and position the bottom. Screw on the bottom.

Step 5: Fill Holes and Paint

Fill screw holes with wood putty. Let dry then sand any rough surfaces and sharp edges. Wipe away sawdust with a tack cloth. Apply two coats paint to bin and legs and let dry completely.

Step 6: Line with Wallpaper (Optional)

If desired, line the dividers with temporary wallpaper or adhesive shelf liner. You can order the pieces precut from the source listed above or cut them to size yourself. Make sure you purchase enough to cover all inside surfaces.

Step 7: Attach Legs

Screw on a leg mounting plate near each corner of the bottom, about 1" from edges. Thread a leg into each mounting plate.


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