The second book display has entered the building! After my first smaller book display (following the directions of the Joinery and Co), I knew I wanted something more grand to fit those larger-scale coffee table books. Luckily with my trusty tools, I turned that into reality using the same principles as before. The only difference being I put my math skills to the test. What I learned is that I used to be far better at math than I am now, but after a few trials and errors, I made things happen. Specifically, I made this epically large book display happen which I drool over every time I see it. It’s now displayed under our coffee table (which admittedly doesn’t photograph the best). The top of our coffee table is glass, so I’ve picked a beautiful picture of Liz Taylor’s garden to be displayed (pictured below). Then I sit in my new favourite chair that is perfectly situated to admire this gigantic book display.
Enough about how awesome my gigantic book display is – it’s time for you to learn how to make one of your own.
Tools You Need to DIY a Book Display
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- A mitre saw
- A table saw (potentially if your wood is not the correct width – 6 1/4″)
- Orbital Sander
- 3″ Hole Saw (optional)
- Drill (optional with the hole saw)
- Clamps (14+”)
Materials You Need to Build a Book Display
- Wood – 3/4″ thick, at least 6 1/4″ wide (I cut mine down to size), and 80″ long (go with 7 feet for safety) – note, if you’re getting a wider piece and ripping it in half to two 6 1/4″ pieces, you could get a 4-foot piece.
- Wood Glue
- Stain – if desired (I used Flagstone)
How to Build A Book Display
Plans adapted from the Joinery and Co
This book display is 19 3/4″ wide on the top end and 17 1/2″ wide on the bottom end. It is 8 1/4″ high and 12″ deep. The book I have on it (Architecture AD), is 10″ wide (when closed) and 13″ long and it looks great.
- Use your table saw and rip your pieces down to the right width (6 1/4″ wide)
- Once everything is the correct width, begin to make your cuts. My beautiful drawing above depicts the cuts you need to make, but here they are below so you see them in writing too:
- 2x 20″long pieces – one side cut to 90 degrees and the other to 48 degrees (if you can, my mitre saw only goes to 45 degrees – you can see it doesn’t sit perfectly flush to the ground)
- 2x 10 1/4″ long pieces – one side cut to 90 degrees and the other to 45 degrees.
- 2x 8 3/4″ long pieces – one side cut to 45 degrees and the other to 48 degrees (if you can, my mitre saw only goes to 45 degrees – you can see it doesn’t sit perfectly flush to the ground)
Please check the diagram for which direction to make your cuts. The diagram will be better to follow but just in case, the 45-degree cuts need to be made opposite on the 10 1/4″ piece and the 8 3/4″ piece. You want a piece of wood to slide between them (as that’s how you’ll assemble the book display). But the 48-degree cuts need to be made the same on the 20″ and the 10 1/4″ pieces. The 45-degree and 48-degree cuts on the 8 3/4″ pieces are opposite one another. Please just check the diagram and if you want a better drawing, go get it from the Joinery and Co’s website, but remember our measurements are different.
3. Once all of your cuts are made, lay out your pieces. You want one long piece to connect to the two smaller pieces – line up the 90-degree angles and the 48-degree angles. Check to see if you can fit a piece of wood between the gap of the 10 1/4″ piece and the 8 3/4″ piece. If it slides in perfectly, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, some adjustments need to be made.
4. Once you have everything laid out correctly, grab your wood glue and glue the pieces together. You should have two identical pieces once you’re done. Use your clamps to let the pieces dry for a few hours. Hot Tip: double check your pieces fit together properly before the glue dries. Somehow I managed to glue things on the opposite side of what I was supposed to – not sure how but I did the first time I made these book displays. Luckily I always check things and realized soon enough that I could take it apart.
5. After a few hours, when everything has dried, you can drill a pretty decorative element onto your book display (optional). McGee and Co have this on theirs, and I love the visual interest it adds. Clamp your boards onto a scrap piece of wood (with the middle hanging off the table if your hole saw is going to go right through the wood). Align the bottom part of your book display and a scrap piece of wood (so the hole saw has something to grab onto on the other side) and clamp the pieces down so they don’t go flying. Place your hole saw in the middle of the two connected boards and at the end of the board (where the board and scrap board connect), and away you go times two – get your semi-circles done.
6. Now, sand using 100 grit and then go over it again with 180 grit sandpaper. Repeat on the other side and then again with the other piece.
7. If you’re staining your book display. Stain it now. Then wait for it to dry.
8. Now it’s time to put it together and display your book on your stunning new book display.