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DIY Kids Bookshelf with Toy Storage

This DIY kids bookshelf does double duty! It features storage for both toys and books, and it's easy to make with plywood. Get the woodworking plans and start building!

DIY kids bookshelf with toy storage

My son loves to curl up in bed at night with a flashlight and read (sometimes WAY past his bedtime!) He has a long row of bookcases along one wall of his room, but somehow all the books end up dumped into these two rolling plastic bins instead.

blue rolling plastic bins overflowing with books under window in kids room

I wanted to give him a spot close to the bed for his favorite books, as well as some toy storage. His stuffed animal zoo is overflowing, and he barely has room to sleep with his fuzzy friends all over the bed!

DIY stuffed animal zoo

This bookcase is perfect under a window, and fits a surprising number of toys! You can find more DIY toy storage ideas for small spaces here!

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Materials Needed for DIY Kids Bookshelf

Don't forget your safety gear when woodworking! Here are my recommendations for safety glasses and ear protection. No excuses!

How to Make a DIY Kids Bookshelf

Download the Woodworking Plans

Before you begin, download the woodworking plans by clicking the button below. It gives you all the dimensions you need, plus a handy plywood cut diagram, in a printable PDF!

woodworking plans for kids bookshelf with toy storage

Cut the Plywood Pieces

This project takes about 2/3 of a sheet of plywood. I usually have a full sheet cut down into slightly oversized strips that I can fit into my car, then cut it down to the final size at home. The cut diagram in the plans shows you the best configuration with the least amount of waste.

The angled sides are the only tricky bit. Once you have the rectangular side pieces cut out, lay them on the workbench with the short edge facing you.

Measure up from the bottom right corner and over from the top left corner according to the plans. Use a straight edge to connect those two points and draw a line.

measure and mark the angled side of the DIY bookshelf according to the plans

Use double sided tape to stick the two side pieces together. This prevents them from shifting when you cut them both at the same time, so you end up with identical sides.

applying double stick tape to bookshelf sides before cutting the angle

I used a track saw to cut off the corner, but you could use a circular saw and this DIY jig to do the same thing.

Festool track saw cutting off angled side of DIY kids bookshelf

Drill Pocket Holes

Drill pocket holes in the back, bottom and middle shelf pieces according to the plans.

woodworking plans for kids bookshelf with toy storage
drilling pocket holes in 3/4" plywood

Apply Edge Banding

A few plywood edges will be exposed at the end of the build. You can cover them up with edge banding, or hide them with wood filler later on. I usually prefer edge banding because it's quick and easy, and WAY less messy! You can read my tutorial on how to apply edge banding to plywood here.

Just cut a strip slightly longer than you need, then iron it on!

ironing on edge banding on plywood

Once the surface is cool, snap off the ends and sand them smooth. You can also use a utility knife for this step.

snapping edge banding over the corner of the plywood

Then use an edge banding trimmer to cut off the excess on the sides.

trimming edge banding with trimmer

The angled edges of the sides are a little tricky, since it doesn't end at a right angle. Cut the end of the banding straight across first, then use the front piece to figure out exactly where it should start.

testing fit of front piece of bookshelf after applying edge banding

You can usually move the banding a bit once it's warmed up with the iron if you don't get the placement just right. The front piece should sit flush against the straight part of the sides.

front piece of kids bookshelf flush under edge banding of side piece

Attach sides to back

Apply wood glue to the edges of the back piece, then screw the sides to the back with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.

attaching the back of the DIY kids bookshelf to the sides with pocket hole screws

I love using these corner clamps to make sure that all the edges are lined up and square before I screw everything into place.

Attach Bottom and front pieces

Lay the bookshelf flat on its back, and dry fit the bottom. It should slide into place without bowing out the sides.

woodworking plans for kids bookshelf with toy storage

Then apply wood glue along three edges and screw it into place with pocket hole screws.

attaching the bottom of the DIY kids bookshelf to the sides and back with pocket hole screws

Apply wood glue to the front edge, and align the front piece with the bottom and sides. I prefer to use a nail gun to hold the ends in place first so it doesn't shift while you screw it in. You can also use countersink screws if you don't have a brad nailer.

attaching front to DIY kids bookshelf with pocket hole screws

Attach the Shelves

Dry fit the middle shelf the same way as the bottom. The top edge of the shelf should meet the front edge of the side pieces, but the bottom of the shelf will be set back slightly. Make sure both sides are at the same height, and use a square to make sure they're even and straight.

Align the middle shelf and check for square.

Then screw the middle shelf to the sides and back with pocket hole screws. Check for square as you go, in case it shifts.

Attach the shelf of the DIY kids bookshelf to the back and sides with pocket hole screws.

Flip the bookcase so it's standing upright. Then apply wood glue to the top edge. Align the top shelf with the sides and back, then nail it into place. There are pocket holes on the back to attach the top as well.

Attach the top of the bookshelf to the sides and back with a nail gun and pocket hole screws.

Fill Holes and Gaps

Fill any nail holes with wood filler, then sand smooth when dry. If you're painting your bookshelf, I recommend using caulk to close up the seams between the boards for a flawless finish. Get my tips for how to use a caulk gun in this tutorial!

Caulk the seams in your DIY furniture for a flawless painted finish.

Prime and Paint

I always recommend priming raw wood first, so the paint goes on perfectly! Start in the corners with a brush, then use a small foam roller to cover the rest.

Prime the raw wood of your DIY kids bookshelf before painting.

Sand the primer smooth, and remove the dust with a tack cloth or microfiber cloth. Then paint the bookcase with the color of your choice!

woodworking plans for kids bookshelf with toy storage

Load Up Your New Bookshelf!

My son sorted through all his books and we ended up donating four bags full! The rest were organized and he decided to keep his favorites on his new bookshelf.

books on shelf of DIY kids bookshelf

His favorite stuffed animals finally have a home in the bottom storage bin, where he can grab them easily. And yes, that is a giant stuffed avocado. His name is Guackey, and he's adorable! 🙂

stuffed animals in bottom bin of DIY kids bookshelf with toy storage

I designed this build to fit perfectly under the window, with space on the side to access the other bookshelves.

side view of DIY kids bookshelf filled with books and stuffed animals

While we were at it, we picked out a new area rug that's soooooo fluffy! My son actually slept on the floor last night because it's so soft!

DIY kids bookshelf with toy storage bin

Download the kids bookshelf plans below and start building! I'd love to see how it turns out! You can tag me over on Instagram or email me a photo to show off your work.

woodworking plans for kids bookshelf with toy storage

Check out these other kids furniture projects!

DIY kids bookcase with stuffed animal storage

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