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  • DIY | Build your own Book ends

DIY | Build your own Book ends

Article, photography and materials by Jim Gleeson, KKG Ltd licenced Refresh Franchisee. Builder/Carpenter John Aalbers. Assembled at Placemakers Mt Wellington.


  • Hammer
  • Set square
  • Hand saw or circular saw
  • Jig saw
  • Sanding tools
  • Tape measure / ruler
  • Drill
  • Impact driver
  • Quick cramps

Step 1:

Gather your materials and tools. Power tools are not required but they do make life a lot easier. You will require:

  • 5m of 150mm x 25mm pine
  • 5m of 150mm x 40mm pine
  • 1m of 300mm x 18mm MDF
  • 32mm and 50mm screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Hand planer
  • 5mm drill bit
  • Tools as shown in the photo

Step 2:

Square off the end of the 150mm x 25mm pine and cut off 6 x 210mm lengths and 6 x 192mm lengths. Label each piece so you know the lengths as they will look very similar once cut.

Make a line 11mm from the end of the 210mm length and drill 3 pilot holes equal distance along the line on all 6 pieces. Turn over and run a bead off glue across the board following the line drawn on the underside. Butt the end of the 192mm piece against the glue at right angles and screw together using the 32mm screws. Wipe off excess glue and stack each piece inside the other and put aside to dry. Stacking then together helps maintain the 90 degree angle while the glue dries. These are the outside of the book end, use the longest side as the outside end.

Stacking them together helps maintain the 90 degree angle while the glue dries. Use the longest side as the outside end.

Step 3:

For the ‘cloud’ book ends: Using the MDF mark out 2 squares 185mm x 185mm, draw a line through the middle to create a triangle. Using whatever round objects you have lying around mark out random round shapes along the longest side of the triangle. 

Cut out the triangle using a circular saw and the rounds using a jigsaw. Smooth the edges with sandpaper.

Step 4:

For the ‘triangle’ book ends: Using the rest of the MDF mark out 2 squares 190mm x 190mm. Draw a dividing line through the square to make 2 triangles and continue to mark as per the photo. Cut this out using a circular saw and jig saw. Smooth the edges with sandpaper.

Step 5:

For the ‘book’ book ends: To make the ‘books’ get the 40mm pine and reduce the width of the total board from 150mm to 130mm (although not necessary it does look a little nicer). Using a planer round off both edges on one side only to give a book end appearance. Mark and cut the following lengths. 2 x 80mm, 2 x 105mm, 2 x 135mm, 2 x 150mm and 2 x 175mm. Smooth edges with sandpaper. 

Step 6:

Gather 4 of the pre-made book ends. On the outside mark a line down the centre top to bottom on both pieces. 

Drill 2 holes in each side. Run a bead of glue along the edges of the MDF and place in the inside centre of the book end, use 35mm screws to hold in place. Wipe off any excess glue.

Step 7:

Stack the ‘books’ from highest to lowest with the smooth edge facing out. Centre and glue the longest piece in, drill and screw it in place using the 35mm screws from the outside. Glue the remaining pieces and screw using a single 50mm screw through the piece, screwing into the previous piece.

Continue until all 5 have been fitted. Turnover and fix the bottom of the book ends in place using 35mm screws. Predrill the holes first.

NOTE: Ensure that you make the second book end reversed from the first one so that the smooth edge of the book face the same way.

Step 8:

Fill holes with putty and once dry, sand and smooth all edges.

Whether young or old, you can have a lot of fun with the decorating stage of the project. We visited colour consultant Nikki Morris at the Resene ColorShop in Newmarket for some advice on our colour selection, so here are some ideas to help you get started. We’d love to see photos of your creations – you can post them on our Facebook page:

    • Post author
      Renovate Magazine