How To Build A Knock Down Bookcase

Need to know how to build a knock down bookcase? Building a bookcase involves making sure all of the equipment is packed in the box and that you have a few basic tools and a lot of patience. Not all knock down bookcases, sometimes called flat-packed bookcases, are created equal. All have the large parts in the box, but some companies are haphazard in the way things are packaged. You may be missing important hardware and even small parts.

To build a knock down bookcase, you will need:

  • A screwdriver and screws
  • A hammer and nails
  • A drill
  • A soft, cushioned blanket or mat
  • A tape measure
  1. Set up the equipment. The best preparation for building a knock down bookcase is to clear an area large enough to place the longest side of the bookcase on the ground. Put down the soft mat. This makes drilling, if necessary, and connecting the sides of the bookcase an easy proposition.
  2. Unload the box. Carefully take out all bookcase pieces and hardware. If the directions are included, pull those out and read them first. There may be some trick to assembly that isn't obvious by looking at the parts. As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the bookcase, the tricker the directions.
  3. Start with the two longest sides. Put out the two longest sides and mentally arrange all other parts by looking at the sides. Make sure the pre-drilled holes are facing in the correct inward direction.
  4. Attach the bottom. Hook the bottom section on the two sides. Be sure to note if there is a facing piece on the bottom. If there is a decorative piece, attach this first before hooking the bottom to the sides.
  5. Attach the top. Loosely connect the top piece to the sides. Don't tighten the screws right away. You may need to readjust the fit when the center, permanent shelf is put in place.
  6. Insert the middle shelf. Connect this permanent shelf to the two sides.
  7. Check the measurements. Measure the sides to make sure both are the same measurements. This is important to keep the bookcase looking even when full.
  8. Attach the back. The toughest part of building a knock down bookcase is attaching the backing to the bookcase. It's been an easy assignment up until this point. Knock down bookcases typically give easy, step-by-step directions for building them, but when it comes to this point, the directions usually say, "Attach the back." This is easier said than done. Cheaper bookcases divide the back panel into two segments. This means it's double the headache. It's important not to permanently attach the backing starting with one side. You'll end up with part of the back left uncovered. If you've ever re-screened something, use the same process for the back. Start with one nail and move to the opposite side and put in one nail. Once the two sides are done, move to the top and bottom and work the same way. It's slow, but you'll have a nice finished product.
  9. Add the glides. Put the glides on the feet, if the bookcase is equipped with a formal foot.
  10. Insert shelf holders and shelves. Count out all the hardware and insert the shelf holders. Most cases short a few, so if you can't live with a missing holder, write or call the company for a replacement. If you're putting together multiple units, check the other boxes. Most times there is a spare in the mix.
  11. Clean up. Save any extra parts. If the box has an extra shelf hook, put it where you'll remember for the next set of bookcases. If you move a lot, you'll probably need it for the case you just made.

Note that building a knock down bookcase usually involves messing with the pre-drilled holes. If the bookcase holes are not drilled properly, take out the drill and enlarge the holes or re-drill uneven holes. If you simply force the pieces together, the case will not be even. Why waste good money? Take some time and use the drill for a decent-looking bookcase.

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