Written by 4:45 am For the Kids, Furniture

How to Make a Montessori Style Bookcase

Our kids love to read! Well, the love to be read to, they’re still pretty young and in the process of mastering their ABCs and 123s.

We have so many books but not enough shelves to store them all so my wife put me to work to build a Montessori style open face bookcase. What that means is that the books are displayed, cover out, so the kids can make their own choices as to what to read or learn about.

You can learn more about Montessori here, it’s actually pretty neat!

Check out the video above, or follow along with the instructions below and you can make your very own open faced bookcase in an uninterrupted weekend!


Download the plan here

* It’s important to point out that this is my very first attempt at making plans, so if you have feedback on how to improve them, please leave me a comment below!

Material List

  • 2 – 1” x 8” x 96”
  • 1 – 1” x 8” x 72”
  • 4 – 1” x 3” x 96”
  • 1 – 1” x 3” x 72”
  • 1 Sheet of 2’ x 4’ x 3/4” Plywood
  • Wood Glue
  • 1 5/8” Interior Wood Screws
  • 1” Interior Wood Screws
  • 1 1/4” Pocket Hole Screws

Tool List

These are affiliate links so when you buy from them, I get a few cents to go towards funding future projects (so THANK YOU!)

Cut List

  • 5 – 1” x 8” x 45”
  • 7 – 1” x 3” x 45”
  • 10 – 1” x  3” x 1”
  • 2 Trapezoidal Plywood Sides (see diagram on step 10)

Step 1

Cut all your wood down to size. Easy. Pow.

Step 2

Run a ¼” roundover bit over the top of one of your 1×3’s.

Step 3

Run a ¼” roundover bit over the top of each of your 1×8 risers

Step 4

Drill pocket holes into 6 of your 1x3s. I put in four and spaced them out 4” from each end, then 17” from each end.

Step 5

Drill 2 pocket holes on each side of the backs of your risers, this is how the shelves will attach to the sides of the bookcase.

Step 6

Countersink and/or drill pilot holes on the back, bottom of the risers about 3/8” up from the bottom (half of the ¾” thickness of the shelf). You will eventually use these pilot holes to drill 1 5/8” wood screws into the shelves.

Step 7

Start assembling the pieces starting with the toe kick and working your way, see the diagram below. I used wood glue as well as screws for added support.

Step 10

Create the bookcase sides. How I did this was I laid the shelving unit on my sheet of plywood and drew out the shape I was going for (see diagram).

Step 11

Once you’ve cut your sides, run a roundover bit over the front edges.

Step 12

Attach the shelves to the sides using the pocket hole screws. I found it easiest to lay the side on the ground, then place the shelves on top). Once everything was attached I just repeated the process on the other side.

Step 13

Take your 1x3x1 pieces, and insert them under each shelf with a 1” interior wood screw. These are just some additional support.

Step 14

Stain, paint and polyurethane to your heart’s desire then load that thing up with awesome books for your kids to enjoy!

Let me know if you give this a go in the comments below! Share a picture with my on Instagram or Twitter (@mbap77).

Happy building,


Intro Music; Straight Through by Groove Bakery | https://groovebakery.com

Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com

Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0)