DIY Industrial bookshelf

Hey Everybody!

I know this isn’t my kind of post, and I know I still need to write about Thailand and Morocco -or maybe my third time in Portugal?

Starting with May, I finally moved out of Cottbus. I found a flat in Berlin and I did not bring any furniture with me, as they weren’t valuable enough to pay for the transportation costs!

Luckily, I had some basic furniture in the room I moved in but I needed a bookshelf. My room is like 16-17 mt2, so I could not get something very big. I was planning to get one of the 4*2 Ikea KALLAX bookshelves. Then I realized almost everyone has that and they aren’t very pretty! At first I was hoping to get one under 50€, so I started to look for second hand offers and then I have realized that I could build it myself!

I checked some designs from other people online and came across this one so I decided to do the same one!

Firstly I went to the local hardware store with my little cart, which I borrowed from a friend to get the following items:

Item List:

  • 3 Metal railing system with one hole (single track)
  • 14 (7 pair) bracings
  • 2 Big wooden board (30*120 cm)
  • 1 Medium wooden board (30*80 cm)
  • 3 Small wooden board (30*60 cm)
  • Sandpaper (40)
  • Brushes for painting
  • Wood stain 375 ml (for 4 mt2)
  • Some rawplugs and screws for the railings, and some 4*16 mm wood screws.
How I carried the materials

First I sandpapered the surfaces of the boards. The woman at the store told me that I need to do it once so the boards would soak the paint better. So I believed her and did it!

My sandpaper was actually a sponge, but there is no difference between that and a normal one!

After the sandpapering, I was ready to paint the wood! I got some paper from the store to pack stuff and laid unter the wood in order not to paint my pavements! A small trick here, you might consider using some packaging band at the corners, so the paper doesn’t stick to your wood! It was a real pain in the ass for me! I just painted them over at the end and they look OK, but it would have been better without that!

Planks and the bracings

It is essential to paint in the fiber direction of the wood, I was told. I don’t really know what difference it would make but I just listened the advise!

I painted one side the first day and let it dry trough the night and painted the other side the next morning. After painting, I did an essential mistake with the bracings which you should avoid. 

Measuring is good, but mostly it is not going to be very accurate so, when you drill the bracings, make sure you start with one close to the connecting end and drill the second screw after you fix the railings to the wall because it might need some adjustions. As I drilled everything at once, before fixing the railings, I had to remove all the bracings and re-fix them to the wood planks as my measuremens did not work on the wall. So now I have 4 extra holes for each plank -which is not very visible but still a mistake. 

I aligned the bracings 10 cm inside of each side of the planks. So the distance between the bracings for the small plank is 40cm, for the medium one the distance is 60 cm, the largest distance between the railings are 100 cm. I have arranged the bracings accordingly. I am adding a revit model here (as it is my masters thesis topic, I should do it, right?) so you can visualise it better!


I have aligned the railings 45 cm higher from the ground, so that I would have some space under the lowest level to put a box. I did the drilling and aligning the railings by myself but I suggest you to do it at least 2 people. It is really hard to check the verticality of the railings and the positioning of them at the same time.

After drilling and fixing the metal railings, I could finally put the shelves in position and finsih the project. It costed a lot more than I wanted it to, but I think it worth it, it looks very cool!

Here are some end pictures for you :)

I hope you enjoyed it!