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How to Put together Simple Bookcases with Bricks and Boards

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"How to Put together Simple Bookcases with Bricks and Boards"
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People who love to read often like the idea of having bookcases to highlight their favorite books and make them easy to get to. Bookcases can be purchased, however they aren't always the size needed for the space that is available. What is more, they can be rather expensive and tend to look drab. The good news is that a person can make stunning shelves for the books, that are made to fit the space, are easy to create and aren't expensive. 


Decorative bricks work best for these book shelves, because the goal is to make something that is both attractive and functional. The bricks should be thoroughly washed off, to remove dust residue. Once washed, allow the bricks to completely dry. This can be done by setting them in the sunshine for a couple hours as long as the temperatures are relatively warm. It can still be done in the winter by placing the bricks next to a heating source after washing them.

An optional step is then to spray paint the bricks. Select a color that is neutral, such as gold or white. This way, the bricks will work in virtually any room, regardless of the color scheme or type of wood selected for the shelves. Paint the bricks outside if they are to be painted, though, to prevent the paint from drifting onto other furniture. Again, allow the paint to dry entirely. This is an optional step because some people like leaving the bricks the color they are when they are purchased or acquired.


Selecting the boards is the fun part, as well as the most decorative. Shelving boards that can be purchased in stores will work fine and often come prefinished. This means that there can be a large selection: Pine, oak, fir, mahogany, maple or whatever wood is available or desired. Unfinished wood can also be used, though. There is usually more effort and steps involved in using unfinished wood boards, however it is usually cheaper and there is more of a personal sense of accomplishment when the project is done.

The length of the boards should be what will fit the available space. If necessary, cut the boards to fit. For instance, if the board is 4 feet long, but the space is only 3 feet, 9 inches, cut a little more than 3 inches off. It is important to cut a little extra off, to give a bit of breathing space when putting the bookcase together.

For unfinished boards, the wood should be a good grade so that little or no sanding is involved. The wood will usually already be planed and smooth. For a glossy finished product, the shelves can be sanded with fine grade sandpaper and polished with steel wool. After sanding, be sure to wash the board off with a damp (not wet) cloth to pick up any wood dust residue.

Once dried, the boards should then be painted with a quality product such as Minwax. These are available in tints from clear to dark, so it can be adjusted according to the desired affect. For very glossy finishes, use several coats of the varnish, letting each dry and lightly going over it with steel wool prior to applying the next coat. The more coats there are, the more glossy the shelves are likely to become. The last couple coats should be using clear, even if tinted oils are used initially. Note: This will even work with fiberboard, though high gloss usually isn't achieved. Using a thick stain can give the appearance of wood grain, though, if applied by brush.

Putting it all together

The assembly is the easy part. Place 2 bricks per 3 or 4 feet of board length on the floor. Place a finished board over the top, and again add bricks for every shelf that is desired, preferably with the additional bricks directly above the ones on the bottom. Place a board over those bricks, and so forth, until the desired height of the shelf is reached. 

The bookcase is easy to put together and to take apart, and it is easy to move from one location to another since it takes up little space once it is dismantled. 

Making a bookcase out of bricks and boards isn't hard, moving it isn't hard, it isn't expensive and yet a person can fit the book shelves to fit whatever space they have to work with. These shelves even work for more than just boards. As put by a man in Oregon, "I made one just for my collectibles. The bookcase is so beautiful that it draws attention to everything that is put on them."

This is a project that is worthwhile even for those who aren't especially mechanically inclined. Guests often won't believe that you made such a work of art.

More about this author: Rex Trulove

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