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Home > Just For Kids

Bookstand for Kids

Here's a fun project that should take about day to build with your kids.  The picture and idea for this project came from HGTV's website.  This is a project that Matt Fox did on a episode of Room by Room.  I like the idea of the bookstand, but when I read the article I didn't like the way it was constructed.  The parents end up doing most of the woodworking because of all the power tools involved.  Hand tools can easily replace the use of power tools to build this project.  Below is what I came up with so that you AND your kids can build this useful project.  You can go to this link to view the HGTV article:  http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/dc_furniture_childrens/article/0,,HGTV_3443_1396281,00.html.

I like using dimensional  lumber (lumber that is already sized for you to width).  By using dimensional lumber your kids will only have to cross cut the boards to length using a hand saw and the cross cut box.  More information on using a hand saw properly and the plans to build the cross cut box see our book, Woodshop 101 for Kids. 


Here's what you'll need to build two bookstands:

1" x 10" x 6' pine (dimensional size will be 3/4" x 9 1/4" x 4')

1" x 6" x 4' pine (3/4" x 5 1/2" x 4')

Hand saw or Japanese saw

Cross cut box

compass or large can / bucket to trace arch

combination square 

1 1/4" finish nails


Brace drill/small bit



safety glasses


Cross cut the 1 x 10 to four pieces that are 14" each.   Find the center of the width of the boards and place a pencil mark at the top edge of all four pieces.  Using your combination square measure down 5" from your center mark and place a pencil mark there.  Put the point of your compass on this mark and spread the pencil over to where it's just on the edge of the board.  Now keeping the point of the compass on your mark draw a half circle on one edge of each of the four sides.

Now your ready to use your coping saw to cut out the curves of the side pieces.  Clamp the sides into your bench vise or camp it to a sturdy table with the edge to be cut hanging off the table.  Stay as close to the line as possible.  Making sure you have a sharp blade installed will make this operation go smoothly.  (Make sure the kids are wearing safety glasses and they keep their free hand out of the way to the saw).  Afterwards, use some 100 grit sandpaper to smooth out the saw cuts.

Next, we need to make the shelves.  Using the cross cut box cut the 1 x 6 down to four pieces that are 12" long each.  Make a L shape by butt joining two of the pieces together along the long edges.  Make sure that the back of the shelf sits on top of the bottom part of the shelf.  Drill some pilot holes for the nails to go into to prevent the wood from splitting.  Glue and nail both sets of shelves together. 

Place the assembled shelves between the side pieces and place a couple of scrap boards underneath the front edge of the shelf.  This will tilt the shelf back enough so that your books won't fall out.  Drill three pilot holes on each side to go into the shelves.  Glue and nail all the side pieces to the shelf parts.  

Finish sand the bookstands down to 180 grit.  You can paint your bookstands or stain them.   Now all that's left to do is to load them up with your favorite books!