New This Month


Customizing Bookshelves

Source: Martha Stewart Living Television


As style editor Tom Tamborello demonstrates, by adding various types of moldings, you'll wind up with bookshelves that are decorative and distinctive.



  • Wood glue

  • Wood putty

  • Wood screws

  • Finishing nails

  • Clamps

  • Hammer

  • Sandpaper

  • Palm sander

  • Tinted primer

  • Paint

  • Paintbrushes


  1. Martha and Tom begin by gluing and then screwing two bookcases together, although these steps can be applied to a single bookcase as well. Begin by framing the front edges with panel molding. Measure the edge, and cut the molding to that length. Pre-drill the spots where you will nail the molding to the bookcase, and cut the edges of the molding in a miter box. By pre-drilling the molding, you can prevent splitting when it comes time to hammer in the nails. A miter allows you to cut at an angle or on a perfectly straight line.

  2. Glue the molding on, and secure it with finishing nails. Use a nail set to drive the nails all the way into the wood.

  3. Martha and Tom hide the seam between the two bookcases with a 7/8-inch lattice strip that they glue and then nail into place with the nail set.

  4. You can create a more dramatic profile and add dimension by building a top piece. Pine strip board, which is made from narrow strips of pine glued together, can be used to create the uppermost top part of the bookcase. Martha and Tom use two pine strip boards, cut 13 inches by 62 1/4 inches, to which they attach another piece of pine the exact width and length of the two bookcases; this piece of pine will rest directly on top of the case. The pine strip boards extend 1 inch beyond the edges of the bookcases, which creates the effect of a mantel. Attach all three layers together with glue, clamp them, and screw them together with wood screws.

  5. Martha and Tom use nose and cove molding, which is about 1 1/8 inches wide. The angle of each corner is 90 degrees, which means each piece of molding should be mitered at 45 degrees. Pre-drill the holes, and attach the molding to the two pine strip boards with glue and finishing nails.

  6. A 3/8-inch piece of quarter round molding can be attached at the point where the smaller piece meets the larger two pieces.

  7. Spread glue over the top surface of the bookcase, and center the top piece, small side down, over it. Clamp it, and secure with wood screws drilled in from the underside of the bookcase top.

  8. Fill all the nail holes with wood putty, which can also be used to smooth out any irregularites on the surface, such as knots and around edges. Then, sand everything smooth so it can be painted and primed.

Reviews Add a comment