If you’re looking to display books while also leaving plenty of room for storing them, you’ll love this DIY rotating bookshelf! The sides have display shelves to show off your favorite reads while the middle boasts tons of rooms for books.
If you’re looking to store children’s books and maybe a few toys, this is a great fit. If you’re looking to store larger chapter books, it’s great too! The shelves are deep enough for two rows of chapter books, so you can spin it around and reveal a whole new set of novels.
Alright, let’s dive in and start building this DIY rotating bookshelf!
How to Build a Rotating Bookshelf
- Miter Saw (we use this blade with ours)
- Circular Saw
- Jig Saw
- Kreg Jig (not sure which to get? Check out which Kreg Jig to get in 2023)
- Recommended Drill Bits: 5/16″ Forstner, 1/2″ Forstner, 5/16″, 5/32″
- Brad Nailer
- Measuring Tape (new to DIY? Be sure to check out this post with measuring tips)
- Safety Equipment
- (1) ¾”x4x8 plywood (we use primed whitewood)
- (2) 1x3x6s
- (2) 5/16” x 48” dowels (we used poplar)
- 14” lazy susan hardware
- Wood glue (this is our favorite type)
- Wood filler or spackle
- Paintable caulk (if painting)
- 1.25″ softwood Kreg screws
- 1.5” 18 gauge nails
- 1” screws
For our rotating bookshelf, we finished it with Sherwin Williams Snowboard for the main structure and Sherwin Williams Upward for the side display shelves. We used the Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel in Satin for both colors. For the gold bar on the display shelves, we used Gold Leaf Rub N’ Buff.
22” wide x 22” deep x 47” tall. Shelves are 14 ½” deep.
STEP 1: MAKE YOUR CUTS
For the side display shelves, we used a quart sized can as a guide for the curve. This is a very similar design as the DIY nursery shelves we shared earlier.
The curve is optional and doesn’t need to be precise. If you want to add it, trace your curve and then cut it out with a jigsaw. Measure 3.5” from the top and then cut with your miter saw.
Use the first piece that you cut as a template for the rest of your display shelf side pieces.
Use the dimensions listed in the printable plans as a guideline for the rest of your cuts.
For the side pieces of the main bookshelf, we also added a curve. This time, it was more of an arch, a half-circle.
The final cut that requires the jigsaw is the circle base. You can do this as a smaller square, but we decided on a circle to match the rest of the curves.
To draw the circle, we used a string, a nail, and a pencil. Add a nail to the center of the plywood and then tie the string to the bottom of the pencil and to the bottom of the nail. Hold it very tight and keep your pencil upright as you draw a circle around the nail.
STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES
Using the ¾” settings, drill (3) pocket holes on both long ends of the shelves. Read this post for more details about how to use a Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes.
STEP 3: ASSEMBLE DISPLAY SHELVES FOR THE SIDES
Start by marking 3/8” in from the front and 2” from the bottom of the display shelf sides. Using a 5/16” Forstner bit, drill a hole that’s approximately ¼” deep into each of the display shelf side pieces.
Next, add a dab of wood glue to the holes you just drilled and insert the dowel into one of the side pieces. Then insert it into a second side piece. Repeat with the remaining 5 shelves.
Note: If you want your rod to be a different color than the shelves themselves, I highly recommend applying the finish before installing them.
Using glue and 1.5” nails, install the bottom between the two sides.
STEP 4: INSTALL DISPLAY SHELVES
Mark where you want to install the shelves. We’ve laid out the exact placement we used in the printable plans, but you can always place them how you would like to.
Clamp them to the side of your bookshelf and add two 1.25” wood screws through the inside of the bookshelf. You can use wood screws or Kreg screws here – just be sure to countersink the screws so that you can cover them up.
STEP 5: ASSEMBLE BOOKCASE
After marking where to install the shelves, secure them using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws. They should be flush with the front and back of the side pieces.
Once secured to the first side, use glue and 1.25” Kreg screws to secure them to the second side. The bottom “shelf” will be flush with the bottom of the side pieces.
STEP 6: PREP, STAIN OR PAINT
If you are painting your structure, I highly recommend applying a coat of spackle to all exposed plywood edges for a more polished finish. This will cover the plywood edge so that you don’t see any gaps or layers in the plywood after painting.
To do this, apply a thin coat of spackle to the edges. Once dry, lightly sand off the excess.
If you’re painting, you can also fill the pocket holes underneath the shelves with a couple of coats of spackle and cover up the screw heads that are holding the side display shelves up.
Add caulk where two boards meet and then paint your bookshelf.
STEP 7: INSTALL LAZY SUSAN
We added a base to our rotating bookshelf for an added design feature and also to protect the carpet underneath. The lazy susan does work directly on carpet, but beware: it might leave an oil stain which is tough to get out!
Because we decided to add a base to our bookshelf, it required a few additional steps to get the hardware to attach both to the base and to the bookcase itself.
First, pop off the rubber feet. Then take a 5/32” drill bit (make sure it’s one that works on metal) and drill through where the rubber feet were to create a hole that goes all the way through.
Next, take a 5/16” drill bit and drill a countersink hole so that the screw sits just below the surface of the lazy susan.
Center the lazy susan up on the base piece and secure the outside ring (the ones that you drilled the holes in previously) with 1” screws.
Using a 5/32” drill bit, drill through 3 of the holes in the inner ring. You don’t have to drill too far–just enough to mark the placement in the base.
Remove the screws that are securing the outer ring to the base and remove the lazy susan.
Using a ½” Forstner bit, drill all the way through the base in the 3 holes that you marked for the inner ring. Tip: place a scrap piece of wood underneath your base piece to prevent tearout when drilling through.
Secure the lazy susan back to the base in the same spot using screws in the outside ring. Rotate the lazy susan until the inner ring holes line up with the holes you drilled through the base. Place a screwdriver or something similar inside one of the holes through the base to prevent it from spinning around.
Center up the base on the bottom of the book shelf and secure the base through the 3 holes using 1” screws.
There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own rotating bookshelf. Though we designed this bookshelf for children’s books, it works for chapter books as well. The shelves are deep enough for two rows of most chapter books, so you can display different books on each side of the bookcase.
If you are hoping to build your own, be sure to grab the printable plans if you like 3D renderings of each step and would like an optimized cut list!