Saturday, November 5, 2011

Five DIY Book Rails for Under $10

I usually keep the Peanut's library books on a table in the living room, but it's hard for her to go through the stack to find a book for bedtime that she hasn't read yet.  So I decided to use the less than 2 1/2" inches of space behind her bedroom door to put up book rails. 

My initial thought was to use furring strips which are very economical, but came across 2x2x36 balusters for .89 cents each.  They were the perfect length and depth for what I wanted.  (Keep in mind when buying wood, it's never the size it says.  It's almost always smaller, so measure it before you lug it home.) 

Then I thought I'd get some pretty trim to make the front part of the rail, but trim is surprisingly expensive.  It gives me sticker shock everytime I try to buy it.  So I went back to find the furring strips and stumbled upon these fill strips for .97 cents a piece.

I hate pre-drilling, but wound up needing to pre-drill the holes in the fill strips or they split.  I should've pre-drilled holes in the balusters too, but I was lazy.  Then I screwed the fill strips and balusters to the wall with 3" screws at both ends.  I used a tapping block from my laminate floor installation to keep the fill strip at the same distance from the bottom of the baluster on each rail.  It was tricky holding everything together, making sure it was level and screwing it in by myself, but it was obviously doable. 

In the end I needed 5 balusters and 3 fill strips, totaling $7.36 (not counting tax).  I'm not counting the price of the 3" screws since I bought a 5 pound box ($4.37) and only used ten of them.  And I wasn't going to paint them, but I painted the trim around my front door and used the leftover paint from that.  Since I'm not going to bother figuring out how much the nails and paint added to the total, let's just round up to about $10 for the five.  Pretty good, right?

I don't think it took me more than an hour to put this together.  She loves being able to see all her books without trying to maneuver through a heavy stack, and I love not having to search the house for her books when they're due.


  1. Hey Naomi,

    I found this post by Googling "diy book rails"! The Child Care Center where I work is making over their facility and I was wondering if you thought your book rails would work with thicker books (i.e. board books for toddlers)?

    Thanks for the feedback! It's a great project!

  2. It would be fine for thicker books for sure, but I will say since these aren't that deep, you have to have the book angled to stay and you can't "layer" the books, they have to be single file. It works for us, but I've seen other DIY book rails that are deeper that might work better at your center. But definitely go for it! Some of the ones online make it more complicated than it needs to be, but it's certainly easy enough for even a first time DIY'er to manage. Good luck!


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