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Easy DIY Bookends from Wood Scraps

Organize your bookshelf with some fun new DIY bookends.

Bookends make your bookcase look so fancy.

They make it easy to stage areas with books, trinkets, photos and more. But what do you do if you don’t have any?

You make your own DIY bookends from scraps of wood!

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DIY bookends made from scrap wood spray painted to look like brass.

Simple Wooden Bookends

These simple to make bookends are a great beginner DIY. They come together quickly and look amazing!

You can have fun with the finish of you bookends. Spray paint them any variety of colors, or leave them natural wood.

I chose to spray paint mine to look like brass. And they look amazing on my new DIY built-in desk with a butcher block countertop.

Two bookends made from wood displayed on top of a stack of books.

Bookends are a great DIY because they are so handy.

You can use them lots of places to help organize your books. And they add tons of style while you do it.

Stack of books displayed next to a photo and plants with handmade bookends from wood scraps.

Here are just a few ways you can use your DIY bookends:

  • Group together books in a bookcase to display things next to them
  • Display books on a shelf
  • Organize books on your desk
  • Store cookbooks on a kitchen countertop
  • Display DVDs on your TV console

And many more. So have fun cleaning out the scrap pile and making lots of these easy bookends. Then organize all the books!

Brass DIY bookends holding up craft books on a desk.

How to Make Wood Bookends

Tools needed:


  • (2) 5 1/2″ wide by 6 1/4″ long scraps
  • (2) 4 1/2″ wide by 5 1/2″ long scraps
  • (2) 3 1/2″ wide by 4 3/4″ long scraps
  • (2) 2 1/2″ wide by 4″ long scraps
  • 1 1/4″ brad nails
  • Wood glue
  • Spray paint
    • To get the brass look I used two different gold paints, one flatter and on the other super shiny.

STEP 1- Cut Pieces

Cut your scraps so you have the pieces noted above.

You can use 1×6 for the 5 1/2″ pieces, 1×4 for the 3 1/2″ pieces, and 1×3 for the 2 1/2″ pieces. You will need to cut 1×6 boards 1″ thinner to get the 4 1/2″ pieces.

Use a scrap piece of wood to help hold the small pieces as you cut them to protect your fingers.

Cutting small pieces of scrap wood on a miter saw using another scrap piece to keep fingers safe.

STEP 2- Sand and Shape Pieces

Thoroughly sand all the pieces before assembly.

Once they are assembled they will be much harder to sand smooth.

Sanding small scraps of wood for the DIY bookends on a belt sander.

If desired, curve the top two edges of all the boards.

I used a disk sander to quickly curve the boards, but you can use whatever you have. Even a hand sander can be used to round over the edges.

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Using a disc sander to curve the top corners of all the pieces.

STEP 3- Assemble Bookends

Apply a decent amount of wood glue to the back of a 4 1/2″ wide piece.

Do not place the wood glue close to the edge to prevent squeeze out when assembling.

Line the board up on the 5 1/2″ wide piece so it is centered side to side and flush with the bottom.

Adding glue to the back of one of the wood pieces and lining it up on the other one.

Attach the board with brand nails.

Make sure the nails are at least 3/4″ in from the edges and 1″ down from the top so they will be hidden by the next piece.

Attaching the pieces together with a brad nail gun.

Attach the 3 1/2″ piece the same way as the first.

Then apply glue to the smallest (2 1/2″ wide piece) and align on the stack.

Clamp it together until the wood glue dries. Do not use nails on the top piece or you will have to fill the nail holes.

Attaching the last piece of the art decor bookend and clamping it while the glue dries.

Repeat for the second bookend to create a set.

STEP 4- Paint

Touch up any sanding you may have, then wipe the dust off the bookends.

Spray paint them any color you want.

To paint them to look like shiny brass, start with the Champagne Bronze spray paint. Completely cover the bookends with 2-3 coats.

Then finish it off with a light coat of Bright Gold to give the bookends a bit of sparkle.

Spray painting the wood bookends to look like brass.

The two colors together give the paint a bit more depth so they look like metal!

Once the paint is dry, you are ready to use your new DIY bookends to display your favorite books.

Set of easy to make DIY bookends spray painted gold.

More Scrap Wood Projects

Still have piles of wood scraps?

My friend Shara from Woodshop Diaries and I are sharing even more scrap wood projects to help you clear out those piles! Ever Tuesday this August we are sharing a new project for Scrap Wood Summer.

Check out even more fun scrap wood tutorial below:

Happy Building!

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati


Tuesday 5th of December 2023

These bookends are just gorgeous and I can’t wait to make them! So simple yet so elegant! Thank you for sharing this…the gold makes them perfect!

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