How to Build a Leaning Ladder Bookshelf

DIY Leaning Ladder Bookshelf

Looking to refresh and declutter a space in your home or workplace? Building your own leaning ladder bookshelf is the perfect solution! This bookshelf can house books, audio devices and knickknacks without taking up too much space.  

Six shelves provide ample room to store books or display your favorite keepsakes. Construction is easy, and Simpson Strong-Tie® gusset angles ensure that your bookshelf provides years of lasting enjoyment. 

Download the plans for this DIY Leaning Ladder Bookshelf here.

DIY Leaning Ladder Bookshelf
DIY Leaning Ladder Bookshelf

Tools Needed 

  • Circulator miter saw 
  • Speed square 
  • Pencil
  • Screw gun with Phillips-head bit 
  • 2′ level or straight edge
  • 5/16″ drill bit 
  • Clamps(not necessary but helpful) 
  • Wood putty 
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain and varnish 

Installation Instructions 

  1. Cut lumber to size. 
  2. Attach tops of legs. Adjoin the top of front and back legs (A and B) with two Simpson Strong-Tie 3″ Deck-Drive™ DSV Wood screws per side.
  3. Install gusset angles to legs. Mark placement of GA2 gusset angles on back legs at 12″ intervals starting at 4″ from bottom and working your way up. Attach with wafer-head screws (SD8). Use a level or straight edge to mark placement of gusset angles on front legs at same height. Attach angles to front legs with wafer-head screws (SD8). 
  4. Assemble shelves. Attach side rails (I through N) and back rails (O) to each of the six shelves (C through H) with wafer-head screws (SD8).
  5. Attach shelves to legs with pan-head screws. 

Hardware Needed 

Lumber Needed 

  • (4)pieces 2×4 x 8′ 
  • (4)pieces 1×2 x 8′  
  • (1)-half-sheet 3/4″ plywood

Cut List 

Cut from 2×4 x 8′  

  • (2) 80″ front legs 
  • (2) 78 1/4″ rear legs 

Cut from 1×2 x 8′  

  • (4) 23 3/4″ shelf back rails 
  • (2) 23 3/4″ shelf back rails 
  • (2) 20″ shelf side rails 
  • (2) 17 3/4″ shelf side rails 
  • (2) 15 1/2″ shelf side rails 
  • (2) 13 1/4″ shelf side rails 
  • (2) 11″ shelf side rails 
  • (2) 8 3/4″ shelf side rails 

Cut from 4′ x 4′ x 3/4″ plywood  

  • (1) 9 1/2″ shelves 
  • (1) 11 3/4″ shelves 
  • (1) 14″ shelves 
  • (1) 16 1/4″ shelves 
  • (1) 18 1/2″ shelves 
  • (1) 20 3/4″ shelves 

Find more do-it-yourself project plans at strongtie.com/diy.