DIY Industrial Cart Bookcase

Hey friends!  I am THRILLED with how this latest build turned out!  Before I share it, I have to say… The whole thing cost me $100 to build.  That includes hardware.  Check out my new DIY Industrial Cart Bookcase!

How pretty is she? This piece is all about the hardware. Really you are taking a very basic build and a few boards and turning them into a piece of art by adding some awesome hardware. These corner brackets are a new fav!

Simpson Strong Ties for Bookcase

 These are called  Rigid Tie™ RTA12 connectors.  

Strong Ties for Bookcase

 I found them at Home Depot. They are from Simpson Strong Tie.

Simpson Strong Ties at Home Depot

They are only $1.53 piece!  Yep… I love them even more!  Add 4 of them to your shopping list!  I’ll show you in a bit how to get them the color you want!

Let’s get started!  I will share the whole build with you below, and I will add a link to the free printable plans at the bottom of this post.

Before making any cuts or assembly, I painted all of my hardware a cool dark grey metallic color.  I used Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint in Flat Soft Iron.

Metallic Spray Paint

I put one coat on my Simpson Strong-Tie connectors, the dowels, washers and hex screws.  While those were drying I started assembly on the bookshelf.

I made my cuts for the legs first.  These are just 2×4 studs.  Make sure to cut a very small piece off the end before making your measurements.  This gets the board square.

legs for bookcase

I made my cuts for those and all the cuts for each shelf.  The shelves use 2×12.  My saw will cut all the way through these with the slide, but yours may not.  You may need to make one pass and then flip the board over to finish the cut.

I assembled each shelf using wood glue and pocket holes with pocket hole screws.  I used my Kreg Jig for this part.  Each hole is 1.5″ and I used 2.5″ pocket hole screws to attach.

Assemble shelves for bookcase

I built the 5 shelves and then attached the legs.

Before attaching the legs, you will need to make the cuts for your dowels.  Yes people!  Those are wood dowels!  They look just like metal bars, even in person.  It’s insane.  And cheap.  Woohoo.  You will want to clamp the two boards together to make sure your holes are exactly the same.

Clamp boards to add holes

Drill holes for bookcase

holes for dowels

Once that was finished, I inserted the dowels and attached those boards first. You will almost make a ladder with your dowels like this…

bookcase ladder

These two will connect to the bookcase using wood glue and 2.5″ pocket hole screws.

Assembly of DIY bookcase

Now for the front legs.  These are attached the same way.

DIY Bookcase assembly

bookcase building

attaching side of bookcase

Now, this will leave some unsightly pocket holes on the bottom of the shelves.  Because this is open shelving and visible, I filled these holes using stainable wood filler.  Just push some into each hole and then smooth it out.  You will want to lightly sand over each one after it dries before you stain.  It sounds like a lot of trouble, but it only took a few minutes to fill all of them, and the filler dries really fast.

Filling pocket holes

Filling pocket holes with wood filler

Time for stain!  Oh I had fun on this one.  I actually combined three stains to create a very worn brown color.  It matches the pallet I have hanging on the wall almost exactly.  Here are the three I mixed.

Wood Stain for Bookcase


Once the stain dried, I added the rest of the hardware.  I started with the washers and hex screws.

Hardware for Bookcase

Attach Bookcase Hardware

Bookcase Metal Hardware

Then, I used these small screws to attach the Simpson Strong-Tie connectors.

Bookcase Hardware

Attach Simpson Strong Tie

You will see those are still silver.  I found this great paint at Michael’s.  It matches the spray paint almost exactly.  I dabbed some on each of the screws and I also used it touch up anywhere else that needed it.

metallic paint

The casters are metal casters that I also found at Home Depot.

Simpson Strong Ties

That’s it!  Here she is all prettied up in my living room!

DIY Industrial Cart Bookcase Free Plans

DIY Industrial Cart Bookcase

DIY Industrial Cart Bookcase Free Plans

Ahhhh I love.  Hope you do too!

You can also download and print the FREE plans by clicking HERE!

Let us know if you have any questions at all!  Happy Building!


  1. Stephanie on October 28, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    What type of dowels did you use and where did you get them? I am having trouble finding dowels. Help!

  2. debbie Fox on July 22, 2019 at 6:24 am

    My husband just built two of these as a gift for our son and his soon to be wife. They turned out gorgeous and will flank each side of a fireplace in their new apartment. I am ready to stain them and have a couple of questions. I read the directions on how you achieved your color. I am trying to achieve something similar but have not happy yet with the sample wood I’ve tested it on. Did you use a paint brush or wipe did you wipe it on? If you did use a paint brush, did you wipe immediately after? Thanks so much!

  3. Debbie Fox on July 22, 2019 at 6:18 am

    My husband just built 2 of these as a gift for my son and his soon to be wife for their apartment they will be moving into. They are going to be so perfect flanking each side of a fireplace. I love the color of yours and am trying to achieve something similar. Did you use a paint brush or wipe it on? If you did use a paint brush, did you wipe immediately after you brushed? I have practiced on several sample pieces of wood and am not feeling confident to start on the shelves yet. They are so beautiful and I don’t want to mess them up!

  4. Heather on July 1, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Where did you find the wheels?!

  5. Boa123 on January 15, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Did you screw the hex screws and washers into the outside of the dowels to cover the drilled out holes they lie in? Or how did you cover those drilled holes once the dowels are in?

  6. Toshiera Morris on January 26, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    So I’m attempting to make this within the next 2 weeks and so far I’ve purchasedone all the materials except for the lumber. The materials I got from the local home depot in maryland and it’s already about $75. Neither home depot nor lowes carry pine board. They had anot her type but it was almost $30 per board! Today I’m checking at a local lumber yard but when calling they said they had 1 by’s and not 2’s. I’m having a really hard time finding pine board. Does anyone know where I can find it? @shanty2chic do you have a video for this tutorial by any chance?

  7. tejaynes on October 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Where did you find the driftwood looking pieces of wood shown of the bottom shelf? I love those!!

  8. COOP on June 1, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Can anyone tell me how much weight these shelves can hold? I want to build something to hold a vinyl record collection with a lot of weight. I know the 2x’s are strong enough, but I’m worried about the weight stressing the screws in the corners.

  9. celonaman on March 8, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    I tried! I thought the bottom shelf’s grain came out nice

    • DC on July 28, 2016 at 10:11 am

      How much did it cost you?

      • celonaman on July 28, 2016 at 10:44 am

        Eh I think it was just under $100, but I did not use casters.

  10. ubnoxus on February 14, 2016 at 10:21 am

    What is the point of 3 separate pieces per shelf with pocket holes? Why not go simple and stronger with single piece shelves?

    • Shanty2Chic on March 8, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      Sounds like you have a great design idea… Go for it! That’s the great thing about DIY 🙂

    • David Jackson on May 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Three single boards are more dimensionally stable than using a single board (providing they are flipped alternately). They will not warp or twist like a single board. They also provide more strength.

    • Lisa Scott Provost on December 4, 2016 at 8:58 am

      That’s what creates the shape that goes around the legs. No notching! You also end up with a shelf that is deeper than just the 12″ of the main piece. That’s as large as standard lumber stores will typically carry.

      I know you asked a while ago, but I see that the other answers didn’t hit upon what came to me – thought I would add my $0.02!

  11. Tim Keller on January 29, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Looks great. Perhaps you should note these metal casters are NOT sutable for wood floors.

  12. Rene Garner on January 26, 2016 at 9:01 am

    what color is the martha stewart metallic paint? Thanks!

  13. Tammy Linskey on January 25, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I can’t wait to build this!!!!! As always inspiring great work!!! Much appreciated!!!!

  14. Kaiti Colleen Lenahan on January 18, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Amazing, I LOVE it!! Did you mix all 3 stains together in another container or did you apply them to the wood one at a time?

    • Shanty2Chic on January 20, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Yes Kaiti, I mixed all three in a plastic tub and kept adding small amounts of each until I was happy with the tone. Then apply it just like you would regular stain… Hope that helps!

  15. Patti Welch McGarry on January 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Love this build! Do you have an approximation of what it costs to build?

    • Shanty2Chic on January 20, 2016 at 6:22 am

      Yes Patti… I mentioned in the post that the whole thing cost around $100… Woohoo!

  16. Kate on January 16, 2016 at 8:25 am


  17. Whitney Shortt on January 15, 2016 at 10:30 am

    It looks beautiful and I love the price tag!

  18. Pam @ The Birch Cottage on January 15, 2016 at 9:59 am

    This is beautiful! I love the metallic touches and the wheels. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Lisa Singleton on January 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Love it! Did you spray paint the casters too? What attachment piece did you put on your drill to screw in the Simpson Strong-Ties.

    • Shanty2Chic on January 16, 2016 at 8:11 am

      I did paint the casters… And I used a nut driver attachment (cheap at Home Depot) to add the screws… Hope that helps!

      • Breanne Blain on March 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm

        Did you worry about the spray paint getting into the bearings on the casters? I’m building mine this weekend and I’m worried the spray paint may ruin the caster by getting into the bearings.

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