This adorable book exchange box is easy to build, and it’s a great way to spread the love of reading. Fill this little house with books, and encourage others to browse the selection and add their own books to lend. Set the box up in your front yard (make sure local ordinances allow it!) to make it a neighborhood book exchange point, or place for it in your workplace to encourage book discussion with your co-workers.
Just follow along with our tutorial to build your own book exchange box.
- Martha Stewart Living 2 in. Bedford Nickel Matchbox Door Latch
- Behr Marquee Pageant Green Semi Gloss Exterior Paint
- Behr Marquee Golden Thread Semi Gloss Exterior Paint
- 3 in. Zinc Plated Tee Hinges
- #8 x 1½ in. Wood Screws
- MD Building Products 1 ft. x 2 ft Satin Nickel Mosaic Aluminum Sheeting
- ¾ in. 2 x 4 Birch Plywood
- 5 in. x 6 ft. Select Pine
- 5 in. x 6 ft. Select Pine
- 1¼ in. Kreg Screws
- Rust-Oleum Matte Flat White Spray Paint
- 10 in. x 8 in. Polycarbonate Sheet
- Circular Saw
- Jig Saw
- Miter Saw
- Plywood Back/Front/Bottom Board: 3 @ 15 in. Wide x 18 in. Tall
- Plywood Sides: 2 @ 15 in. Wide by 18 in. Tall
- Plywood Roof: 2 @ 19 in. Wide by 12 in. Tall
- 5 in. x 6 ft. Door Frame: 2 @ 18 in. Long
- 5 in. x 6 ft. Door Frame: 2 @ 10 in. Long
- 5 in. X 6 in. Door: Cut 2 @ 12⅞ in.
- 5 in. x 6 in. Door: Cut two 2 @ 6⅞ 8 in.
Step 1: Cut Side Peaks
Start with your cut plywood sides at 15 in. x 18 in.
Measure and mark the 15 in. height line of the plywood board, then measure and mark the very center of the board.
Take a triangle tool or a ruler to draw down from the center mark to the corners at 15 in. tall to make the triangle peak of the rooftop.
Cut the peaks using a jig saw.
Step 2: Build the Door Frame
You will need a Kreg Jig for this step. Before you start drilling holes, you need to set the dimensions for the wood depth. Adjust the collar on your Kreg drill bit for wood depth. Also adjust the height on the Kreg tool. Ours is ¾ in., so we set both dimensions to meet that for accuracy.
Using the drill bit, pre-drill holes on both ends of the 10 in. boards. Lay out your frame to ensure a nice fit.
Next, use your Kreg clamp for right angles. You will adjoin all four pieces using the clamp. Start by adjoining one of the 10 in. pieces into the 18 in. piece. Repeat for the other side. Go back and screw in the remaining screws in the hole where your clamp was.
Step 3: Build the Door Frame
Repeat the process of building the door frame, but adjoin the 6⅞ in. pieces to the 12⅞ in. pieces to create the door frame.
Step 4: Build the Box
Use your Kreg Jig to drill three holes on left, right and center of the base board, side boards, and back board. Using your Kreg Pocket screws, start by attaching the base board to one of the side boards.
We used a silicone sealant in the cracks so that this miniature library can be set up outdoors. Be sure and add the sealant to each seam while building the frame. Repeat this until you’ve built the entire box frame.
Step 5: Mark and Pre-drill Hardware
We chose to mark and pre-drill hardware before painting.
Start by laying out your hinges against the door frame with the barrel of the hinge set against the edge for easy attachment on the box frame. Mark your hinge plate placement and pre-drill using a small drill bit.
For the outside of the frame, we chose to use a matchbox latch instead of a cabinet knob to add the vintage farmhouse style and additional functionality. The matchbox latch will help keep the door closed when the book share is placed outdoors in the elements.
Place your matchbox latch along the edge of the door frame to mark and pre-drill. For this one, we recommend holding the door frame as it would sit on the hinges and using a level for accurate placement.
Step 6: Paint
We recommend that before painting you have your frames built and ready for final attachments.
Our book exchange box was inspired by a Key West beach house, so we wanted a very light and airy color palette. We chose Behr Marquee Golden Thread as the main color for our project with accents of Behr Marquee Pageant Green and Pure White.
Use a paint brush to apply an even coat of paint to all surfaces of the box. You can use a foam roller for the larger surfaces, but we prefer to use a slanted short handle brush to get the paint even across the entire unit.
Allow for the paint to fully dry before moving onto the next step.
Step 8: Attach Roof
Using a brad nailer and 1¼ in. brad nails, attach the roof boards to the slanted peak of the side boards.
Start on the outsides and work your way in for a nice tight seam. Don’t forget to continue using the sealant as you attach each board.
Next, measure and cut mosaic aluminum sheeting to the size of your roof boards. Ours were 19 in. x 12 in.
Before we attached the sheeting, we chose to coat it with a white spray paint for contrast to the Pageant Green roof color. Allow for paint to dry before moving onto the next step.
When your paint has dried, use a staple gun and industrial staples to attach the sheeting to the roof. Start at your corners and work your way in, placing a few staples in the center to keep it secured in place.
Tip: We recommend attaching one roof board, then metal sheeting and overlapping the second roof board at the peak of the house.
Step 8: Add Trim
We used scrap hobby board to add a decorative trim to our roof. Based on the angle of our roof we cut the hobby board to 11½ in. and 12 in. lengths for each side of the roof and added an 8¾ in. x 3½ in. triangle at the tops to clean up any overlap.
Before attaching the trim to the book share, apply a thin coat of your white spray paint using a sweeping motion to the trim boards. This will give a vibrant contrast to the beachy tones of the book share.
Step 9: Add Lexan Sheet to Door
Start by placing your Lexan Sheeting in the center of the door. Using a small drill bit, pre-drill through the Lexan Sheeting and into the wood of the frame for your hardware.
Once all your holes have been drilled, attach the Lexan Sheeting to the door with a Phillip’s head screw driver and small wood screws. We recommend purchasing ½ in. or smaller hardware to attach to the door frame without cracking the Lexan Sheeting. Once you have completed the attachment, be sure to add your silicone sealant around all the visible seams.
Step 10: Add Hardware
TIP: For this project you will need to install and align two hinge plates and the two elements of the matchbox latch. We recommend following the below format for a tight alignment.
- Door Frame Hinge Plates
- Matchbox Latch Handle
- Base Hinge Plates
- Matchbox Latch Catch
Using a Phillip’s head screw driving attach your hinges to the door frame with the included installation hardware.
Using a Phillip’s head screw driver attach the matchbox latch handle to the door frame with the included installation hardware.
Lay your book share on its back and align the hardware on the door frame with the front frame of the unit. Mark your placement when the doorframe is sitting flush as it would closed.
Check for the alignment of the matchbox latch as well before installation.
Use a small drill bit to pre-drill holes and attach your hinges with the included installation hardware.
Since you have attached the door to the unit frame, place your matchbox catch flush with the handle for the best alignment. You want to make sure that the handle will close into the catch. Mark the placement of the catch and pre-drill the holes.
Using a Phillips head screw driver and the included installation hardware, attach the matchbox catch to the unit frame of the library.
Step 10: Add Books and Enjoy!
The last thing to do is add your books you’d like to share and set the library in an easily accessible location.
Some book shares are centrally located outdoors in neighborhoods or parks, but we chose to use ours as an office book share and keep it indoors for all employees to access.