How to Make an X-Shaped Wood Magazine Rack

X marks the perfect spot for your stack of must-reads.

Would you believe that this open shelf is made using a single 1’ x 4’ board? Make it today, and use it as your couch-side catch-all to keep books and magazines organized and within reach. We’ll show you how you can make one – it’s an easy DIY project for beginner woodworkers, and a pretty one that you'll definitely hang onto.

Tools and Materials

  • 12" x 48" x 1” board
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • sandpaper
  • circular saw
  • coping saw or scroll saw
  • stain (optional)

The bookshelf will be constructed using two 24” pieces, so you will need to cut the 48" board in half. If you’re attempting this project with very little woodworking experience, know that you can make all of these cuts using a few simple hand tools. I reference using a circular saw for the big cuts throughout this tutorial and a coping saw with a fine tooth blade for the smaller, more precise cuts.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

After you cut the board in two, double check to make sure that the two halves are even. Stack the boards one on top of another. If the ends don’t match up perfectly, line up one end, and use the circular saw to trim the uneven end so that the boards are the same exact length. Use a block of sandpaper to smooth every edge.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

The two boards will join together hardware free with the use of a half-lap joint. To measure the placement of this joint, first check the thickness of the board. My 1x board has a real measurement of 3/4”. The 3/4” is a critical measurement to make sure that your two boards fit together tight.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

To construct a half-lap joint, you’ll remove a 3/4” wide from the center of each board so that the two boards can slide together like puzzle pieces. Do this by marking the center point on the width of the board (the joint only requires you to cut half-way through the width), and then find the center point along the length of each board. Mark the center point in pencil with an “X.” If you measured the board thickness to be 3/4” like I did, transfer that measurement in pencil to the board by measuring 3/8” to the left and to the right of the “X” along the length of the board. Use a ruler to connect the measurements as shown below, and it will be more clear where you are making the cuts for your half-lap joint. Each board will have the exact same markings and measurements.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Clamp one board to a work surface and use the circular saw to cut on the lines you’ve marked. Rather than cutting on the pencil line, aim the saw blade to be just within the line so that you don’t remove too much wood. You can always go back and use the saw to shave off a little more wood if the boards do not fit together, but you don’t want them loose. Repeat by clamping the second board and making the same cuts.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

You’ll need to stop the circular saw when the blade reaches the end of your pencil mark – exactly half-way through the board. Use a coping saw or scroll saw to finish the cut, as the blade will cut the top of the board deeper than it has cut the bottom of the board.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

The coping saw or scroll saw will also be used to reach the center of the board, so you can remove the 3/4” width of wood and complete your half-lap joint.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf
Emily Fazio
How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo By: Emily Fazio

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Dry fit the joint, and if you meet resistance – so much so that you can’t force the two pieces of wood together – trim a little more wood away. The joint should be a tight fit but not so tight that one piece is damaging the other as they slide together.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

If you need to use a hammer to finish getting the two boards together with a flush joint, place a piece of scrap wood atop the joint to distribute the force and avoid damaging the edge of the boards.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Stain the finished piece, and allow it to dry in a well-ventilated area for 24 hours before you load it up with your favorite reads.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Display the new modern shelf in your home. With the “X’ facing out, it’s the perfect nook in which to store books and magazines.

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to Make a Modern "X" Bookshelf

How to build a modern, interlocking "X" bookshelf

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

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