book display rack with mini banner

Here are the details on how to make the book display rack, part of my booth/table display for future public appearances such as public speaking, booths at conventions, and author book signing tables. I’ve designed this to hold four copies of my book The Wicked Wolves of Windsor and other Fairytales (which is a 5×8-inch book, at about 258 pages thick).

book display rack with mini banner

If your book is larger, you may need to adjust the scale of the shelf size, although I do think this will fit a 6 x 9 book. I designed the size to showcase my book cover title on both levels, and for my author’s name on the front bottom shelf to be clearly visible.

I designed this to fit four books on purpose (there is storage behind it for easy re-stocking access). Seeing stacks and stacks of books on a table is not attractive to a buyer, so showcase your cover while putting extra books in a tub hidden under your table to re-stock as needed.

This is about sales psychology. You want buyers to think there aren’t enough books, and if they want one they need to buy it now (scarcity). Also, you want to give them a pleasant buying experience (think theme and atmosphere, especially when deciding the color for your stand).

blog post reviews of books, including fantasy, science fiction, paranormal fantasy, mystery, and historical. Wherever my whimsy takes me.


Wood needed:

3 segments of 2×4 board, each 6 in. long:
[A] 1 – beveled along one side
[B] 2 – beveled at one end

3 rectangular pieces of paneling:
(note by using paneling the end display will be lighter than if you used thicker wood).

[C] 6 in. x 10 in.
[D] 6 in. x 12 ¾ in.
[E] 6 in. x 10 ½ in.
[F] 2 side pieces of paneling, each cut from approx 13 x 13 in. square
[G] 1 – 6 ½ in. piece of decorative molding, at least 4 in. wide.

4 narrow strips of wood (¼ x ½ in.) or thin quarter-round (¼ in.).
These are hidden inside, so can be made from scraps.
[H] 2 – 7 in. long
[K] 2 – 9 in. long

Also needed:
1 in. buglehead (drywall) screws, at least 6
small finishing nails, at least 8
Wood glue
Sanding paper (fine to superfine)
Spray paint (or whatever paint/finish you desire).


The instructions may look daunting at first, but it is pretty simple! Letters are given on the parts so you know which piece goes with which.

supplies to build the book display rack
The three 2×4 pieces, before beveling
cutting the wood for the book display
For [A], set your blade angle at 20 degrees and cut along one long side
angled cut for the book display
This is how [A] looks after beveling
trimming the blocks for the book display
For the two [B] pieces, shave 1/4 inch off each side so the corners are square and the width is exactly 3 in.
angled blocks
Then bevel one end of each [B] piece at 20 degrees, to look like this.
wood all cut and ready to go to build the book display
Cut [C], [D], [E], [F], [H], and [K] to the sizes given above.
You will not cut the side panels [F] until after assembling [A] – [E].
gluing together the pieces
Glue and clamp together [A] and [C], with the bevel at the bottom. Let dry.
front view of gluing together the pieces for the book display
Glue and clamp together the two [B]s side by side, and glue [D] to the back with the bevel at the bottom.
side angle view
Another view of the [B]s and [D] together.
Allow to dry, usually overnight or for several hours.
drilling for screws on the book display
Put two screws into the [D] to secure the connection to [B].
back view of sunken screws
Make sure the screw heads are sunken slightly below the wood surface.
another piece
Attach [C] to [A] in a similar fashion.
angled view of the book display at this point of the build
Attach [E] to the bottom of [B] using glue, and two screws driven in from the bottom.
the two pieces come together and are attached and clamped.
Glue the [A] assembly to the front of the [B] assembly, so it sits flat.
a view of the book display set up
Clamp well and allow to dry, usually overnight.
last details on the book display
Use two screws to secure [C] onto [B].
Make sure the screw heads are slightly below the wood surface,
so they won’t scratch your books.
finished and unfinished book displays side by side
The piece in front is what you have at this stage before the side pieces are mounted.
making the side panel
To mark out the [F] side panel, position the unit on the panel so the front and uprights line up with the grain (to reduce chance of splinters)
template for the side panel
Draw the outline of the unit on the panel, for the front and bottom.
marking the template
Dont worry too much about getting all the way into the corners!
But be sure to mark the tip of the top and back end.
marked board for the side panel of the book display
Use a straightedge and square to sharpen and clarify the lines, and draw a diagonal connecting top point and the end of the back.
marked board for the side panel of the book display
You should end up with a shape similar to this.
starting to cut the board
Cut out the shape!
cut the board slowly and carefully
Be careful about notching in the inside corners.
more cut marks on the template board
Cut short on the inside corners, then finish them with a file for a clean look.
finished side piece for the book display
You should end up with a side panel [F] like this. Sand all the edges and corners.
use it as a template for the other side
Flip the side piece over and mark and cut out a mirror image, for the other side.
glue it on the sides and clamp
position both sides, glue and clamp.
overnight clamping keeps it tight on the side
Be sure to clamp well all along the edges, to insure a solid piece.
Allow to dry, overnight is best.
inside view of the book display
Along the inside back edges, glue in the thin strips [H] and [K] to reinforce the long panel-to-panel joints.
Allow to dry.
unpainted finished book display
Unpainted display side view.
unpainted finished book display, back view
Unpainted display back view.

I spray-painted mine black, about 3-5 coats. The painting process might “raise the grain” and you can get a fuzzy appearance to the wood’s surface. If you experience this, lightly sand the surface smooth and paint again.

I finished off the molding with a product that is called Rub ‘n Buff. It comes in a gold or silver, and can be found at arts and crafts stores like Michael’s.

I also like spraying on a top coat sealer. This may dull the color of your paint so be aware of that.

sample set up for an author book display

I’ve also made a matching bookmark holder. I will post the directions for that at a later date, so stay tuned!

Byrd Nash, fantasy author uses mythology, legends, folklore, and fairy tales to create stories about strong female characters.

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