Rain Gutter Bookshelves

One of the final pieces to Lucas’ bedroom (still looking for a rug and some accessories) are rain gutter bookshelves. These bookshelves totally “made” the room in my opinion and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.


The theory and purpose behind rain gutter bookshelves is that instead of children seeing the spine of a book, they see the front of the book. They see the colors and the pictures; thus picking up books more and reading them. It’s suppose to promote and encourage reading. Plus, I think it adds a fun addition to a room! It’s like a decoration in itself!

These bookshelves are called rain gutter bookshelves because, they are rain gutters. Don’t be surprised if people at Lowes or Home Depot think you’re crazy when you tell them you’re making bookshelves. Um, it’s not really the right season for gutters right now. Oh I’m making bookshelves!! Just carry on your merry way and act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t.

This was my first time making these shelves, so I really had no idea what to expect or what they would look like in person. I was nervous that they might look bad or like gutters but I really don’t think they do! I think they turned out awesome and my son loves it.

They are pretty sturdy, with just a screw on each side. I was also surprised with how many books they held. Depending on if you want to overlap books or not, you can fit quite a bit on there! We put our board books on the bottom and our nicer paper back books on top so Lucas can’t ruin them, as he cant’ reach the top ones as well.

We cut the rain gutter bookshelves into two four feet sections with a saw. My husband did one and I did the other so I could explain to you how to do it. It took us less than 30 minutes to instal these and it was relatively easy. Easier than those “put together yourself” bookshelves you can buy!

I believe there are more than one way to make these shelves. You can add brackets in the middle or on the sides if you need to, although I don’t think they look very good. To make two shelves like I have here you will need:

  • 1 rain gutter – We used a vinyl rain gutter. You then cut it with a table saw in two pieces, or three or four depending on how long you want the shelves to be. Ours are 4 feet each and we had a little left over.
  • 4 end caps- you will need an end cap on each side. These go on the end of each side of a shelf.
  • 4 screws- I drilled a hold in the end cap, then the screw through it and into the wall. Make sure to put a level inside the shelf to make sure it is straight.
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Screwdriver- not totally necessary but I used it to get the screw started before going to the drill
  • Books
For one rain gutter, four end caps and four screws these bookshelves in total cost me $17.00. You can’t beat a price like that for something that promotes reading, looks fun and adds color to a room!

I was pleasently surprised at how many books these held. It’s hard to tell from the pictures but I have many books overlapping. Depending on the look you want, or the amount of books you have, you can really add a few or quite a bit. I’ve experimented and I can easily fit 15 -20 books on one shelf.

Lucas loves it! He pulls them off the shelves all the time and plays with them. He even let me read to him, him sitting in my lap- sitting still!- for 2 1/2 minutes which is the longest I’ve experienced since he has been mobile. We have boxes of books, some in our closet storage and some in the living room. I plan on switching out the books every couple weeks or so. Except for the board books; those will probably stay as we don’t have as many of those and he can’t tear the pages out!

Do you have rain gutter bookshelves? Have you thought about it? What is your current storage situation for your kids books? I would highly recommend rain gutters! So fun!

(Part two of rain gutter bookshelves is HERE. There is also a great tutorial on how to make them HERE.)

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

57 thoughts on “Rain Gutter Bookshelves

  1. Such a great idea! We used rain gutters mounted on the side of the house as planters. Who knew rian gutters could be so multi-functional?

  2. I love this idea! I just showed DH and he agreed and said he could do some this weekend. We've been looking for a “different” way to display the books at his level (32 inches at 14 months), and this is great!!!!

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