DIY Cookbook Stand

DIY cookbook stand

Y’all probably know by now that I love cooking. And books. One of my home decor goals is to have books in every room of the house (except the bathrooms because that’s not my thing). In the kitchen, that’s cookbooks. I know a lot of recipes are online now, but there are some bloggers and chefs whose recipes I love so consistently that I like to buy and use their cookbooks, too. My favorites are Half Baked Harvest, Ottolenghi, and Samin Nosrat. I’ve never owned a cookbook stand, though, so I usually end up using scissors to weigh down the pages and keep my cookbooks open. I finally decided enough was enough, and I made a DIY cookbook stand. Adulting level unlocked.

This project is pretty easy as long as you have some means of cutting the wood pieces. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a 1″ x 12″ board around 4 feet long
  • rough and fine grit sandpaper (I used 80 grit and 240 grit)
  • a speed square or angle measure
  • A saw (I used a table saw because that’s what I have, but a circular hand saw would probably work better)
  • wood glue
  • three 1 1/2″ screws
  • wood stain (I like AFM Safecoat Durotone because it’s more eco-friendly and easier to clean up than an oil based stain)
  • optional: polyurethane sealer
  • a paintbrush for staining
  • a long drawer pull or cabinet handle
  • optional: decoration (more on that later)

Steps to make a DIY cookbook stand:

Prep your wood. It’s much easier to sand when it’s one long board, before it gets cut into pieces. Then you just have to clean up the edges after making your cuts. Start with a rough grit sandpaper (I used 80 grit). After the first pass with the rough grit, give it a pass with a finer grit (I used 240) to smooth it. This will help the wood take the stain better.

Cut your wood pieces. Cut a 12″ wide piece and a 2″ wide piece off the end of the board so you have a 12″ x 12″ piece and a 2″ x 12″ piece. Then cut two triangular pieces; these will be the stand’s supports, kind of like the back of a picture frame. I used a speed square, so my supports were 7″ on each of the equal sides of the supports (remember geometry class? we’re making an isosceles triangle). The angles of my supports were 45 degrees. Here’s a picture, which makes this way easier to follow than a bunch of angle references:

pieces of the DIY cookbook stand

One note on the angle of the support pieces: 45 degrees will help your book sit at a good angle to read from while you’re cooking. If you want something that is more upright and decorative, I would suggest using a sharper angle, maybe 60 degrees. Or you can do what I did, and prop the cookbook stand up against the wall when it’s not in use. (shoutout to Amanda for that ingenious idea!)

Next, use the wood glue to attach the triangular pieces to the back of the 12″ square piece. Glue along the hypotenuse (more geometry! the side opposite the right angle!). Here’s a picture if my nerdiness is getting confusing:

diy cookbook stand supports attached

Quick note on this picture-I was using some wood I already had on hand and which I had stained for another project. That’s why the stand is already partially stained here. You’ll do all your staining at a later step if you’re making this DIY cookbook stand from scratch.

Once the wood glue on the supports is dry, drill the holes where your drawer handle/cabinet pull will go on the 2″ x 12″ piece. The 2″ piece will sit on the front of the stand; it’s what the cookbook will rest on. The cabinet pull is what will hold your book open. I forgot to get a picture of the drilling process, but you’ll want to do this before you attach that 2″ piece. Here’s what the holes should look like (make sure to get them close to the front edge so you have space for your book:

holes drilled for cookbook support

Then, attach the 2″ piece to the front of the 12″ square piece, on the opposite side from the triangular supports. I used clamps because I have them and clamps make everything easier. If you don’t have clamps, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you freehand it. Or grab a friend to hold it for you. I attached the two pieces using three 1 1/2″ screws through the back of the square piece. I considered just using wood glue, but I was more confident that screws would hold the weight of a book without issue:

Now the structure of the cookbook stand is done! From here, follow the directions on your chosen product to stain the wood. Once the stain dries, you have the option of adding a coat of polyurethane sealer. It’s probably not strictly necessary from a durability standpoint, since the cookbook stand shouldn’t be getting a lot of rough use. I mostly added polyurethane to mine because the AFM Safecoat Durotone stain I like to use looks a little uneven and chalky without a sealer. Polyurethane makes the color look richer and glossier. I made my cookbook stand with the same color as our farmhouse table, which is the Durotone in Cognac.

Your last step before attaching your drawer pull/handle is to add any decoration you want. There are a lot of options here. I used my Silhouette to cut vinyl for my lettering. If you’re good at hand-lettering, you can totally freehand it. I am terrible at hand lettering, so I’ve also used stencils in the past. There’s a tutorial for stenciling in our DIY wood quote sign post. You can also use stickers, decoupage…the sky’s the limit!

Your last step is adding the drawer pull to the front of your sign. It should just be screwing the hardware that came with the pull through the holes you drilled. Then you’re done!

diy cookbook stand displaying "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi

What do you think? Are you ready to make your own DIY cookbook stand? What are your favorite kitchen/food related quotes for decorating? We’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or on social media. And consider signing up for our email newsletter for monthly updates and bonus content!

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