In this super simple DIY tutorial we will show you how to create sturdy invisible bookends.

Invisible Bookends

After we built our floor to ceiling industrial shelves in our library it was a common occurrence for our large and really heavy books to just fall off the ends of our shelves. They would make a booming noise as they slammed against the tile below. No matter where we were in the house when books would fall it would scare us half to death.

We would joke that it must have been Walter (our friendly house ghost). It is a joke Brent and I have to blame Walter when doors get left open or lights start to flicker, the cat gets shut in a random room or books randomly fall off the shelf.

The truth was we had no bookends for our shelves so I tried to use our heaviest books on the end to act as bookends and keep the rest of the books propped up because I liked the books being able to free stand without anything pushed up against them. This worked for awhile until the weight of the books was too substantial for the large book and it came crashing down to the floor.

Thank goodness the cat was never walking by when that happened! We needed a lot of bookends for our large shelves and didn’t want to spend a ton of money on them. To keep the shelves from looking extremely cluttered, we planned to incorporate only a few decorative bookends and have the rest be as concealed as possible.

Even better would be if they were invisible. This is not a new concept, invisible bookends, but we challenged ourself to try and make them with materials we already had in our garage and found a straightforward way to make them that worked like a charm. They are both durable and simple to “install”.

Today we are sharing our technique for creating the visual effect of having books appear to be standing on their own but are actually being held nice and secure in place.



  • 1 sheet of 16 gauge sheet metal
  • Scrap Wood
  • Sharpie

  • Offset snips
  • Clamp
  • Ruler

Invisible Bookends

HOW TO MAKE A DIY Log Side Table

Invisible Bookends
1. First we used a ruler to mark the correct size for the bookend on the piece of sheet metal. It is easiest to use a sharpie to draw on the metal. The width of the bookend should be at least two inches smaller than the book’s width.

The height of the piece of sheet metal needs to be almost twice the height of the book because you will be folding the piece of metal in half and you want it tall enough to support the book without sticking out the top.

Invisible Bookends
2. Once the size of the bookend was marked, we used a pair of snips to cut the metal. If you are planing on buying snips, pick a pair out that is angled and the blades turn at the end like this one.

The angled pairs are made to be specific for the right or left hand so be sure to pick the tool that matches your dominant hand. The angle in the tool works well for long cuts because the handles does not interfere with cutting the material.

Invisible Bookends
3. Finally, we bent the sheet metal in half. In order to bend the piece of metal it is helpful to clamp the sheet metal under a block of wood. The wood provides a straight edge for the metal to bend over. The bend should be made at the center of the piece of metal. Once the bend reaches 90 degree the bookend is finished.

Invisible Bookends
4. To make the bookend “invisible” place the vertical piece of metal inside the front cover.

Invisible Bookends
When you place additional books next to this book they will cover up the bottom piece of sheet metal making it appear as if the books are free standing on their own with no support. That means your invisible bookend is working!

Invisible Bookends
Our invisible bookends were a lifesaver on our shelves. The danger of falling books has now been prevented! Hidden sheet metal bookends are a great solution for keeping shelves clean and uncluttered. They also make for the perfect alternative if you don’t have a cat to hold up your books.


Invisible Bookends