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How to Make Book Slings

When it comes to kids’ book storage, I really don’t think you can beat book slings. They are a simple DIY that is space efficient, budget-friendly, hold a ton of books, and are easy to personalize. In fact, I like them so much that I have made them twice!

I made my first set of book slings a few years ago while pregnant with boy #2, but I’m going to throw it out there again since 98% of my current readers probably haven’t seen that post. Plus I just love them… I mean, we’re renovating the room, and these are the only things that are staying.

So here is the new set –

Kids book storage

and here is the old one.

fabric book slings

I made this new set all the same size rather than three different sizes. I liked the variation, but honestly, no one ever put the books back in the appropriately sized book sling (myself included).

So here is how you make these bad boys –

How to Make a Sling Bookcase

Choose your fabric

You will need approximately 1 1/3 yards per book sling. I choose this bandana fabric for my boys’ slowly progressing cowboy room.

*Click here for my favorite places to buy fabric online*

bandana fabric

Wash your fabric

Before you start making book slings, you will need to wash and dry your fabric. I know, I hate this step too…but do it anyway. Does anyone remember when I didn’t prewash my dining room curtains, and they shrank A FOOT? Not fun… wash your fabric.

Cut to size

I cut my fabric into 42 x 40-inch rectangles. You can make them 42 inches x whatever length works for you, 40 inches is just what happened to fit between the two doors in my boy’s room.

cutting fabric for book slings


The first step to sewing your book slings is to fold your fabric in half, patterned sides together (so mine was 21 X 40 inches), and sew everything together except half of a short side.

how to sew a book sling

Then pull it inside out…

inside out

and fold the raw edges in and sew it closed.

sew it closed

The last sewing step is to make a pocket for the dowels. Fold over each long edge by two inches and sew.

sewing a book sling

Hang them up

To hang the slings you will need to buy a set of double curtain rod brackets and two dowels per book sling (I used 3/4 dowels). For a cleaner, less rustic look you can use two curtain rods instead or dowels. Or, to be super chic you could use something like this.

Make sure you are screwing the curtain hooks into studs, they will be holding a lot of weight. Also, some overly energetic and highly rambunctious children may use the slings as a ladder to try and reach the light switch…

double curtain bracket for book slings

And that’s it! Such a simple, practical DIY that also happens to be really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking (name that movie)

book slings in a cowboy room

childrens book storage

fabric bookcase

These slings hold a ton of books and are surprisingly sturdy. We’ve had them for about 2.5 years, and they haven’t sagged at all.

I also love that the covers face forward, instead of being squished against each other and out of sight. It makes it really easy for my kids to pick a book at night and keeps them from pulling every book off the shelf to find the one they want. Not that my boys would ever dare be so messy, obviously. They also never rip pages out of books or beat the stink out of each other. And every night they thank me for cooking a healthy dinner before quietly putting themselves to bed.

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  1. This is an interesting idea! How do they compare to normal bookcases? Have you had any problems with paperback books getting squished/folded/bent by heavier books?
    (Also LOL! Zoolander quote!)

  2. WOW! I am really impressed! I can think of 10,000 (well, maybe not 10,000 but a lot!) of ways to use this. Thanks so much for a really great idea.

  3. Long time lurker, first comment! I randomly found the old version of this post last week and am now planning to make a few book slings for my baby’s room. It’s great to hear your update about the various sizes, not worth the effort to make different sizes if they aren’t used. The thing I like best about this project is that even if he somehow pulls the sling down it won’t be a huge book shelf that falls, just a few books and some fabric. Thanks for the tutorial(s)!

  4. #1: Show off! (that’s about that perfectly clean and organized kids’ closet that’s peaking in the picture)
    #2: I loved-loved-loved your idea from the original post long time ago and copied it. A couple of months ago I decided to re-do it with… clear plastic sheets and special double stick tape from a craft store. It was more $$ but now I can see the books through the plastic sheeting + it is totally wipeable from fingerprints.
    Thank you, as usual, for creative and workable ideas. Love your blog!!

    1. Clear plastic slings is a great idea, and bonus points for being wipeable!

      Also, about the closet…there is about 8 inches of space to the left that hides behind the wall that the slings are on. There is a literal MOUNTAIN of random stuff piled up back there, just out of sight. Sometimes I leave my messes because I want people to know that life is messy and that’s okay, and sometimes they are so huge and distracting that I have to hide them.

  5. Great redo on an already cute idea, love the bandana material, looking forward to seeing the rest of the room! And boys will be boys, we know they are perfect little messes!

  6. Hi! Can you please tell me where you got those drawers inside the closet pictured to the right of your awesome book slings?

  7. Ashley this is simply a fabulous idea, I shared it on our Reading Pinterest board this week and clearly others feel the same way too with hundreds of repins. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing, can’t wait to make my own for the kids.

    1. Are you kidding..thank YOU for sharing! I saw saw a spike in traffic on that post and found your pin earlier today…can’t believe how many repins it has already. You’re going to love the slings, they’re so functional (for both you and the kids.)

      1. I’m actually not on Google Plus…I try to only use a few forms of social media so that I don’t go crazy. I’m excited about pin if the week (and it looks like you get lot’s of engagement on G+)!

  8. “really really ridiculously good looking”


    Disappointed it hadn’t been pointed out already haha. Also, that’s such a great idea for a way to store books!

  9. I love love love these and want to make a set for my little guy’s nursery, but shew, the rod holders are kind of pricey if you want multiple slings! Do you have any budget friendly ideas?

  10. Wonderful directions!! I am a novice user of the sewing machine. Just learned how to plug in the machine & thread the needle less than a month ago. I have made three pillows – and then tackled book slings with your post as my guide and inspiration. Thank you!
    I also used your post on making your own curtain rods. We’ve created a reading nook out of a dormer window area in our girls’ room. I sewed curtains (my fourth sewing project ever!) and then we hung them across the opening. Your ideas didn’t fit our situation, but they gave us the courage to think outside the box. Thank you again! I would love to share pics with you if I knew how to send/attach them! :)

    1. So glad the instructions worked for you! I’ve been sewing for a long time now (bought my machine about 10 years ago) and am still a complete novice. I do great with square things (like pillows, curtains, book slings, bedding) but anything more complicated makes me want to throw my machine against the wall. Luckily I don’t have a need to sew many non-square things! I would love to see pics, if you’d like you can e-mail them to me at [email protected].

  11. I love this! But what I must really know is where is your rug from? Please tell me it’s diy ad you have a post about it!

  12. I’m really enjoying your blog. I noticed in your book collection, the one at the top that says “Fables.” We have the same book and for the life of me, I have no idea where it came from, how we got it, etc, but it is the weirdest little fables book. Some of them we get, and others we find ourselves scratching our heads about. Love the book slings!

  13. Hi there! I love this idea. I am having a hard time finding the double brackets. Where did you get them? Thanks!

  14. Thanks for the tutorial! I have been looking for a way to store my kids books. This will be perfect!

  15. Where did you get the 3/4 4ft. dowels?
    I’ve looked at Hobby Lobby & Home Depot with no luck; they only have 3ft dowels.

    1. I bought mine at Home Depot, but that was about six years ago. Actually…I seem to remember buying one really long one and cutting it down myself.

  16. Great idea for a new parents. Thinking of making a few for Christmas gifts. Thanks for the idea.

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