How to Do Built in Book Shelves

5 Materials
$800
3 Days
Medium

This was intimidating for me. By far the longest project I’ve taken on. I learned a lot and the wife loves it...so...here’s how I did it!!

how to do built in book shelves

I carefully took out the trim so I could reuse it on the front🙌🏼

how to do built in book shelves

I made simple kick plates (if that’s what they’re called?!) which allowed me to buy cheaper cabinets. This wall is 13’ long so I made two 6 1/2’ boxes.

how to do built in book shelves

I evenly spaced four cabinets and since the tops were hollow, and I wanted more meat to screw through to help hold the long shelf, I added scrap pieces inside making sure they were level and flush.

how to do built in book shelves

Here’s a better picture of what I was trying to accomplish by adding some rigidity to the cabinet tops before the shelf went on!! I held the scraps in place with liquid nail and clamps.

how to do built in book shelves

I made the shelf from two 14’ pieces of pine. Glued them together, sanded, wood filled and sanded again😜 I used smaller plywood pieces to fill the gaps between the cabinets and used liquid nail to hold them in place along with a few pocket hole screws in the back of them to attach it to the bottom section.

how to do built in book shelves

Then it was time to make 4 HUGE book shelves. I used 3/4” plywood and planned ahead for my lighting...I used a router to carve out space for all the led wire...spoiler alert....I didn’t need to. 😂

how to do built in book shelves

I did make a diagram of all the cable paths and I thought I was really doing some cool work for a second😂😂

how to do built in book shelves

I put a few book shelves up to make sure they fit and realized the ceiling wasn’t square (should’ve guessed that) so I had a few “tight” fits but made them work...and magic erased the ceiling...

how to do built in book shelves

I pushed the left side over and made a mark on the crown molding so I could cut as precise as possible.

how to do built in book shelves

I made the other two a bit shorter so I could avoid the ceiling scuffs. These 90 degree clamps saved my life on this project!!!! If you don’t have them yet, I highly recommend them.

how to do built in book shelves

I used dimmable led lights I got on Amazon and hot glue to hold the wire in place. I knew that I could trim the front of this out to hide the wire but I still tried to keep it high and tight!

how to do built in book shelves

This was the half way celebration 🎉🎉🥃

how to do built in book shelves

oh yeah!!!! Almost trim and paint time!!! Oh wait....I still have to trim and paint?!?!😢

how to do built in book shelves

2” trim covered all the wire and light so I cut a lot of 2” pine and lightly sanded all of it. I ran all the vertical pieces then measured and cut the horizontal pieces one at a time. I made sure everything was level as I attached them.

A LOT of wood filler, sanding and about 4 coats of paint...I’ll hire that part out next time😂🥳

how to do built in book shelves
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Rena Noele
    on Jun 9, 2019

    BRILLIANT! So incredibly, professionally made. I need to see how you either notched or somehow made room for the black cord as they crossed the vertical sections to keep the wires from being pinched. I'm impressed how you skillfully snaked the wire around each section to culminate to one switch. Please post a close up?

    • Gulf Coast Sun
      18 hours ago

      Having a small house leaves me little in storage, but you gave me an idea to use the space (4' h x 10' w) below all the large windows. Thank you for the instructions and pictures. Your final product came out wonderful.

  • Did you buy prefab lower cabinets? If so, from where? They look very solid and substantial, not cheap.

  • Gyula
    Yesterday

    What did you use as backer for the shelves?

Join the conversation

2 of 70 comments
  • Teri
    An hour ago

    Beautiful

  • Bbunny42
    30 minutes ago

    Absolutely fantastic! I'll bet your wife is singing your praises to all your friends ... and well, she should. Great job!

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