DIY: How to Build Your Own Built-In Shelves

4 Materials
1 Week

This tutorial will show you how to build your own custom DIY built-in shelves using ready assembled base cabinets.

Our finished DIY Built-Ins
Secure Base Cabinets to Wall

We opted to use ready-made base cabinets on the bottom of our built-ins to make the project easier for us.

Secure your base cabinets securely into the studs.

We wanted the middle to cabinets to stick out a little bit so we put 2x4's behind them to "bump them out" some.

Create top for base cabinets

We used plywood to create a top for the base cabinets. We finished the edges by attaching a 1x2 using wood glue and a brad nailer.

Create shelf "columns"

We built three separate shelf "columns" out of plywood on top of the base cabinets. Secure to studs.

Secure "columns" to both the wall and to each other.

Finish front edge with 1x2's

We covered the raw edge of the columns with a 1x2.

Trim out the top

We used a 1x5 and crown molding to trim out the top of the shelves.

Prime for paint

Prime everything with a coat of Bullseye Zinsser 123 Primer.

Determine how many shelves you want

We used painter's tape to determine how many shelves we wanted as well as the distance between them

Cut and paint shelfs

We cut plywood to make the shelves and trimmed out the front with a simple decorative piece of trim.

Prime each shelf for paint with primer.

Paint + Caulk

Caulk all seams and then Paint the entire unit with desired paint. We used a Sherwin Williams bright white in a semi-gloss.

Attach shelves

We used a Kreg Shelf Pin Jig to make the holes for the shelf brackets so that we could adjust them as needed.

Attach Shelves

After painting is complete, add knobs to the cabinet doors and you are ready to decorate and style your shelves.

See more details from this project on my blog.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 8 questions
  • Bry Bry on Aug 26, 2021

    Simply stunning! Since your ceilings are so high, the cabinet height looks very appropriate. What size are those base cabinets? Standard 36" height and 24" depth? I need something like this but 24" depth would stick out too far. Excellent job. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lisa Fauerbach Lisa Fauerbach on Aug 26, 2021

    Absolutely gorgeous!!

  • MaryPaula MaryPaula on Aug 26, 2021

    It looks fabulous. Great job! What was your project supply shopping list?



Join the conversation

2 of 51 comments
  • Linda Abate Linda Abate on Aug 27, 2021

    This wall unit is gorgeous. Such a great space for displaying some of your beautiful dishes, photos, plants, etc. Also with the cabinets below, a great hiding space for games, puzzles, toss pillows, etc. Beautiful job.

  • Debra Foreman Tillman Debra Foreman Tillman on Aug 27, 2021

    Very nice!!!!!!!!