DIY: How to Build Your Own Built-In Shelves

Home and Hallow
by Home and Hallow
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.

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Home and Hallow
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 11 questions
  • Melitha Melitha on Oct 24, 2021

    Can this be modified for a bathroom? Make the bottom cabinets the same size. Make the two side shelves the same front size to match the bottom cabinets. The center would be where the sink would be located, over the two center bottom cabinets. The area above the sink the mirror would be located there. Above the mirror the light fixture. Add a shelf above the mirror and two side shelves, all the way across.

    I think would be beautiful!

  • Edreddic95 Edreddic95 on Aug 26, 2022

    How to repair a hole in the wall

  • Mcgypsy9 Mcgypsy9 on Aug 27, 2022

    It’s absolutely gorgeous! I’m wondering, did you put the 2x4’s all the way down behind the base cabinet in the middle? Thanks!

Join the conversation
2 of 54 comments
  • Brenda Brenda on Aug 27, 2022

    Great job. It’s beautiful. I didn’t think all white decor in shelves would be eye appealing. But this is gorgeous. Changed my mind. You better go to next project, you nailed this one.

  • Tammy Tammy on Aug 31, 2022

    I would not have thought to use ready made cabinets for the bottom. Great idea! I love how this turned out.