How To Build Recessed Shelves

Are you wondering how to build recessed shelves? Turn a plain area into a dramatic show case in a few hours with a few simple tools and some paint.

Things you'll need:

  • Choice of wood for the project
  • Paint in the color of your choice
  • Wallboard saw
  • Nails and wood screws
  • Stud finder
  • Wood finish (optional)
  • Power saw
  1. Locate and mark the studs to be cut on either side. It is best to remove only one stud whether the wall is a load bearing wall or not.
  2. Cut out a small area. Inspect the area to be sure the location where the shelving will be is free of existing wires and pipes.
  3. When you are satisfied with the location, cut out the area for the recessed shelves. Make sure to angle the saw inwards at a 45 degree angle. This will prevent your wall unit from slipping backwards into the wall.
  4. Cut the wood to desired length and width for backing, rim and shelves. Use a power saw for straight edges. A frame is optional. If choosing to use wood to frame the project make sure to cut the wood at this time as well using a 45 degree angle.
  5. Mark where the shelves will fit into the unit. Apply the glue then clamp the rims and shelving in place. Secure by drilling pilot holes, followed with wood screws. Nail or use wood screws to secure the backing.
  6. Finish the wood. Stain or paint the wood to desired color.
  7. Place shelving unit in the wall. Test to make sure you have the proper fit between the remaining studs on either side of the unit. Shim the unit into place, making sure the edge of the unit is level and even with the wall. Secure the unit to the wall. If framing, position the face frame and nail into place using counter sink nails.
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