How To Make A Shelf For A Curved Wall

Curved walls are one of the most gracious features in older homes. They add a sense of timelessness and history to any room, but they’re also notoriously tricky to decorate. Shelving is one of the hardest challenges—how do you make shelves fit against curved walls without looking like an afterthought? In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to create custom shelving that will accent your curved wall perfectly. All you need is a few basic tools, some plywood or MDF (medium density fiberboard), and a little elbow grease. With these instructions and inspiration, you’ll be on your way to updating your home in no time

Measure the wall.

  • Measure the wall. It’s important to get an accurate reading of your space so that you can build a shelf that fits perfectly in place.
  • Mark all the measurements on graph paper or some type of ruler, and make sure they’re precise (they should be). You’ll need the measurements of the following:
  • Length and width of your wall (this is simple)
  • Distance between ceiling and floor (this is also easy)
  • Distance between window/door/entryway to wall (you may want something more specific than just “distance” here; make sure you know what it is)

Find the center line.

  • Use a tape measure to find the center point on your wall.
  • Use a level to make sure it’s perfectly straight.
  • Lay out your shelf with a straightedge and mark where its edges need to be cut by making small dents in the wood with a hammer or screwdriver. If you have access to power tools, use them instead; this will save you time and effort down the road (and prevent any accidents).
  • Use a chalk line ($10) if you don’t have access to power tools or want something that requires little effort on your part; this tool allows you to trace out exactly what should be cut without having to worry about guessing how far away from the edge of your board each line should fall when marking off where they need to go using ordinary chalk or pencils (which are hard materials). You’ll just need some string ($5) as well as some weights that weigh at least 10 pounds each ($5 each). You may also purchase metal tacks ($8 per pound) if necessary but these aren’t necessary unless they come with your purchase of string, which is unlikely because they’re usually sold separately from one another due to how cheaply priced both items can be found being sold individually locally within most communities across America today

Cut out the back and sides of your shelf.

After you’ve drawn a pencil sketch of your shelf, it’s time to cut out the back and sides of your shelf. There are several ways to do this, but I prefer the router method because it gives me the most control over exactly where I’m cutting.

For a router bit that will cut through even thick plywood, use a straight cutter with two flutes (or “teeth”). Cut two pieces at once for speed and efficiency

Nail or glue shelves to the back.

Nail or glue shelves to the back.

Use a nail gun or glue to secure your shelf in place.

Make sure that the shelf is level and flush with the wall, as you are ready to install it.

With a hammer, tap gently on each edge until they pop into place.

Apply wood glue to the sides of the shelves and onto the side of the wall.

  • Apply wood glue to the back and sides of the shelves, then set them into place on the wall.
  • Apply wood glue to the wall where you want to place your shelves, and let it dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding.
  • With a small brush or rag, apply a thin layer of wood glue to both sides of your decorative trim pieces (or other edging), then press them onto the edges of each shelf with spacers in between each piece if necessary so they don’t overlap. Let it dry for 24 hours before moving forward with attaching screws through pre-drilled holes into studs behind them (if possible) into your wall structure; otherwise use anchors that better suit your situation if necessary instead.

Insert into place and add finishing touches, such as a crown molding top.

Now that you’ve measured, marked and cut your shelf, it’s time to install it in place. Insert the shelf into its final location and set it level from side-to-side and front-to-back. Use a level on top of the shelf to check for horizontal alignment; if the shelf is crooked at this point, there’s no way to fix it without removing it from its spot—so make sure that everything is perfectly straight before proceeding

Once you’ve made sure your shelf is level, use pencil marks as guides for where you need to cut off excess material with a saw (or whatever tool will allow you to make straight cuts). Then take out either a hammer or nail gun and nail down any remaining pieces of wood sticking up above the rest of your project’s surface area (this makes certain that nothing gets bumped out of place later). If necessary, fill in any gaps left behind after cutting by sanding down those areas until they’re flush with what’s already glued together during construction—then just enjoy looking at how awesomely finished this part looks

Be creative

  • You can use a variety of materials to create a shelf.
  • You can use a variety of tools to create a shelf.
  • You can use a variety of materials to create the shelf.
  • You can use a variety of tools to create the shelf.
  • Materials include wood, plastic, metal and more!


As you can see, making a shelf for a curved wall is not only possible, but it’s not that hard to do either. It may take some time to measure and cut the wood, but with our help you will have your shelves up in no time.

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