How To Make In Wall Shelves

Most of us don’t have room in our homes for all the things we want to store and display. In Wall Shelves are a great way to add some storage space without taking up valuable floor space. With a little planning and the right tools, it is not that difficult to make these in wall shelves.

Turn Off Power.

  • Turn off the electricity.
  • Turn off the power at the circuit breaker, fuse box and/or switch. In most homes it’s called “the main” or “breaker box.” It should be located near or in your basement or garage (often near a first-floor electrical panel).
  • Turn off the electricity for a few seconds and then turn it back on again to make sure that you’ve removed all power from that area of your home.

Measure Wall Space.

In order to properly measure your wall, you’ll need to consider the width of your shelf, the depth of your shelf, and its height. You will also want to know how far away from the wall you want it installed, as well as how far away from the wall you want it placed. The last thing that you will need is information about where exactly on the wall you plan on installing this shelf.

For example: If I were trying to install an 8x4x10 inch in-wall bookshelf into my bedroom (which has a standard 2×4 stud layout) then I would have already taken care of all of these measurements before even thinking about doing any work.

Cut Out Drywall and Add Insulation.

Next, you need to cut out the drywall and add insulation.

  • Use a drywall saw to cut through the drywall.
  • Use your stud finder to identify where the studs are in your wall. This will help you avoid cutting into them as you install shelves on either side of them, because they’re holding up most of the weight that’s going to be placed on those shelves!
  • Cut off any excess fiberglass insulation with a utility knife or box cutter if there is any excess around where you are installing your new shelf. It should be at least 2 inches thick on each side, but no more than 3 inches total thickness for all sides combined (for example: 6″ wide by 2″ deep). You can use a pencil or pen mark on one side so that you know exactly how much needs trimming off before hammering down this piece into place and nailing it onto its frame posts using 1-3/8 inch galvanized nails spaced every 12 inches apart from one another—and make sure they’re hammered into place straight up against their adjacent piece first so they don’t bend outward later when someone bumps into them while walking across their path!

Make Your Frame.

  • Use a stud finder to locate the studs in your wall.
  • Use a level to make sure your frame is straight:
  • Drive in nails with a hammer, or use a nail gun if you have one. If you can’t drive those nails into drywall (the soft, 1/2-inch thick insulating material), check out our guide to installing these shelves without any special tools at all!
  • Mark where each stud is so you know where to attach your vertical posts and horizontal beams:
  • Attach framing pieces by nailing them directly into the studs using 1-1/2 inch finish nails (or longer ones if needed). If there are no studs behind the drywall where you want your shelf, don’t worry–you’ll be able to get through this step even without any special tools! Just skip ahead down there…

Add the End Panels.

  • Attach the end panels to the frame with drywall screws.
  • Attach the end panels to the wall with drywall screws.
  • Attach some drywall screws to the back of each end panel to keep them in place.
  • Add some drywall screws through one or more shelf slats and into both sides of the shelf unit frame for each row, as needed for stability and strength.

Put in the Shelf Slats.

Now that you have your frame assembled and holes drilled, it’s time to add the shelf slats. These should be made of wood and can be cut to size with a miter saw or table saw. The best size for your slats is about 3/4″ thick by 2″ wide by 1/4″ apart.

The spacing of these shelves will vary depending on how you want them to look, but generally speaking they should be spaced about 1″ from the edge of the frame . You can space them farther away from each other if you prefer an open feel for your shelves or closer together for something more compact and cohesive-looking.

Attach Molding to the Shelves.

Now, attach the molding to the back of your shelves. You can use nails or screws for this step. Nails work well if you have trouble with hammering and are worried about damaging your wall, but they will make it harder to adjust the shelf height later on. Screws are more convenient in this regard because they allow you to easily adjust where you put down miter joints and trim pieces later on. As such, they’re a good idea if this is something you’ll want to do often—you don’t want something as simple as moving an in-wall shelf up or down end up being difficult

With a little planning and the right tools, it is not that difficult to make these in wall shelves.

To begin, you need to be able to use a saw, a drill and a level. You will also require a tape measure. If you don’t have these tools already, it is recommended that you invest in them as they are an essential part of the DIY process. The last tool that is needed is a hammer which will help with tapping screws into place.


Thanks for checking out this tutorial! Now that you have the skills to make your own in-wall shelves, you don’t need to worry about running out of space. And with the help of friends and family who may not be as experienced with power tools, you can help them build their own small storage spaces. If you’re interested in learning more about home improvement projects like these, check out our other DIY posts here

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