Arches aren’t really my enemies. They used to be but I think I’ve finally gotten the better of them and now I’ll take on a more charitable attitude towards them. Oh those cute little darlings.
I’m SUPER DUPER excited about how my bookshelves are coming along! I know some of you want a tutorial. I’ve been working on this room for about 3 weeks and it is way too involved for me to write a quick tutorial on how to slap up custom built-ins in one post. I can share the steps that went into building my library bookshelves. Maybe it will help guide your project.
Steps to building custom Built-In bookshelves.
1. Stare at your empty room. (If your room is full of junk, empty it — then stare at it.)
2. Visualize your room as you want it to be. You might imagine 6 different possibilities. Pick the one that you like the best. (If you are having trouble visualizing, go to Pinterst or Google and search for images that inspire you.)
Build a base.
Get all your bookshelves spaced evenly according to your vision and secure them to the wall.
Attach face frames.
And then keep adding more and more details until you achieve your vision.Did that help?
If you have specific questions regarding any of these steps, or built ins in general, leave them in the comments and I’ll see if I know the answer. If I do, I’ll share.
Thank you so much for posting your progress with your bookcases! It is really inspirational and I hope to start a similar project very soon! This may sound like a pretty naive question- but how do you determine the depth of your shelving for bookcases and closet shelving? Are these standard measurements?
That’s a good question Greta. I decide how deep I WANT them to be. The standard depth for closet shelving is 18″ but I wanted mine 24″. The standard depth for bookshelves if 12″ but I want mine 14″ because I want to make sure even large books will fit. If you want to be able to store decorative baskets and other chzatchkies on it, I generally do 14-16″ especially if I have a deep base cabinet underneath. I don’t like a huge step back from top to bottom. 2-4″ is what I like for that. So, if you have 18″ deep base cabinets (say you want to store all your board games…) then I’d go 14-16″ on the top.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of choice. That’s the beauty of doing custom, you get to do exactly what works for YOU.
Oh gosh, I remember that post, but only read the first part. I assumed that you were saying it was impossible and stopped reading. 🙁 ADD wins again. lol Thank you AGAIN!
Ronda Batchelor says
I was going to do arches on my book cases but in the end there wasn’t enough room. But out of curiosity how did you get the curve in your arches and what did you cut them with
The old nails and bendy piece of wood trick and my new band saw. I’m posting a tutorial tomorrow on the arches.
It looks like your face frames are made of MDF as well. What do you have to do to the cut edges to make them ready for painting?
They are. I don’t use MDF for faceframes if I’m attaching doors on the faceframe but I’m not adding doors here so it’s all good. Here are my tips for getting smooth MDF edges when painting: http://www.sawdustgirl.com/2012/02/08/how-to-paint-mdf-and-get-smooth-edges/
Liz VanKirk says
It’s coming along great! I’ve been checking every few hours to see if it was posted. I would love to have a bookshelf/desk combo for the corner of our living room. That’s where we keep our home computer. Out in the open for us to keep a parents eye on the computer while in use. Did you ever build one of those?
Well yes, a few in fact. 🙂
Jimminy Crickets Woman!!! Those are all gorgeous!!!
I can’t wait to see this done!!!! I’m trying to plan a project like this for my office, so question … Why so much space around the perimeter between the bookcase and the wall?
I just can’t stinkin’ wait to see this done!!!
Julie @ follow your heart woodworking says
Great work, Sandra!!
Holy moly! You’re wonder woman!
I can’t wait to see the finished product!
Wow, they look awesome! I like that you added arches. They really make the shelves pop. I can’t wait to see them completed. Keep up the great work! 🙂
Your site is soooo inspiring. Thank you. Looking forward to the update. I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful paint on your walls as well. Could you tell me the name of it? Is it as pretty in person as it is in the photos?
Thank you Laura. I don’t know what that paint color is. It was in the house when we bought it. It’s all getting painted over. I do like the color but hate the texture. 🙂
Melanie @ SpareTimeCity.blogspot.com says
I’m helping a friend so some built-ins for her home office… How much space do you recommend leaving between the top of the bookcases and the ceiling if you plan to trim in with crown moulding? And how much space do you recommend between each case? Thanks so much! Your work is amazing. And inspiring!
Well I’d measure how far the crown comes down the wall when it’s in place at the proper angle. Then make sure your faceframe goes up an inch or two higher than the bottom of the crown so you have something to nail the crown onto.
As far as in between the cabinets? That’s a matter of preference. Whatever you want. If you want the cabinets to but up next to each other then you could do a 2″ faceframe. Or, you could leave some space between the cabinets if you want wider faceframes. I’ve done it both ways. It’s just a whatever then end look that you are going for decision. You could do it 10 different ways.
Great job! Few questions for you.
1. How did you attach to the wall? Just through the top stretcher?
2. How did you join the cabs together? Did you screw into your spacer blocks? If so, how do you hide the screws? just paint over?
3. Would you recommend using MDF or real wood for the face frames (with no doors)? Does the MDF chip after a while or does the paint stay on well?
4. If weight is not an issue (I will have help) would you recommend MDF or plywood?
5. If I use plywood, can I use the cheaper “sanded” or should I just pay the premium and go with birch?
Thanks, LOVE this site!
Love, love, LOVE the site! I’m thrilled to find someone with the same interests, although you’ve clearly kicked it up a thousand notches! My questions for you are: Did you use MDF for the shelves, too, and what would you say the longest span is that you’d want for a shelf (before it would tend to readily bow) before you should just build another bookcase?
Thanks so much!