UncategorizedDIY Built-ins January 18, 2014 Thank y’all for your patience with this post. I know it’s been several days coming, but I’m finally feeling back to normal! One of my big must-haves for this house was a wall of built-in bookshelves. I wanted a library feeling wall and lights overhead. I’m so thankful for handy hubby for many reasons, but while I had a vision for these, these wouldn’t have happened without Chris’ mad carpentry skills. Here’s how we created our built-ins according to Chris, the Handy Hubby. With the new open floor plan, this was the only available wall in our living room. I knew I wanted the built-ins in there to house our television. This was an old laundry room and on closing day, Chris knocked it down first. That left us with a long flat wall. Materials: 4×8′ sheets of MDF – you will need 12″x8′ sheets to make the sides of the bookshelves. You can buy those already pre-cut to that size, but it’s much cheaper to buy 4×8′ sheets and cut them down using a table saw. Plywood Sheets Peg Board How we made them: 1. Drill Holes for Shelves Although this seems out of order, it’s easiest to drill your holes for shelves in the bookshelf sides before they’re put together. To ensure that all of the holes were at the same height. Chris cut a piece of peg board the same width as our shelf sides. He marked which holes of the peg board he wanted to use. Then, he used that as a “pattern” of sorts. He clamped it to each side and drilled through the marked holes. Make sure you don’t drill all the way through the board, though. This way, each side has the same holes at the same heights. 2. Build the Boxes Each box is made up of 12″ x 8′ MDF boards for the sides and the top and bottom are 12″ wide boards. We wanted our middle box wider so that the TV would fit. We measured our TV and left about three inches on each side of it. That’s the best part about making your own – you can completely customize them to your space! We placed the top and bottom of each box eight inches from the ceiling and the floor. We left the room at the ceiling so that there would be room to install the lights and we wanted the bottom to match. We used a nail gun to put the boxes together. 3. Install backs After you build your boxes, you want to install plywood on the back of the shelves against the wall. You want to use plywood for this instead of MDF because it’s a 1/4 inch thick and MDF doesn’t come that thin. 1/4″ inch plywood is always used for backing. After the backing is in, you will need to use shims to level your boxes. Put your level on the bottom shelf and add shims under the box sides to make it level if it isn’t already. Once they are level, screw the boxes to the floor, the back wall, and the ceiling to secure them. You want to do this in those eight inches that we left above and below the actual shelves so that these screws will not show in your finished product. 4. Trim it Out After you build the boxes and put in the wood backs, you want to add your trim. You can see some of this in the photo above. If you want to have lights on the top, run your wires before putting your face board up. Hold your face board in place to measure the center of each shelf. That’s where you will cut the holes and install junction boxes. Nail up the face board once your wires are run to the junction boxes. (If you don’t have experience with wiring, I would enlist help here). We put a small piece of trim at the top of the face board to minimize the gap between the ceiling and the face board. We replicated the same process on the bottom, obviously without the holes or junction boxes. We also faced the box sides with three inch pieces of trim. We mirrored the craftsman style of our doors on the end of the bookshelves to give it a little character. FYI, the lights are outdoor lanterns from Home Depot that we got for around $20 each. 5. Install Shelves Using shelf brackets from Home Depot, install shelves at whatever height you would like. We used MDF for the shelves in each side bookshelf, but for the center, we used plywood. Anytime you’re getting over three feet long for a shelf, use plywood or it could dip in the center. Plywood is stronger. After it’s all put together, you just have to paint and style! I definitely love having them…a place for all my books and pretties.