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Custom Built-In Shelves

Design, fabricate and assemble built-in shelving solutions for your home. Learn new woodworking skills and techniques while creating beautiful, functional storage.
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Dive into making built-in shelves alongside carpenter and instructor Kyle Kwiatkowski. In this woodworking class, you'll get step-by-step guidance for everything from surveying your space to installing your shelving. Start by learning to design shelving that's perfect for your space and needs. Then, select the best materials for your shelving and create cut lists to determine how much material you need. From there, you'll see how to fabricate your uprights and shelves, and assemble your shelving unit. You'll also get Kyle's expert instruction on properly installing your shelves to the wall, and creating a beautiful finished product with face frames and molding. Plus, you'll pick up professional tips for patching up holes and fixing any imperfections.


Kyle Kwiatkowski


Kyle Kwiatkowski began woodworking at age 15, building makeshift furniture in his garage. He delved deeper into woodworking, attending the Red Rocks School of Fine Woodworking, where he is now an accredited instructor, teaching a range of classes and crafting a variety of products from musical instruments to fine furniture.

By This Expert

Planning & Design

01: Planning & Design

Meet woodworking expert Kyle Kwiatkowski and get an overview of shelving construction. Then begin by surveying the space where you want to install your shelves. Understand the features and limitations and take measurements before beginning the design process.

14 min
Determining Materials & Cut List

02: Determining Materials & Cut List

Whether you're displaying feathers or bowling balls, you'll want to choose an appropriate material for your shelves. Kyle discusses products such as MDF, particle board and plywood and shares tips for planning your parts list and laying out the cuts with a minimum of waste.

9 min
Fabricating the Upright

03: Fabricating the Upright

Kyle discusses wall structure and the importance of researching appropriate fasteners. See how to cut your uprights with a table saw and miter saw (you can also use a circular saw), checking first to make sure your cuts are square. Trim the uprights with a router to accommodate a nailer strip.

16 min
Fabricating the Shelves

04: Fabricating the Shelves

As Kyle prepares the shelving pieces and solid wood edging, he discusses using the correct saw blade and working safely with narrower pieces. Learn how to attach the edging to the shelves -- adding both a design element and stability -- using two different gluing and clamping methods.

15 min
Assembling the Pieces

05: Assembling the Pieces

Learn how to assemble the shelving pieces, following a layout you'll mark with Kyle's guidance. You'll also add the pinholes for the adjustable shelving using a pinhole jig. Kyle shows how to glue and then screw the tops and uprights together and attach the rigid shelves.

15 min

06: Installation

Your shelving is ready to install! Kyle walks you through the setup and demonstrates how to achieve a clean, level fit. Apply your facing pieces, caulk small gaps and prepare your surfaces for painting. Adjust the moveable shelves to suit your desires and enjoy your new, custom shelving!

16 min