How to build built ins

Hello hello!! I’m back today with an update on the dining room redo. Remember looong ago in January when I talked about turning our rarely never used dining room into a library kind of space?

I realized today that this will be a year-long transformation. ;) It’s not been hard, it’s just time consuming. Dad and I have been doing it together, but today I finished up a big chunk of it myself. And I’m getting really anxious to keep moving on it…I can really see the light!

The last time I updated you on this room, I mentioned the bookcases that Dad and I built. They were more of a “shell” then, but I finally got actual shelves installed today so I figured this would be a good time to share the how to.

We started with a really long board that would be the top of the bookcase. The base cabinets are exactly 12 feet long (four 36 inch cabinets) so we got a 1x12x12 board.

To figure out exactly where the supports would go, we laid it down on top of the butcher block first:

That way we could mark exactly where each support would go (between each 36” base cabinet).

See the mark?:

We constructed it laying down on the floor by screwing each support into the top 12 foot board:

Here’s a little drawing that shows you how it looked when we were done:

How to build a bookcase

We marked the EXACT middle of each board and screwed a long screw in the middle of each support (where you see arrows above). I screwed them in while Dad held the “vertical” boards and watched that the screws weren’t going off to the side or something.

Then we lifted it up on top of the bases:

how to build bookcases

I secured it to the ceiling beams and the side (where it is against the wall) with more screws to keep it stable for the time being.

Then it was time to do the shelf supports. I showed you how I did these in the pantry as well:

shelf supports bookcase

The back supports are screwed into studs in the wall, and the side supports are nailed in to the vertical boards. We started out by installing the side supports with screws, but then they would hit the support behind it and mess the leveling of the shelves up. We went to long nails with the nail gun instead and it went MUCH faster that way.

The trick is trying to get each set of supports exactly even with the next:

supports for bookcase shelves

Some are not perfectly perfect, but we felt pretty good with how they ended up. Trim will cover the supports and boards eventually, so they will (hopefully) hide all sins. :)

Then it was time to grab some more 1x12’s to make the shelves. I cut them down to the right sizes (each one is a different length – this thing is not exact) and nailed them into the supports:

A piece of trim will go vertically and horizontally to hide all the unfinished spots, and a thin piece of wood will finish off each shelf underneath:

I hope that makes sense!

Like I said, it’s not difficult, just time consuming. I always find that I try to make things much harder than they need to be. Dad always knows how to break it down to the easiest (and best) solution. :)

Annnnnd this is where we are now:

how to DIY built ins

You can see that we made the bottom shelf taller, so I can put bigger accessories and books down there.

There’s still SO MUCH to do. At least it feels like it. I am painting the back of the built ins a different color, so I’ll do that next. Then we need to install the header across the top, pull the wiring through and install the lights. Then the trim will go up (basically everywhere) and after that the JOYUS job of priming and painting. :)

Seriously can’t wait for that. Yay.

Considering where we started, I guess that to do list isn’t too bad:

chocolate brown dining room

I’m already more in love with it this way than I was as an unused dining room:

DIY built ins bookcase

It’s coming together! It’s going to take 12 months, but it’s coming together!! It would be so lovely to decorate these (finished?) bookcases for fall! But I’m realistically shooting for Christmas. :)

I’m sure I forgot some of the details, so if you have any questions on the progress so far, let me know and I’ll answer them in the comments.

Speaking of questions, I’ll be answering them all day long (until 5 p.m. EST) over at the True Value Facebook page tomorrow!

true value blog squad

Come on over and ask away! I’ll do my best to help you out! :)