Making custom shelves all on your own, with the knowledge that you just saved a lot of money and that you were able to finish a task most people leave to the professionals, can bring someone a lot of fulfillment. Building custom shelving, whether you want a glass shelf or a floating shelf, is a perfect project that will increase the amount of storage space you have throughout your home or garage.
To get started on your custom shelves, there are some tools you’ll need:
- A set of drill bits
- A cordless drill
- Drywall saw
- Forstner drill bits
- Framing square
- Carpenter’s glue
- Miter saw
- Orbital sander
- Pocket hole jig
- Safety glass
- Screw gun
- Stud finder
- Table saw
- Tape measure
- 1/16-inch-thick washers
- Silicone caulk
No matter what room you enter in your home, you’ll be able to find increased storage space located inside of drywall sheets. If the drywall is recessed, you can use that space for cabinets. This can be seen as a lot of wasted space that people can use for custom shelves, and there are a few ways to construct them all on your own.
Shelves With Glass Door Coverings
With the first method, you only require a few basic carpentry tools to get started. If you have a pocket hole jig, that’s a bonus. This method is perfect for those that have never even hit nails into planks before, and it should only take you a weekend to finish.
A shelving unit with glass door coverings is perfect to install in your bathroom to store your toothbrushes, dental floss, soaps, and anything else you have.
To get started, you’ll want to cut an inspection hole to see what you’re getting yourself into. Get your stud finder and ensure that the gap between your studs is 14.5 inches, at the minimum. Before getting ahead of yourself and slicing a large hole, cut a smaller one and do an inspection.
A compact mirror and a flashlight come in handy when doing this step. You’ll be able to see what’s behind the wall much easier with these products. Check to see if any wires or pipes will get in the way of your project.
If you notice that there are too many wires or pipes in the way, you’ll want to patch up your wall and seal it off before moving on to look for another area that might work better.
If you cut a small hole and did an inspection and found no obstruction in the way, you can now proceed to cut a larger hole in the wall. Make sure you use a pencil to do a layout on the wall to mark where you’re cutting. A drywall keyhole saw will be your first choice of tools to use for this step. Navigate the saw right along with the wall studs and then take out the drywall.
Taking Measurements For The Custom Shelves
After that, begin measuring the space located between the wall studs and then take off half of an inch to figure out how wide your cabinets will be. You’ll be measuring from the edge of the drywall all the way to the opening. Make sure you take off a quarter of an inch to figure out the depth of the cabinet that will be installed.
If your walls are constructed from 2×4 studs and half an inch drywall, you can easily just use 1×4 planks to construct your cabinet box.
Get a pegboard and start making the layout of where you will be drilling into. The holes will require a 1/4-inch drill bit. After you drill one hole successfully, get a clamp to attach the layout you’re using to it. A stop collar on the drill bit you’re using will ensure your holes won’t be going in too far or too little, and you’ll thank yourself later if you do this.
Begin to drill the holes for the pins that support the shelf. You might be wondering how far of a gap to leave between each hole you’re drilling. It’s best to leave about two inches in between your holes.
At this point, you need to drill clearance holes on each side before screwing in the top, bottom, and sides. Start to cut plywood that will be the back of your cabinet box. One recommendation here is to nail one side at a time.
After that’s done, make sure to take diagonal measurements to ensure your cabinet is completely square before you go ahead and begin nailing the sides and end.
Once that’s finished, you can start to cut your custom shelves to the proper length. To figure out the length of your shelves, take a measurement of the distance between the sides and then take off an eighth of an inch.
You can now go ahead and start to drill your pocket holes. Once they’re finished drilling, you’ll want to clamp your pocket hole guide to the face frame rail. Get your special stepped drill bit and begin drilling the remaining holes.
Face Frame Assembly
You can now cut the parts for your face frame. If you want, consider overlapping the inside edge of your cabinet about an eighth of an inch for a stylish effect. Start to drill your holes in the sides of your cabinet and then secure the face frame onto it using your pocket screws.
Some people don’t have a pocket hole kit. If you don’t have one, you’ll just nail your face frame parts directly to the cabinet using finish nails instead. There will be tiny holes left over after you do this, so you’ll want to get some finishing nails and fill in the holes after that.
Securing The Face Frame To The Cabinet Box
Drill some pocket holes around the perimeter of the cabinet box and then start to line up the face frame before clamping it in place. Get your pocket screws and begin to drill them into the pocket holes that you just finished drilling.
Installation Of The Cabinet
At this point, you can now insert the cabinet into place. Make sure to level off the cabinet and get your driving screws before popping them into the shelf support holes to fasten everything snugly. You’ll drill screws into the bottom and top of the cabinet. Once you’re done that, check if everything is still level.
If drilling the screws in has accidentally made things unlevel, loosen the screws or tighten them up to level things off again. After you’re done that, drill some more screws into the sides of the cabinet. You can also use nails right through the face frame of the cabinet.
Consider Adding In Glass Doors
Glass doors can make custom cabinets look a little more luxurious, and they are a perfect addition to use in any bathroom. If you’re going to consider this option, you’ll want to keep in mind that the doors require a very good fit, and they are a little more complicated than your standard door cabinets.
It always helps if you have a little woodworking experience, but it’s not mandatory.
Because pocket screw joints were used to assemble your doors, you won’t have a problem with adjusting the hinges. You just need to make sure that all of your measurements and cuts are precise.
To make the cabinet fit more accurately, there is a chance you’ll have to take out a strip of drywall that is on the middle stud.
To join the cabinet boxes, you’ll need to glue together the half-inch thick mull and then clamp them together. You should also screw some temporary braces in place on the bottom and top so that the cabinet is securely in place before you go and install the face frame.
This face frame will require a perfect fit between each side of the cabinets so that the hinges will be concealed from sight. Make your bottom and top cuts on the rails so that they will fit properly in between each side of the cabinet. Line up the inside edge of the cabinet box and clamp everything securely.
Make your face frame stiles measurements and then begin cutting accordingly. Take out the face frame parts and start to drill some pocket holes. You can now assemble the face frame together using your pocket screws.
The pocket holes should be around half an inch from each edge for best results.
At this point, you can take measurements for the door rails. After that, make your cuts for the door stiles and put them in the face frame. Take another measurement for the additional space and take off 3/8 of an inch to figure out how long your door rails will be.
Before assembling the doors together, make sure everything fits in place. Put the doors in the face frame and secure them in place with 1/16-inch washers.
You’ll now want to mount a 3/8-inch rabbeting bit. It might take a couple of passes in a clockwise motion, and you’ll want to gradually increase the depth of each pass in order to make your rabbet that is 1/4-inch deep.
Center your door in the cabinet and make your markets where the hinges will be going. Install your hinges to the mounting plates after you drill the holes for each door. Drill your screws into the hinges of your custom shelves.
At this point, you can now finish your cabinets off by installing the glass panels. Apply some silicone around the edges and let it cure for the rest of the day and night.
After you’re done with these custom shelves, you can give yourself a pat on the back, especially if you’ve never used any of these tools before in your life.