Introduction: How to Create Recessed Shelving

Ok, so some of you may have seen my other instructable using this same wall for other shelving ideas.  Although the others ideas were cool I think this one takes the cake.
{I also had issues finding any instructions on how to create this shelving system so I thought I would remedy this.}

The main resource I did find online was this one here... http://www.ronhazelton.com/archives/howto/recessed_shelves.shtm

I am using this as a base for this Instructable, and just altering it to fit my situation and experience.

Step 1: Location, Location, Location...

Step one would be to find a spot for this shelf/ book case... Think about what you need as far as the size of the books, games or objects that are going to be housed on theses shelves.

The place I chose was a odd 3 ft. wide wall that was about 15 inches deep.  To me it appeared to be wasted space that I could do something with.  Other spots you could do a similar project with would be under the stairs or in a half wall.

I am using mine for books and magazines so I built my shelves to be about 8 inches deep and 26 inches wide.

Step 2: Inventory...

Here's what I used for supplies...

• Hand-held Drywall saw

• 96inx16inx5/8in butcher block (I had Lowe's split it in half and then cut it to, two 5ft pieces and two 3ft pieces for the initial box)

• I used brad nails, wood screws and wood glue to put the box together.

• I used paneling/luan for the backing.



• I used standard door trim (so as to match the trim already used in my office for the closet).

• Vinyl spackling, wood filler, wood glue, etc...

• I used cheap white spray paint for primer and some white eggshell paint I had left over from interior house touch up.



Step 3: Inspection Hole

Once you have found your location you will need to inspect the area.  You are looking to see if you think there may be electrical wires or duct work behind the drywall.  You will also need to use a stud finder and locate your wall studs.

You will now take your drywall saw and cut an inspection hole. It is best to cut this hole large enough to fit your hand into so you can feel around for things.  { Important: Cut the hole at about a 45 degree angle so that the drywall falls forward and out of the wall... not into the wall. This will also make it easier should you find something and not be able to continue with the project and need to repair the hole you just cut. }

If there is a wall socket then the link on the home page has some steps on moving the electrical lines or you may find a better Instructable telling you how to as well.


I was fortunate that I just had a few odd wall studs and didn't have to worry about moving anything important or finding duct work.  Because the way my location is setup I chose to cut my hole on the side of the wall for better visibility to the main wall I wanted to use.

Step 4: Make a Plan!

At this point hopefully your inspection hole revealed good news and you are able to continue with this project.  {If not then, view my instructable seen here... https://www.instructables.com/id/Repairing-Drywall/  on how to repair your wall.}

At this point you will need to make a plan for your shelves based on what your hole revealed.  My hole revealed I had a stud 24 inches from the corner and that was my only stud for this 3 ft wall (a good thing in my case, sort of).

In looking at my situation, the stud I found was not load bearing so I thought it best to remove the section that was visible and use the remainder of it for bracing and attaching the bookcase/shelves.

Cutting the drywall is the fun, yet nervous part.  So I would advise using a hand-held drywall saw.  If you use an electric saw of sorts then you run the risk of damaging your studs once you get close to them.  Also if you DO have electricity in the wall then it could be bad accidentally cutting into those lines as well.

Step 5: Repairing Any Drywall...

At this point I would repair my first hole (in your case you may not need this step and can proceed on to the next step). This just depends where you cut your hole.

• First fasten some wire mesh or a piece of wood over the hole from the inside of the wall...
• Now take some wall putty or spackling and put some on the back and sides of your pieces you cut out of the wall...
• Press the piece back into place like a puzzle piece, making sure it is flush as it was before.  Repair the edges by smearing your wall putty or spackling into these crevasses.
• Match up any textures you may have on the wall to hide you ever did anything to it or sand things flat...  Ready for paint!

See my full Instructable on this step seen here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Repairing-Drywall/

Step 6: Build Your Bookcase...

So you build your book shelves/case... 

At this point you go by your plans and choose if you want fixed shelves or adjustable.  I am wanting some versatility so I am doing adjustable.  In order to do this simply you could barrow some ¼ inch peg board from a friend, and use the peg board as a jig.  I actually chose to use actual hardware I picked up from Lowe's.

As you can see I did mine out of butcher block because of cost.  I am only building a box with a top, bottom and sides out of the butcher block and then putting a back on using some luan or paneling (again to save on cost). There was one shelf that I nailed and screwed in about 12 inches from the bottom (for structural strength and usability).

Painting, sealing or staining... that's all up to you.  I would suggest sealing it somehow.  I decided to paint mine white to match the other trim and things in my office.

Step 7: Bracing and Mounting...

Depending on your situation you may need additional bracing.  I used 2x4 I had in order to do this, bracing where the shelf is going to sit.

If you recall I removed my stud.  I actually resused the same stud 2x4 and just ran it across the top, drilling it into the rest of the stud that I left attached and hanging down. I did the same thing on the bottom with another 2x4.

Once your bracing is in place you can install your shelf or book case.

Step 8: Trim It Up!

Once you have secured your shelves to the wall stud and braced things as needed you are now ready for the trim.  I have cut my trim at 45 degree angles on the ends, so it meets like a picture frame, and attached it to the edge of the shelf with a brad and nail gun.

I'm actually in the middle of this step myself... as soon as I get everything perfect I will upload some better shots...

Step 9: Load 'Em Up!

Now you touch up the paint on the shelves and the trim where you need to.  Add your shelving clips.  Add your shelves and adjust them to the heights needed. 

Now load 'em up!  


Comments

author
ERsearch made it!(author)2016-02-14

An excellent instructible. Very clear step by step explanations. Am inspired to try this project! Great use of space - your recessed shelf is a very useful addition.

author
LoneWolf made it!(author)2010-03-11

That's really cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

author
ChrysN made it!(author)2010-03-10

Wow, that looks really nice!

author
lemonie made it!(author)2010-03-10

Very nice looking job.
Was there anything in that thing - e.g. pipes?

L

author
SantaB made it!(author)2010-03-10

No, not really.  I had one electrical outlet/line near the bottom of the short wall but the lines were nowhere near where I was working and already staples up and out of my way. 

Other than the stud I cut out there was nothing else.  It's too bad I couldn't have hinged it for a secret stash spot (trust me I tried).  

author
lemonie made it!(author)2010-03-10

I have to think "why?" Perhaps it was intended to run pipes down there, maybe the plans changed but the drywall guys didn't get an update so they boxed in that space anyway?

L

author
SantaB made it!(author)2010-03-10

Your guess is as good as mine...  I basically thought it was stupid and the earlier shelves I created were cool, but just didn't cut it and stuck out from the wall (being wall mounted).  I thought, "why not put them in the wall?!", then researched what it took to do so. 

author
lemonie made it!(author)2010-03-10

I know - they forgot to put the body in there!

L

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Bio: I am a Quality Assurance Engineer for a yearbook/education company. I used to be a Graphic Designer and still dabble here and there. I ... More »
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