Introduction: Arched Built-In Bookcase

About: Educated as an architect. Employed as a builder. Always a maker.

Our kids' room needed more storage. One wall had a lot of space with only a radiator on it. We designed a bookcase that gave plenty of storage, hid the radiator, and had a playful quality.

The bookcase is arched at the top and slopes back from the base to the top.


  • 4x8 mdf. I used 2 sheets.
  • Circular saw
  • Jig saw
  • Nail gun
  • Router

Step 1: Cut Boards to Width

First, using a circular saw, I cut all of my boards to its widest width at the base.

Step 2: Kerf Cuts

I cut kerfs approximately 2/3rds into the mdf. I kept adding kerfs until the board bend easily with a smooth curve.

Step 3: Assemble Interior Shelves

Using sketchup, I measured each shelf from the wall to determine its depth. I then cut the face of the board at an 85 degree angle, so it would be flush with the perimeter as the unit sloped towards the top. I temporarily assembled parts of the unit to confirm some dimensions.

Step 4: Scribe to Molding

I cut away material at any point where it intersected the existing wall molding. This allowed the unit to sit flush with the wall.

Step 5: Assembly

I assembled and painted as I went. I started at the bottom and used a 1" spacer that was nailed to the wall. This spacer served as a template for the perimeter of the unit.

Step 6: Add Molding

I traced the molding at the installation and cut the shape to fit. I then used a router to ive the edges of the molding some added detail.

Step 7: Patch and Paint

This was a tricky install that left a few inconsistencies. I used bondo filler to smooth all transitions. The unit was then caulked, sanded, and given the final coats of paint.

Step 8: Enjoy

Add your favorite toys, dolls, and books.