How to Install a Recessed Shelf How to Install a Recessed Shelf

What You'll Need
Wood
Handsaw
Mallet
Tape measure
Stud/voltage detector
Wood glue
Note pad and pencil
Spirit level
Wood glue
Framing square
Screws
Screwdriver
Wooden support blocks

Whether you are looking for a space saver or a pretty addition to a wall, a recessed shelf may suit your needs. If you follow a few steps, you will find it a relatively simple task that you can undertake without assistance.

Step 1 – Scout Location

Use the stud/voltage detector on the location where you are seeking to install the recessed shelf to ensure that you do not disturb any pipes or wires or hit a wall stud. The shelf should fit between two wall studs so this process will give you an idea of what the dimensions of your final shelf should be.

Mark the wall with a pencil to show the limits of where you can cut. If you do not have a ruler long enough, use one of the pieces of wood and a spirit level to ensure the lines are straight. After measuring the area to make sure you have sufficient wood, you will be in a position to cut the wall.

Step 2 – Cut Wall

With the handsaw, cut out the section of the wall where you intend to place the recessed shelf. Make sure that the saw you use is effective on the materials the walls are constructed from. Once complete, measure the length, width and depth of the recess and write these down.

Step 3 – Cut Wood and Assemble  

In accordance with the lengths you have written down, measure and cut the wood to make a box which will serve as the frame for the recessed shelf. This box should have only one open side and you should ensure that the grain of the wood is aligned on all sides so it stays even if it swells. Ensure that it fits together properly with a framing square before applying wood glue to the edges.

Allow the glue to dry before dry-fitting the back end of the framing box into the wall to ensure that it fits. You can then withdraw it to secure the box further by fitting screws in the edges to hold the sides together. At this stage, it is also prudent to fit the shelf supports for the additional shelves.  

Step 4 – Prepare Recess

Cut two pieces of wood no thicker than the wall recess to act as support blocks. Insert these into the wall recess and screw them into the studs immediately below where the recessed shelf will sit to provide additional support.  

Step 5 – Fit Frame

Insert the frame into the recess making sure that it is the correct way around. Push it firmly into place so that it is flush with the wall and gently use a mallet to aid you in this regard, if it is necessary. Secure the box frame by inserting screws to hold it to the wall. Once it is fitted, you will be in a position to decorate the frame to make it look tidier.

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