How to fit shelves in an alcove

Living room with shelving in the alcoves - DIY home improvement - homes -

Time and skill needed: Takes a weekend and some skill required

What you'll need

● Spirit level
● 50mm x 25mm batten
● Saw
● Electric drill
● Cordless screwdriver
● Countersink attachment
● Rawlplugs and screws to match
● Enough 6mm MDF or blockboard to make your shelf surfaces
● Panel pins (small nails for wood)
● Paint
● Decorative edging (optional)

Before you begin

Check the wall for wires and pipes with a detector before you start drilling. If it's a stud wall, you'll need to drill into the studs themselves.

How it's done

Using a spirit level, draw a horizontal line in the alcove to mark where you want the top edge of the first shelf to be. Then mark the position of the other shelves on the wall in the same way.

Make a frame for each shelf by cutting two pieces of batten to the width of the alcove. Measure the depth of the recess (make it shorter if you want them set back) and cut two short pieces to make a rectangular frame. Cut further short pieces to fit every 300mm across the frame like a ladder. Butt the joints and screw with two screws for each join. Drill with a countersink first so that the screws are recessed.

Along the back and side battens drill pilot holes no more than 300mm apart. Hold the frame in place and make a pencil mark through the holes onto the wall. Remove the frame and drill holes for the rawlplugs where marked. Fit the rawlplugs and screw the frame into place.

Cut out the board to make top and bottom surfaces. You may need to sand it to adjust the shape if the walls aren't straight. Tack the surfaces to the batten. You'll need help with the undersides. Use a flexible filler for the gaps between shelves and walls.

Smooth wood filler over the screws on the front edge. Rub down the front edge, or if you prefer, fit decorative moulding to cover it. Repeat steps two to five for as many shelves as you need.

Paint the shelves with primer, undercoat, and gloss or eggshell. Allow each layer to dry thoroughly. Leave the finished shelves to dry for 24 hours before use.


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