Fixed Shelf Unit Construction

Lead Image
  • 2-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-200

A shelf unit is an aesthetic way to display the decorative items in your home. It provides a way to arrange diverse items like attractive curios, photo frames, or cutlery in an organized way. It also provides a useful function in managing your books, clothes, towels, toiletries, and day to day household accessories.

Step 1 - Evaluate the Dimensions

Finalize a location in your home where you wish to fit the shelf unit. Decide whether you want it along the wall on the ground, mounted on the wall, or as a corner shelf unit. If you wish to mount it on the wall, then you will first have to locate a wall stud to secure the shelf on the wall. These decisions are important because the construction procedure of your unit will rely on them.

Determine the components that will form the unit and their dimensions. It helps if you actually put the design that you have in mind on paper and mark the measurements. This drawing will guide you while building the independent components.

Step 2 - Build the Components of the Unit

Visit a hardware store to buy plywood or your preferred choice of wood to construct your shelf. Cut the plywood into pieces according to the dimensions in step 1 with the help of a table saw or a radial arm saw. Cut dadoes on plywood pieces that form the sides of the unit. Dadoes are rectangular grooves in the plywood pieces so that another piece can fit into it. To measure the dimensions of each shelf within the unit, temporarily assemble the components required to build the outer frame of the unit. These components include the sides, the top, and the base of the unit. To determine the dimensions of each shelf, measure from dado that is marked on the piece that forms one side of the shelf to the corresponding dado marked on the other side of the shelf. Based on these dimensions, cut the plywood pieces that can be slid into the dadoes of the unit.

Step 3 - Assemble the Components to Form the Unit

Assemble all the components together by fitting them in the dados. Apply wood glue or drill holes using a power drill and drive screws into them to tightly bind the components together.

Step 4 - Add a Back to the Unit

You can add plywood back to your unit, by installing nails along the perimeter of the unit as well the shelves with the help of a nail gun.


Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect your eyes and hands while using the saw, power drill, and the nail gun.

Fixed shelf units add beauty and usability to your walls, and a DIY project to construct a fixed shelf unit is a great way to break the monotony of your wall spaces.