How to Make Shelves in Cabinets

Are you looking for a way to spruce up your kitchen, bathroom, or other living spaces? Shelves in cabinets can be the perfect solution! They are great for adding extra storage space and look fantastic as standalone pieces or used to decorate and store books, dishes, mugs, and more.

With just a few simple steps, you can create shelves in any existing cabinet – it’s easier than you think!

How to Make Shelves in Cabinets

Whether you’re looking for a unique place to display cookbooks, eye-catching accents in the kitchen, or more space to organize knickknacks, custom shelves can be tailored to suit your needs. 

In this blog post, we’re going to offer tips and advice on how to make shelves in cabinets quickly and easily. So if you want a DIY project that will spruce up any area of the home, then read on!

What Will You Need?

The first step in making shelves is gathering the necessary supplies. Here’s a list of essentials:

  1. Measuring tape
  2. Pencil or marker
  3. Plywood (or another material of your choices such as particleboard or MDF)
  4. Saw (hand saw or jigsaw)
  5. Sandpaper
  6. Wood glue
  7. Nails and screws
  8. Finishing materials (stain, paint, etc.)

Once you have these materials, you’ll be ready to start building!

10 Easy Steps on How to Make Shelves in Cabinets

Step 1. Measure the Area:

Measurements of the Area Inside

Before you begin making your shelves, take precise measurements of the area inside the cabinet with a measuring tape. This will help you determine how much material and how many shelves you need to build. Be careful to measure both the height and width of the cabinet.

Step 2. Cut the Plywood:

Use a saw (hand saw or jigsaw) to cut the plywood into pieces that fit within your cabinet’s dimensions. Make sure all pieces are cut evenly and accurately for a better-looking shelf. If you’re using a jigsaw, be sure to wear safety goggles and work gloves.

Step 3. Create Ledges for Each Shelf:

Once you have all your pieces of plywood ready, use wood glue to attach two parallel ledges along each piece’s lengthwise edge. These will support each shelf once it is in place. Allow the glue to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 4. Sand and Stain/Paint:

Sand down all pieces of plywood so that they are smooth and free from any splinters or imperfections. Then, if desired, stain or paint each piece to match the style of your cabinet and space. Ensure that all pieces are completely dry before moving on.

Step 5. Attach Ledges to Cabinet Walls:

Use nails (or screws) to attach the ledges you created in Step 3 to the walls inside the cabinet – make sure they are flush with the wall for a neat finish. Allow the glue to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Ensuring each ledge is level and secure before moving on is important.

Step 6. Place Shelves on Ledges:

Screws to Secure the Shelves

Place each shelf on top of its ledge, making sure it sits sturdily in place. Use additional nails or screws to secure the shelves in position if needed. Additionally, you may wish to add shelf supports for extra stability.

Step 7. Check for Levelness:

Before moving on to the next step, check that each shelf is level using a spirit level or similar tool. This will ensure your shelves look neat and professional once complete. Don’t forget to check the top and bottom shelves too!

Step 8. Add Finishing Touches:

If desired, add some finishing touches, such as trim around the edges of the shelves or decorative knobs on each shelf to enhance your new shelving system’s overall look and feel. You can also add wax or varnish to protect the shelves from dirt and wear and tear. It will also help ensure that they last longer.

Step 9. Fill with Items:

Once everything is finished, start adding items to your newly created shelves! Books, dishes, mugs – whatever you decide to store will look great, thanks to your hard work and creativity. Moreover, you’ll feel accomplished knowing that you made the shelves yourself!

Step 10. Enjoy!:

You did it! Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Congratulations on creating a stunning shelving system that looks great and adds extra storage space to any area of the home.

Remember, making shelves in cabinets can be a fun and rewarding project if done correctly!

By following these easy steps, you can make shelves in any existing cabinet – it’s easier than you think! If you have any questions or need guidance, feel free to ask for help.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

The Cabinet Opening to Ensure
  1. Take careful measurements of the cabinet opening to ensure that your shelves will fit properly.
  2. Consider how much weight you need to support the shelf before you begin building.
  3. Use the appropriate materials for your project, such as plywood or strong boards that are cut to fit the cabinet opening.
  4. If you’re using a drill to attach screws, use the right length and size of the screw so that it doesn’t go through the other side of the shelf material.
  5. Add a layer of protective finish after assembly to protect the shelf from moisture or everyday wear and tear.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to easily and confidently make shelves for your cabinets!

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Trying to make shelves out of any material other than wood. Wood is strong and can be easily cut into the necessary sizes and shapes.
  2. Try to use nails or screws to hold your shelves together without pilot holes drilled first. Pilot holes will help ensure that your shelves stay in place and don’t come loose over time.
  3. Not accounting for how much weight the shelf will bear when deciding how thick the pieces need to be. Thicker pieces are often needed to support heavier items. Otherwise, they may sag or break over time.
  4. Not measuring twice before cutting once! Measure the inside dimensions of the cabinet you’re working with, so you know exactly how big each piece needs to be, then measure again just in case.
  5. Not using wood glue to hold pieces together for added stability and strength. Wood glue helps keep the joint secure so your shelves can handle any weight they’re subjected to.
Try to Use Nails

Creating shelves in cabinets can be tricky, but with the right materials and techniques, you can easily make custom shelves that look great and last a long time. Follow our tips above to get started on your project!

5 Different Shelves Style You Can Create

  1. Floating Shelves: These shelves are fixed directly to the wall, giving your cabinets a modern and minimalistic look.
  2. Sliding Shelves: This style helps save space by allowing you to slide out your shelves for easy access and storage.
  3. Corner Shelves: This style fits perfectly into corner cabinets or awkward spaces, saving valuable storage space.
  4. Pull-Out Shelves: These shelves are also great for small kitchens as they pull out from the cabinet, providing extra countertop space when needed.
  5. Lazy Susan Shelves: Perfect for blind corners or irregularly shaped shelving areas, Lazy Susan shelves give you plenty of options for organizing your items.

Creating shelves in cabinets can be a great way to make the most of your limited storage space and create attractive, custom solutions that fit perfectly into your kitchen or bathroom. Just remember to work carefully and use quality materials so your project will stand the test of time!

How Do You Make Your Shelves Look Nice?

  1. Paint or stain the shelves to give them a polished and finished look that matches the rest of your cabinets and décor.
  2. Line the back walls of the shelf with decorative paper or fabric for an added touch of color and personality.
  3. Add handles or knobs to make it easier to pull out shelves when necessary.
  4. Use wallpaper, washi tape, or contact paper on the shelf fronts to add texture and interest to your space.
  5. Place baskets on top of the shelves for extra storage and a stylish finishing touch!

With these tips in mind, you can create beautiful, custom shelves within any existing cabinet in your home! With just a little bit of effort, you can easily make shelves that look great and provide plenty of storage without breaking the bank.


Making shelves in cabinets is a great way to get a lot of storage in one small space. It gives you easy access to everything you need and keeps everything organized. With a little bit of material, some patience, and the steps outlined here, you can make shelves that last for years and make your cabinets look chic.

Whether you choose to use wood or metal shelving materials, use this guide as an outline to help you create shelves in your cabinets that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

With these tips, you can achieve amazing results with minimal effort while still maximizing storage potential.

Hopefully, the article on how to make shelves in cabinets has been helpful. If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below. Good luck with your project!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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