DIY Network

How to Install Hidden Shelving

The DIY to the Rescue team builds hidden shelving that can be used as a bookshelf, toy chest and storage.

More in Remodeling

build hidden shelving
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Secure the Shelves

Cut the wood and begin assembling the case.

First, glue the shelves and side uprights together.

As you glue the pieces, make sure to follow up with a nail gun to secure the pieces together.

begin assembling the shelving

Step 2: Add the Side Boards and Backing

Once the shelves are in place, attach the side boards using wood glue and a nail gun.

Measure the width and height of the unit for the plywood backing (Image 1).

Cut the wood with a circular saw adjusted to the 1/2" thickness of the plywood.

Cut a second board to cover the width of the bookcase.

Cut paneling to match the plywood backing boards.

Put the plywood down with the factory edge to the inside (Image 2), and secure it with nails about 1/24" to the edge.

Step 3: Add the Veneer and Trim

Apply a liberal amount of wood glue to the top for the paneling veneer. Next, use the nail gun to secure it to the back.

Add trim molding to finish off the exterior of the unit.

Finally, install 2x4 blocks where the door hinges will be.

Step 4: Install the Hinges and Handles

Drill caster bolt holes at the bottom of the shelves, then install the carriage bolts (Image 1). Secure each with a washer and hex nut using a socket wrench.

Install the hinges onto the sides of the door with the pin at the top, so they don't fall out (Image 2).

With the door in position, mark the hinge placement on the closet frame.

Install the hinge plates and carefully move the door into position.

Join the hinges and secure them with the pin.

Add handles to the front of the doors and paint the doors to match the wall (Image 3).




  • Acoustical ceiling from USG
    Ladder system from Little Giant Ladders