How to Retrofit Additional Shelving to a Built-in DVD Storage Unit

Updated on July 2, 2020
Nathanville profile image

Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.

What the Original Build Was Like

Originally, when the house was built over 90 years ago, the space under the stairs was a pantry with access from the kitchen. A previous owner blocked off access from the kitchen and knocked through the brick wall into the living room to create a cubbyhole with an arched opening, and repurposed it as a drinks bar.

About 10 years ago I installed shelving in what was then a cubbyhole under the stairs, at the back of our living room, for our growing DVD and Blu-ray collection.

In the cubbyhole the two features installed by the previous owner, which we wanted to keep, was a built-in medieval style drinks cabinet tucked in the corner, right under the stairs, and a rather attractive mirrored wall picture featuring a watermill.

So in building the shelving, made from pine floorboards, I copied the style of the built-in drinks cabinet, and built the shelving around the mirrored wall picture.

Then a few years ago, when we did a major makeover of our living room I knocked down the rest of the brick wall under the stairs to open up the cubbyhole and create an alcove under the stairs.

Original drinks bar tucked away in the corner of the alcove under the stairs (at the back of the living room), as it was a few years back; prior to me building the current DVD shelving to the right.
Original drinks bar tucked away in the corner of the alcove under the stairs (at the back of the living room), as it was a few years back; prior to me building the current DVD shelving to the right.

DVD and Blu-ray Overflow

Since initially installing the shelving in the alcove under the stairs, our DVD and Blu-ray collection has expanded by about a foot a year; predominantly because our son buys the Blu-ray box sets of all his favourite films and TV Series e.g. Game of Thrones.

Consequently the space I’d left open, to showcase the mirrored wall picture, became filled with DVDs and Blu-ray’s; hence the need to retrofit more shelving, to accommodate the expanding collection.

So below is my short step-by-step guide on how I retrofitted two additional shelves to accommodate the DVD and Blu-ray overflow.

DVDs and Blu-ray discs stacked on top of each other in the top right hand corner, hence the need for additional shelving.
DVDs and Blu-ray discs stacked on top of each other in the top right hand corner, hence the need for additional shelving.

#1: Design & Planning

I couldn’t just cut out two planks of wood and stick them up because the two main considerations were:-

  1. The new shelving needed to match the existing in colour and design, and
  2. I needed to be careful in not breaking the glass mirror in the process of fitting the shelves.

With regards to the first point, the wood on the original drinks bar had been hewed (in medieval style), and in building the original shelving I replicated that style with a jigsaw. So I would use the same technique I used last time to replicate the style in the new shelving.

Last time I colour matched using Jacobean walnut wood stain; which was a near perfect match to the original. However, not having any Jacobean walnut wood stain left, and not wishing to fork out the expense of buying a new pot just for a couple of shelves, I opted to use Rosewood instead; which although a bit more reddish (not so dark) was still a reasonably good match.

As regards the second issue, after sitting down with a coffee (for a think) the strategy I devised for fitting the shelves, with no risk to cracking the mirror, was:-

  • Use bespoke spacers to support the shelves, and shelf supports, at the correct height (and level), while fitting.
  • Fit shelf supports on the right-hand side, gluing and screwing them in place; with the two screw holes near the front, well away from the glass, and
  • Screw the shelves in place on the other side, where I had access.

The reason for using shelf supports on the right-hand side was because of restricted access.

Having decided on the approach I would use, I then made and fitted the shelves as described below.

#2: Measuring & Cutting

Using the principle of measure twice and cut once, to minimise risk of error, and using pine floorboards to make the shelves:-

  • Accurately measure the width of the gap, where the shelves are to be fitted.
  • Carefully measure and mark that distance on the plank of wood with a tape measure, square and pencil.
  • Cut the wood to length.

Using tape measure, square and pencil to mark the wood, to cut to correct length with a mitre saw.
Using tape measure, square and pencil to mark the wood, to cut to correct length with a mitre saw.

#3: Hewing the Wood

In medieval times, before the advent of saws, wooden beams were shaped with an axe, which gives a very distinctive irregular look.

The previous owner had shaped the edges of his built-in drinks bar with a hewing effect, and when I built the DVD shelving I copied that effect to match the style of the shelving with the drinks cabinet.

However, trying to shape the edges of a shelf with an axe, to give a hewed effect, isn’t easy.

So the first time round I emulated the effect by using an electric jigsaw by running it along the edge of the wood at a 30 to 45 degree angle in a wave like action; and then repeated the process on the underside. Therefore I used the same technique to create a hewed effect on the two shelves I was making.

Once I’d hewed the wood to shape I gave the new shelves a quick sanding with an orbital sander and wiped them over with white spirit to clean them of sawdust.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Using jigsaw to create hewed effect along front edge of shelves.Sanding shelves and hewed edges smooth with an orbital sander.
Using jigsaw to create hewed effect along front edge of shelves.
Using jigsaw to create hewed effect along front edge of shelves.
Sanding shelves and hewed edges smooth with an orbital sander.
Sanding shelves and hewed edges smooth with an orbital sander.

#4: Wood Staining and Polishing New Shelves

With the new shelves hewed to shape and cleaned of sawdust with white spirit:

  • I applied two coats of a wood stain to closely match the original shelves; leaving a couple of hours between each coat to dry.
  • After the second coat was dry I quickly hand sanded the shelves smooth, and wiped them clean of dust with white spirit, and left to dry.
  • After another half hour I applied the third coat of wood stain and left overnight to dry.
  • The following day, I generously rubbed beeswax into the shelves, working in the direction of the wood grain, and left it for 15 minutes before rubbing the wax to a shine.

In parallel, I also wood stained and polished the two shelf supports, which I quickly made while I was waiting for the first application of wood stain on the shelves to dry.

I always use furniture polish containing beeswax rather than silicone, because silicone is an oil and not a wax e.g. the wax is long lasting, durable and protects the wood, while the oil isn’t and unlike the wax, attracts dust; so with furniture polishing containing silicone oil you’re forever re-polishing.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
First two coats of wood stain.Quick hand sanding after second coat of wood stain is dried, for smooth finish; then cleaned with white spirit prior to polishing.New shelves and shelf supports polished with beeswax.The dark coloured beeswax I use; applied with wire wool and buffed to a shine with yellow dusters.
First two coats of wood stain.
First two coats of wood stain.
Quick hand sanding after second coat of wood stain is dried, for smooth finish; then cleaned with white spirit prior to polishing.
Quick hand sanding after second coat of wood stain is dried, for smooth finish; then cleaned with white spirit prior to polishing.
New shelves and shelf supports polished with beeswax.
New shelves and shelf supports polished with beeswax.
The dark coloured beeswax I use; applied with wire wool and buffed to a shine with yellow dusters.
The dark coloured beeswax I use; applied with wire wool and buffed to a shine with yellow dusters.

#5: Making the Shelf Supports

While waiting for the first coat of wood stain on the two new shelves to dry I quickly recycled a piece of old beading, salvaged from the surround of our old windows when we upgraded our double glazed windows a few years ago.

To make the two shelves supports:-

  • I measured and marked out the wood, with a tape measure, square and pencil.
  • Cut them to length with a mitre saw.
  • Drilled the two pilot holes, for screwing, in each support.
  • Then wood stained and polished them with beeswax, along with the two shelves.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Measuring and marking out salvaged beading for recycling as shelf supports.Cutting the beading to length for using as shelf supports.Drilling pilot holes in shelf supports, ready for screwing in place.
Measuring and marking out salvaged beading for recycling as shelf supports.
Measuring and marking out salvaged beading for recycling as shelf supports.
Cutting the beading to length for using as shelf supports.
Cutting the beading to length for using as shelf supports.
Drilling pilot holes in shelf supports, ready for screwing in place.
Drilling pilot holes in shelf supports, ready for screwing in place.

#6: Making the Temporary Spacers

The purpose of the temporary spacers is to:-

  • Ensure the new shelves are fitted at the correct height and
  • Temporarily support each shelf while it’s being fitted.

The advantages of using the spacers are:-

  • A simple and accurate method of ensuring the new shelves, and shelf supports, are fitted at the correct height without struggling to hold the shelves in place by hand, while also trying to keep them level with a spirit level and mark off on the side support with a pencil where the shelf should be fitted, and then
  • Not having to struggle with three hands (which I don’t have) to screw the shelves in place, while at the same time trying to hold them in place and keep them level.

I used a piece of scrap 4mm (8th inch) plywood to make the spacers, as follows:-

  • Marked and cut one piece of plywood to the length that equalled the height of the gap between two shelves, and
  • Marked and cut a second piece of plywood to the same length, less the height of the shelf supports that I would be using on one side of the shelves.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The two temporary spacers cut to size in preparation for fixing the shelving.Used a piece of scrap 4mm plywood to make the spacers.
The two temporary spacers cut to size in preparation for fixing the shelving.
The two temporary spacers cut to size in preparation for fixing the shelving.
Used a piece of scrap 4mm plywood to make the spacers.
Used a piece of scrap 4mm plywood to make the spacers.

#7: Final Fit

With the new shelves, shelf supports and temporary spacers completed, it was time to fit the shelves, as follows:

  • Remove the DVD and Blu-ray discs from the area where the new shelves were to be fitted; and from the adjacent two shelves where I would need the space for screwing the shelves in place.
  • Also temporarily remove one of the adjacent shelves; for better access.
  • Using the shorter of the two temporary spacers to support the shelf support on one side while I glued and screwed it in place.
  • Then using the other temporary spacer to support the first shelf while that was screwed in place.
  • Finally, repeating the above two steps to fit the second shelf in place.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
DVDs and Blu-ray discs removed from the area where I would be working to fit the new shelves; revealing the decorative mirrored picture behind.Using the shorter spacer to help fit the shelve support at the correct height.Using the longer spacer on the other side to temporarily support the first shelf while I fixed it in place with a couple of screws.Repeating the process for the second shelf to fix that in place.Both new shelves fitted in place, in front of the mirrored picture.
DVDs and Blu-ray discs removed from the area where I would be working to fit the new shelves; revealing the decorative mirrored picture behind.
DVDs and Blu-ray discs removed from the area where I would be working to fit the new shelves; revealing the decorative mirrored picture behind.
Using the shorter spacer to help fit the shelve support at the correct height.
Using the shorter spacer to help fit the shelve support at the correct height.
Using the longer spacer on the other side to temporarily support the first shelf while I fixed it in place with a couple of screws.
Using the longer spacer on the other side to temporarily support the first shelf while I fixed it in place with a couple of screws.
Repeating the process for the second shelf to fix that in place.
Repeating the process for the second shelf to fix that in place.
Both new shelves fitted in place, in front of the mirrored picture.
Both new shelves fitted in place, in front of the mirrored picture.

With both new shelves in place it was then a matter of putting all the DVDs and Blu-ray discs back in place.

The two new shelves used to accommodate the DVD and Blu-ray discs overflow.
The two new shelves used to accommodate the DVD and Blu-ray discs overflow.

Blu-ray vs Online Services

Do you prefer to own your favourite films and TV Series on DVD and Blu-ray, or are you happy to just watch them from TV and Streaming Services?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Arthur Russ

My Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Nathanville profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Russ 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Yep, I remember being taught the “page to a day diary for forward planning”, which was used in several of the jobs I did. We called it the “B/F” (Brought Forward) system in the Departments I worked in; and it was a very effective tool too.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 weeks ago from UK

      It sounds like we had similar training. I joined the civil service midway through the Thatcher years. I also have a 'to do list' which I now keep in a page to a day diary for forward planning. Paper and pen are never far away!

    • Nathanville profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Russ 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Yes: It’s all part of my civil service training (old school civil service, pre Thatcher days). I was trained in the civil service to ‘Plan & Schedule’ my work in the short (daily), medium (monthly) and long term (yearly); and to create the ‘Plans & Schedules’ from ‘To-Do’ lists.

      I was also trained on how to effectively and efficiently prioritise the tasks on the ‘To-Do’ list; a simple method of prioritising each task as either ‘Urgent’ and or ‘Important’ e.g. anything not urgent or important can simply be binned e.g. not done. Urgent tasks must be done quickly, Important task should be done when you have the time to do them properly (quality time) and any task that is both urgent and important must be done immediately.

      It’s these ‘skill sets’ which I’ve applied to my home life in retirement, and as part of creating my ‘to-do’ list, I always have a pen and paper to hand, so if I think of anything during the day, that ought to be done, I write it down. Then every morning I add it to my ‘To Do’ list on the computer, and prioritise it; and then transfer it to a date/time slot on my planned schedules (daily, monthly and for the year).

      That way, unlike most people I know, who ‘put off for tomorrow’ what could be done today e.g. they never get around to doing it; I keep track of everything that needs doing, and everything of urgency or importance gets done sooner or later.

      Another trick I use; which I was taught in the civil service, are ‘Quick Wins’ e.g. simple quick tasks that don’t take a moment to do, which can be squeezed into the daily schedule, even if they are not urgent.

      I was also trained in ‘Project Management’ (Prince2) when in the civil service; so that’s another skill set that I can apply to planning and scheduling my home projects to good effect e.g. the balance between ‘Cost, Time, and Quality’.

      Therefore, as you said, I have no problem in finding things to do during the lockdown.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 weeks ago from UK

      Another project well-executed and well-described. You seem to have no problem finding things to do during lockdown.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)