How to Add Arches to a Bookcase

I revealed our {mostly} finished bookcases last week and shared the tutorial on how we created them.  Over the weekend we spruced them up even more by adding arches and today I have the simple tutorial on how we created them.

We didn’t have any pieces of MDF left that were as wide as the bookshelves, so we had to piece two smaller pieces together.  Mike cut them so they would reach the width of the bookcase and made them 6″ tall. Then we clamped the two pieces to the workbench to create our arch shape.

We cheated on creating our arch shape and grabbed a scrap piece of wood from our round table that had a perfectly rounded arch shape that fit the size of our boards.  We first marked an inch down from the top because that was where we wanted the peak of our arch to be.

We laid the wood and put the arch on our 1″ mark.

Then Mike traced it with a pencil.

Then we flipped it over the other side and traced it to make the whole arch.  We glued it together with wood glue and Mike attached a small piece of wood to the back as a brace support.  Then Mike cut it all out with a jigsaw.

Then we had to address the seam in the middle.  A orbital sander did the trick.  Can barely even see it, right?

I painted the arches with a high density foam roller in white to match the bookcases.

To install them, we held it in place and Mike nailed it from above into the arch.

And then caulked the seam.

Caulk makes such a big difference.  Here is what they looked like before the caulk.

And after.

It gives a nice seamless look.  And that’s it!  The arches are done.  Let me remind you of the bookcases during our reveal last week.

And now with the arches.

They add so much character and make them feel complete.  What do you think?  Do you like our new additions?  Anyone going to add arches to their bookcases?

Be sure to stop by Remodelaholic today to see Cassidy’s sweet feature of our master closet makeover!

These are the fabulous blog parties I link up to each week:

DIY Showoff: DIY Project Parade

I Heart Naptime: Sundae Scoop

Skip to My Lou: Made By You Mondays

Today’s Creative Blog: Get Your Craft On

Tip Junkie: Tip Me Tuesday

Home Stories A to Z: Tutorials and Tips Tuesdays

Not Just a Housewife: Shoe Me What Ya Got

Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell

Hooking Up with Hepworths

Shabby Chic Cottage: Transformation Thursday

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

CSI Project: Challenge

5 Days, 5 Ways

Remodelaholic: Blog Link Up

30 Handmade Days

Serenity Now

Tatertots and Jello: Weekend Wrap-Up


  1. Those look fantastic. I have wanted to do this to some of my built in shelves, but never had the nerve. You make it look so easy. I love how it came out!

  2. I really like it. The arches definitely add the next level to the bookcases. I have a plain bookcase that I’ve been wanting to spruce up. Just need to talk my handyman husband into another project.

    Visiting from The House of Hepworths Linky Party, hope you’ll stop by my blog too. :)

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. Beautiful finishing touch!

  4. This is such a nice way to finish off the bookcases. It really makes them look great :)

  5. These look lovely! Arches are so classic in built-ins, and they add that custom touch. You’re right…caulk works wonders!

  6. It is amazing how different they look with the arches. We have shelves like that in our playroom…I totally need to talk my hubby into adding arches to ours:)

  7. What a difference! Love the bookshelves! Love the arches!

  8. Thank you for a great tutorial! Who knew it would be that easy? Love it!

    Have a great weekend!

  9. This adds so much to that area! Its amazing what and idea and a handyman can do! :)

    I would love for you to link this project up at my link party – Well Crafted Wednesdays! You can find it here:

  10. The arches make such a huge difference! I really love them.

  11. Super sweet! I just love how everything is coming along. Beautiful work!

  12. This might be good information for my research. If I use it, I’ll be sure to link back to you and mention you as a resource.


  1. […] If you missed any of the previous tutorials on this big project, you can catch up by reading about how we did everything here:  fabric covered roller shades turned faux roman shades, bookcase styling and reveal, built-in bookcase tutorial, and how we added arches to the tops. […]

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