Floating shelves are a fun and exciting way to insert a different and original type of shelves in your home. They can blend into your wall color or accent the room perfectly if you paint them a different color.
You can also build them in 10 easy steps and decorate according to your taste. All it takes is a little free time and the right amount of creativity. Even the most basic tinkerer can get this simple job done and have something to show.
1. Where Do You Want a Floating Shelf?
The first step to create floating shelves for your home is to decide where you want to place them and approximately how large you would like for them to be. For many Do-It-Yourself fans, this is the hardest part: deciding where to put the coolest shelf you’ll ever have in your home. Should you put it in your bedroom to store your personal treasures or in the living room where everyone can admire your handy work? The choice is yours.
Once you have decided this part, you will need two flat boards – plywood is a good choice – with the exact same size. These will be the top and the underneath of the shelf. Then, cut the boards according to the size you want your shelf to have once it’s finished.
2. How Thick Do You Want It?
You now need smaller wood pieces to fill in the sides of the shelf, creating a tiny box of sorts. The thickness of your smaller boards will indicate the thickness of your shelf. In most cases, the board is between two and three inches, but if you want to put heavy things on your shelf you may consider going slightly thicker.
Your new shelf is designed as a box so that you can avoid using braces to support it. This is why you need to have these smaller boards.
3. Building the Floating Shelf
You need to attach the top and bottom boards with the spacers around three of the edges, leaving the back of the shelf open. That will come into play later. You want the small boards to be flush with the sides of the top and bottom boards when turned to the side so that the widest part is towards the front of your shelf. This is why you need all wood pieces to be the same size.
To attach them, you should probably consider using liquid wood glue along with nails or screws. This will ensure that it all stays in place. Then, let this dry for a while before attaching the shelf to your wall. At this point you should have a rectangle box that is closed on three sides. While the box dries, start preparing the wall to install your creation.
Although your shelf currently looks like a rectangle box, probably placed on the floor, your new storage unit is almost finished and it will soon become the shelf you imagined in your mind when you began this project. You just need to finish preparing the wall.
4. Wall Preparation
To prepare the wall for a floating shelf you need to locate the studs in the wall and get a straight line established where you want your shelf to be. Be sure that the ends of your shelf are over a stud if you plan to have a larger shelf. A smaller shelf will be okay, as long as it is centered over a stud.
During this step you can use a stud finder, if you have one, and a level to guarantee the best result possible. You’ll also need a pencil to mark the wall. Like the shelf brackets, the wall studs will give you extra support once the shelf is finished.
5. Attach the Wall Brace
You now need to use the fourth spacer you left off the shelf in step two. This is the support for your shelf. Attach it to the wall with screws into the studs along the line you marked, with the larger side facing outward to make it the size of your box. This board should be at the same level that your line was, though you may check it again with the level if you want to make sure. This is just like mounting the TV wall brackets for a flat screen television.
If you have come this far, now it’s time to finish up and you will have a truly unique shelf without bulky supports underneath it. Your visitors will surely envy the shelf you created and some might even order one for them.
6. Attach Your Shelf
But there are a few more steps before that. Next you need to slide the completed shelf onto the wood you placed on the wall. This should be done with the open area of your shelf pointing towards the wall. Putting a little wood glue on the board will help your shelf hold firmly once its completed.
If you have trouble holding it up, you may need a little extra help from someone nearby to ensure that it’s lined up properly. They may also need to hold the shelf to the wall while you attach it.
7. Screw the Box to The Brace
Once you have the shelf’s box on the brace, you need to ensure that it’s firmly attached. Do this with a few screws to hold it all together and then you will need to allow the entire shelf to dry thoroughly. The screws should be small enough to not go through the brace board but long enough to attach firmly. If you have a two-inch wide brace on the wall, a one-inch screw should be fine.
8. Make Sure It Holds Firmly
The wood glue that you used should be completely dry before you do continue handling the shelf and especially before you put items on it. Let it dry for at least a few hours. To know if the shelf is firmly stuck to the wall and is strong enough to hold your valuables you can tug on it. If the shelf wiggles, you should try to further secure it with screws. If this doesn’t work, then perhaps you need to take it off and try to further secure the brace board. Don’t worry about ending up with a lot of screw holes, as you can fill them with wood glue or putty.
9. Paint it?
This is totally optional. If you like, you may paint your new shelf or stain it to bring out its natural wood grain pattern. You can paint it to contrast with the rest of the room or you can just paint it to blend in. The choice is yours because you are your own designer and skilled carpenter.
10. Enjoy Your Efforts
The final step in your process in making floating shelves is to enjoy your new shelving unit. You have earned the right to place whatever you want to on it, so go ahead. Use it to store whatnots, photographs, books… Pretty much anything you want to. Then watch others go “oh” and “ah”, wondering how you managed to make a shelf float of your own.