DIY Floating Shelves: What Are The Options

Attractively displayed personal items, books, and photos can enhance your home’s ambiance while also providing practical storage space. Floating shelves are an amazing way of displaying your cherished collections while conserving floor space. These shelves not only look beautiful, but they are also easy to build. In this article, we offer you a guide on how to build your floating shelves.

If you’re comfortable using power tools, DIY floating shelves are a great woodworking project. However, you need practical tips and reliable supplies for crafting your custom wall shelves. So, let us delve into the specifics of creating a stunning and cost-effective way to accessorize your home.

πŸ’‘ DIY floating shelves can enhance and freshen up any space for less than $10 per shelf
πŸ›  Tools needed include a circular saw, drill, sander, and half-inch bit
πŸ”¨ Lumber can be cut to size at hardware stores or with tools at home
πŸ“ Use a speed square to keep saw straight while cutting lumber
🎯 Mark dowel locations at middle and two inches from outside on both sides
πŸ”‘ Mark and label dowels to match correct holes
🀚 Sand down front section of dowel to slide in and out of shelf easily
πŸ–Œ Apply stain with wipe-on technique and use pre-stain conditioner to avoid blotchiness
πŸ›‘οΈ Use spray-on polyurethane for top coat and add two to three layers
🧰 Mount shelves with screws and wall anchors, aligning with dial pin and adding safety screw

Measuring And Planning Your Shelves

Once you’ve decided on the placement of your floating shelves, it’s time to measure and plan them out. Start by measuring the length and width of the wall space where you want to install your shelves. Take note of any obstacles like light switches or outlets that could interfere with your installation.

Choosing materials is also an important step in planning your DIY floating shelves. Consider the weight capacity you’ll need based on what you plan to store on the shelves. You can use a variety of materials such as wood, metal, or glass depending on your personal style and budget. Keep in mind that different materials may require different installation tips, so do some research before starting your project. Remember to always prioritize safety when installing heavy objects on your walls.

Supplies You Need:

Although it might be tempting to buy your floating shelves from a big-box store like Home Depot, Lowe’s, or IKEA, you might end up with a less custom look with a limited variety of colors and sizes. Therefore, to achieve your desired wall shelf’s color scheme and size, it’s advisable to invest in the following supplies.

  • A 2-by-10-inch pine board
  • A miter saw or circular saw
  • A hand or bench router with dado router bit
  • A 1/2-inch paddle bit
  • A drill press (optional)
  • Sandpaper (medium grit)
  • Cloth (2 or 3)
  • Stain or paint
  • Polyurethane (optional)
  • Paintbrush
  • BIGTEDDY-Adjustable Blind Shelf Floating Support Invisible Brackets
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Level

How to Build Floating Shelves:

πŸ› οΈ The video demonstrates how to build three different styles of floating shelves, ranging from beginner to advanced skill levels.
πŸ› οΈ The first and beginner shelf style uses 2×6 lumber, nipple adapters, and phalange caps, and costs $35 to build.
πŸ› οΈ The lumber is cleaned up with sandpaper and stained with a semi-transparent weathered oak color.
πŸ› οΈ The intermediate shelf build uses one-by-six and two-by-two lumber, and costs $37 to build.
πŸ› οΈ The advanced shelf build uses half-inch maple plywood and mitered cuts, and costs $73 to build.
πŸ› οΈ The video demonstrates using wood glue and brad nails to assemble the shelves, and recommends using silicone brushes and wood filler for finishing.
πŸ› οΈ The video demonstrates using wood filler, followed by sanding with 120 and 220 grit sandpaper.
πŸ› οΈ To avoid taking off too much plywood veneer while sanding, reduce the oscillating speed on the sander and use the hand to lightly roll over the edges of the plywood.
πŸ› οΈ Before applying stain, use a pre-stain or wood conditioner to decrease blotchiness on the wood.
πŸ› οΈ To support the shelving, the video demonstrates using two-by-two lumber and pocket holes, and attaching it to the wall with lag bolts.
πŸ› οΈ The final product is an advanced version of the floating shelf, using half-inch maple plywood with mitered cuts, wood glue, and brad nails for assembly.
πŸ› οΈ The video encourages viewers to tackle projects of varying levels of difficulty, and to learn and grow from their attempts and failures.

The steps below will teach you how to build floating shelves quickly and efficiently. This project can be completed in half a day, excluding drying time, giving your walls that custom and high-quality feel.

Step 1: Cut your board down to size and gather materials

The most cost-effective way to create DIY floating shelves is to purchase a large piece of wood and cut it into smaller sections using a miter or circular saw. Customize the size to fit the space you plan to hang them. In our case, we cut ours to 25 inches per shelf.

Step 2: Notch the back of each shelf to accommodate the hardware.

Create a notch using a hand router so that the hardware will fit in the back of each floating shelf. For the recommended hardware, the notch should be 1/2 inch deep per the instructions. If you use different pieces, follow those instructions. Notching the back is necessary to avoid creating a gap between the wall and the shelf when you hang the shelves.

Step 3: the holes for the hardware

Using a paddle bit, drill holes where your hardware will slide into place. The holes should be 4 inches deep, but follow the instructions on your hardware. If you’re nervous about drilling straight holes, start them with the paddle bit and finish with a drill press. Drilling with a paddle bit first will make it easier to accurately start each hole.

Step 4: Sand and Stain (or Paint)

In a well-ventilated area, sand any rough edges on each shelf. Then, wipe off any extra sawdust and apply your favorite stain or paint. Depending on your home’s aesthetic, you might want to go for rustic wood shelves or something white for a contemporary look. Creating your floating shelves gives you the freedom to customize them to your desired style. Get creative and use reclaimed wood or make pallet floating shelves for a weathered appearance. If you’re applying stain, be sure to wipe off excess stain and let each coat dry until you reach your desired finish. If you want your stained shelves to be glossy, cover them with a coat of polyurethane lacquer. Let all pieces dry completely.

Step 5: Hang the Shelves

After drying, install your hardware according to the packaging instructions. While you might see tutorials online with wood framed supports, this hardware makes things easier and allows your floating shelves to handle more weight. Building your own wood supports can be time-consuming and imprecise. Precise support is necessary for the shelves to fit properly. Figure out where you want to place your shelves and mark and measure where you’ll need to install the hardware on the wall following the packaging instructions. Use a level to make sure each shelf is straight. Once the hardware is on the wall, slip your shelves (via their drilled holes) into place.

Styling Your Shelves

Now that you’ve successfully installed your own floating shelves, it’s time to start styling them to make them look their best. The key to making your shelves look great is through shelf organization and color coordination. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

First, always consider the function of the space where your floating shelves are located. If they’re in a home office, for example, you might want to use them primarily for storing books or office supplies. In this case, you’ll want to organize your shelves by category so that all of your books are together and all of your supplies are together. You can also use color coordination within each category to make things easier to find.

Secondly, don’t forget about the visual appeal of your floating shelves. To make them look their best, try mixing and matching different textures and materials on the shelves themselves. For example, you could place a wooden box next to a metal vase or add some decorative trinkets alongside your books. Adding pops of color throughout can give the space some life as well.

Remember that styling is an ongoing process – play with arrangements until you’re happy with how everything looks.

Another idea is to incorporate plants or greenery into your shelves by adding small terrariums or hanging pots. Not only do plants add color and texture, but they also have health benefits such as purifying the air.

Now that you know how to style your floating shelves for optimal organization and visual appeal, it’s time to get creative! There are countless ways you can personalize your shelves based on your preferences and interests. Check out our next section for some fun DIY ideas that will take your floating shelves to the next level.

How Do You Fix A Diy Floating Shelf If It Becomes Unstable?

If your floating shelf becomes unstable, don’t panic! There are reinforcement options that can help fix the problem.

One common mistake is not using enough support brackets or not installing them properly. Another mistake is using the wrong type of hardware for the wall material.

To fix an unstable floating shelf, start by removing any items on it and then check for any visible damage or loose screws.

Next, consider adding additional brackets or switching to stronger hardware.

With a little bit of effort and attention to detail, your floating shelf can be back to its sturdy self in no time.

DIY Floating Shelves Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Weight Can Diy Floating Shelves Hold?

When it comes to installing shelves, one of the most important factors to consider is weight capacity. The amount of weight that a shelf can hold depends on a number of factors, including the type of anchors used and how the weight is distributed.

There are several types of anchors available, each with different load capacities and installation requirements. It’s important to choose the right anchor for your specific project in order to ensure that your shelves can support the weight you intend to place on them.

Can Diy Floating Shelves Be Installed On Any Type Of Wall?

When it comes to installing shelves, one of the most common questions is whether they can be installed on any type of wall. The answer depends on several factors such as the mounting hardware used and the texture of the wall.

DIY installation may be possible for some walls, but professional installation may be necessary for others.

Safety considerations should also be taken into account when deciding whether to tackle this project yourself.

With a little bit of research and preparation, you can ensure that your floating shelves are securely installed and add a touch of innovation to your home decor.


In conclusion, DIY floating shelves are an amazing way of adding personality and interest to your space by allowing you to show off your favorite books, curios, and plants. These shelves are not only beautiful but budget-friendly. The guide above offers practical tips and reliable supplies that will help you create a truly custom dΓ©cor piece affordably. So why not make these stunning and practical shelves a part of your home dΓ©cor today?

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