Floating shelves are quite possibly the coolest shelves you can buy or build. They look super sleek on the wall and take up a little less space that a conventional shelf unit would.
Below you will see how DIYPete built his own floating shelves and boy oh boy did they come out nice! They were inexpensive and easy to build too!
- Circular Saw OR Miter Saw
- Table Saw – (see more)
- Kreg Jig
- Orbital Sander– Ryobi makes a nice one.
- Nail Gun
- Tape Measure, Straight Edge, Pencil
- Eye and Ear protection
- Lumber for the frame and shelf – see wood list below
- Steel Wool & Vinegar Solution/Stain
- Water-Based Polyurethane Spray
- 3” Wood Screws
- 1¼” Nails
- Gorilla Wood Glue
Approximate Total Cost: $10
The DIY Wood Floating Shelf can be made for about $10 in materials cost. This is the cost for the wood, wood finish, and other basic supplies. *Note: This doesn’t include smaller things you may already have around the shop, including: glue, sandpaper, etc.
- 1 – 2×4 $3/piece
- 2 – Cedar Pickets $2.50/piece
Cut All of the Wood Pieces
We’ll start this project by marking and making cuts for all of the different pieces for the wood floating shelf. It basically consists of the 2×4 wood frame that screws into the studs in your wall and also the cedar picket shelf box that slides onto the frame. Take a look at the cut list in the free plans for dimensions and guidance. Sand the boards, once they’re cut to size.
Start Assembly, Making the Frame First
Once you have all of your pieces, we’ll make the 2×4 wood frame that’ll screw into the wall. Kreg Jig (pocket hole joinery) the short boards onto the longer board. Also screw in 3” wood screws from the opposite side, for more security. This frame will be completely hidden on the inside of the cedar shelf box, so once it’s made there is no need to finish this. You can leave it all rough.
Assemble the Cedar Box Shelf
Then we’ll put together the cedar box that will slide over the 2×4 frame, becoming the main shelf and the most visible part of this project. Dry fit all of the pieces to make sure your cuts were accurate, then add wood glue to the joints. Nail everything together with 1 ¼” nails and then let the glue dry.
Sand, Finish, and Let Cure
Sand the cedar box down to at least 220 grit with your orbital sander. The finishing process that I did for this project was the steel wool and vinegar solution/stain. Refer to this tutorial video here. Let your solution work its magic for a while and once to the desired color, seal it all up with a water-based spray polyurethane. The water-based sealer ensures that you won’t change the effect, patina, and color of the steel wool and vinegar solution.
Install the 2×4 Frame and the Cedar Shelf
Once the finishing process is done and everything has dried to the manufacturer’s recommended time, we can install it! We’ll first find the studs in the wall, should be about 16” apart. Then we’ll screw the 2×4 frame into the wall with 2 3” wood screws for each connection to the stud. Slide the cedar box shelf on and you’re done!
*Note: If you’re wanting a more secure shelf (maybe the kids could pull the shelf off of the frame) you can simply screw the shelf onto the 2×4 frame from the underside or topside.
That’s it! Now you can enjoy your super cool looking floating bookshelves!
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