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Easy DIY Floating Shelves!

This easy tutorial will show you how to build these DIY floating shelves. Just follow the free printable plans and how-to video by www.shanty-2-chic.com! I finally put use to a blank wall I have been staring at in my bathroom for far too long.  I am LOVING how it turned out! Check out our How to Build a Floating Shelf Video! Just click the play button below!

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE FREE PRINTABLE PLANS
DIY Floating Shelf Tutorial
DIY Floating Shelves at Shanty2Chic

How fun are those??  I really wanted my shelves to be thick and beefy looking.  I also wanted them to be super sturdy in case a certain 2 year old decides to use them as a ladder.  It will happen.  This design does both!

Easy DIY Floating Shelves Tutorial and Plans

This is a great beginner project… Very simple cuts and assembly!  Let’s get started!

Easy DIY Floating Shelves – The Supplies

Supply List for 3 Shelves

1 – 1″ x 10″ x 8′ pine or whitewood board

2 – 2″ x 3″ x 8′ pine or whitewood board

1/4″ hardwood plywood material – I bought a 4′ x 4′ sheet and had Home Depot rip mine into 9.25″ strips.

3 – 1″ x 4″ x 6′ select pine or whitewood boards

brad nailer

Kreg Jig (optional and totally recommended)

2.5″ pocket hole screws

3.5″ torx or wood screws

Gorilla Wood Glue

The cost of wood for all 3 shelves was around $45 making these bad boys $15 a piece for wood… Yup.  I love them even more now.

Start by making your cuts.  (Watch our How to Use a Miter Saw video HERE) Each shelf will have a frame that you will build first.  The back of the frame that is attached to your wall will be a 2×3 cut at 32″.  Then, each shelf will have 3 brackets that are each 7.75″ long.

Shelf Supports

I used my Kreg Jig to add 1.5″ pocket holes on one end of each of the brackets.  This tool is the bomb.  It will make your projects so much easier to assemble and also make them much stronger.  If you are using the K3 or K4 model right now, I totally suggest checking out the K5.  I just upgraded to that one and LOVE every little thing about it!  Best thing ever.

Check it out HERE!

And watch our How to Use a Kreg Jig video HERE!

This is how I lined up the brackets to make the two pocket holes…

Kreg Jig

Next I attached my brackets using 2.5″ pocket hole screws.  I did add some Gorilla wood glue to each one as well to make it extra sturdy.

Building a floating shelf

Easy DIY Floating Shelves – Wall Mounting

That’s it for the frames!  Now to attach them to your wall.  The first thing you will want to do is mark where your studs are.  The easiest way to do this is by using a stud finder.  This is the stud finder I use.
It’s a simple little tool that you run along the wall and it beeps when it finds a stud.

I held each frame up to the wall and marked on the frame where my studs would be.  Then I used my Ryobi drill to pre drill 2 holes where each stud lined up.  This keeps the wood from splitting when you attach it.

predrill floating shelf

You can use your drill on this next part, but I chose to use my impact driver.  Guys… This is like a drill that does all the work for you.  If you have a battery, the tool only costs $69 and you will be amazed at how often you use it over your drill for driving.

Ryobi Impact Driver

I chose to use 3 1/2″ torx screws to attach each of my frames.  You can also use wood screws.  Here it is after I attached it to the wall…

Floating Shelf How To

You can see where I drilled straight through the back of the frame and into the wall.

Mounting a floating shelf

Here they are all 3 up and ready to go!

Floating Shelves How to build

Next, I added my bottom 1/4″ hardwood plywood.  I had Home Depot rip my sheet down to 9.25″ strips and I cut each one at 32″.  I attached them to the base of the frame using wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails.  I used my cordless Ryobi AirStrike nailer on this part. Can I tell you how awesome cordless tools are… Especially for indoor projects like this one!  Saved me a ton of time and hassle.

Ryobi AirStrike Battery Nailer
Building the floating shelf

After adding that I moved to my top piece.  I used 1×10 board on this part.  Each one was cut 32″ long and I attached them using wood glue and brad nails.

DIY Floating Shelves How To

Your final step will be trimming it all out!  I used 1 x 4″ select pine on this part, but you can also use whitewood.  I love using whitewood because it is cheaper, but I had a hard time finding enough straight ones that day, so I went for the select.

Start by cutting your side pieces.  Mine were each 9 1/4″ long.  I attached them using 1 1/4″ brad nails and glue.

Sides of floating shelves

And now for the front piece!  You will want to measure for exact on yours, but it will be somewhere around 33.5″ long.  I attached mine the same way using glue and brad nails.

Building the floating shelves

Once I had all 3 done I taped them off…

How to build floating shelves

Easy DIY Floating Shelves – Staining

I used this stain to stain mine.  You can find this at Home Depot and I love it!  1 hour dry time just like Rust-Oleum that is carried elsewhere.  I actually find that it dries even faster than that.

 Here they are drying!

DIY Floating Shelves Tutorial

You can keep them like this or distress yours like I did!  I used my Ryobi Corner Cat sander to go over all my edges and corners.  This gives it a fun, vintage look.  I like to say they look ‘shanty’ 😉

That’s it!  Here are the diy floating shelves all finished up!

DIY Floating Shelves
DIY Floating Shelves at Shanty2Chic
DIY Floating Shelf
DIY Chunky Floating Shelves
DIY Floating Shelf Tutorial
Easy Floating Shelf Tutorial

What do you think??  I love them!  I may make some for every room now 😉

I found all the cute baskets, towels and accessories at HomeGoods!  LOVE that place… I always walk in for one thing, and out with many more ;-)…

I would LOVE for you to pin these and share them with all your friends!  You guys are awesome!

Thanks so much!

~Whitney

DIY Floating Shelves

This easy tutorial will show you how to build these DIY floating shelves. Just follow the free printable plans and how-to video. You can click the link below to download and print the full set of plans!
https://www.shanty-2-chic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/DIY-Floating-Shelves-Free-Plans.pdf
Keyword: diy floating shelve, free plans

Supply List

  • 1 1x10x8 Pine or Whitewood
  • 2 2x3x8 Framing Lumber
  • 1 4’x4’x1/4″ Hardwood Plywood
  • 3 1x4x6′ Pine or Whitewood
  • 1 1/4″ Brad Nails
  • 2 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • 3 1/2″ Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue

Instructions

  • Cut List
  • Screw the three 7 3/4″ pieces to the back 32″ piece.
  • Locate your wall studs and transfer the locations to the back piece. Predrill two holes at each stud location and use 3 1/2″ wood screws to attach the shelf to the wall.
  • Add the bottom 1/4″ plywood. this piece and the rest of the project will be attached with wood glue and brad nails.
  • Attach the top 1×10 shelf.
  • Attach the side 1×4 trim.
  • Attach the 1×4 front trim. Now you’re ready to tape off the walls, sand and finish.

126 Comments

  1. Machelle on December 13, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I have scoured your blog to try to find the paint color of this bathroom and can’t find it anywhere. Could you please let me know? Thanks 🙂

  2. Machelle on December 13, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I have scoured your blog to try to find the paint color of this bathroom and can’t find it anywhere. Could you please let me know? Thanks 🙂

  3. Kelly on November 19, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Hello, I am a New but faithful follower! Love your stuff! I was wondering if you made your bathroom curtains or did you buy them? Adorable!!!

  4. Bren on October 22, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Love the shelves and the whole room. Are your walls paneling or are they textured? It all blends together so well. 🙂

  5. Bren on October 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Love it! Great job. Will have to try making them this week. I have to ask about your walls. lol I’m in the middle of fixing old drywall that has to be textured painted, and wondered if yours are paned or textured with spackle, etc…? It would save me from “finishing” this drywall.

    • Cameron Miller on February 13, 2015 at 12:26 am

      It’s venetian plaster. A drywall finishing technique.

  6. Jenn on September 19, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Love the look of your bathroom. I couldn’t find a reply to the questions about the paint color and curtains. Did you make those curtains? What is the name of the paint color?

  7. Mccorygal on August 8, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Could you tell me the name if the paint on your wall? I love it

  8. Mccorygal on August 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Love your entire bathroom! Can you tell me what color your walls are?

  9. Lisa on July 23, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Thank you for your tutorial, I love these shelves and would like to build them. I was wondering if the cuts you stated are accurate before I start on this project. If the top of the shelve is 1x10x32 and the bottom shelf is 1/4×9.25×32 won’t there be an extra .75″ hanging from the top shelf…since the top shelf is 10 inches in width and the bottom shelve is 9.25 inches in width I would think they wouldn’t be flush when applying the front trim. Does it somehow work out with these measurements? Or is the top shelf ripped to 9.25″ instead of 10″?

    • Cari on July 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Lisa, a 1×10 is actually only 9 1/4 inches wide. Just as a 1×4 is
      actually only 3 1/2 inches wide. If you google “lumber dimensions”
      you’ll be able to find several charts that will give you the Nominal and Actual thicknesses and widths of lumber. So for this project, the 1 x 10 on the top and the board ripped at 9 1/4 on the bottom, are a perfect match! Build away!

      • Lisa on July 28, 2014 at 5:58 pm

        Can you tell this is my first building project. I am very excited to build these and had no idea about the actual lumbar thickness, I wanted to make sure it would all work out before buying the lumbar and making the cuts. thank you for you help, wish me luck 😉

  10. Usher on July 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Hi I Love the shelves- how do I go about making a 41.5 inches wide shelves instead. I m not a handyman and my wife wants me to make them for her. Thank you.

  11. Creya on June 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Is there a way to remove them without having to destroy them?

    • JB on June 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      I was wondering the same thing….Id rather attach the bottom with small head countersunk screws to be able to more easily remove the bottom to take them down or move them.

    • Stephanie on June 23, 2017 at 9:24 am

      After screwing the base piece with its supports to the wall, the rest of the shelf should be built as one piece and slid over the supports. I built myself a similar shelf but with crown moulding and it just covers and sits on the wall supports.

      I really don’t think it’s a good idea to build the entire piece to the wall. It should be easily removable without destroying the piece or the wall. It looks beautiful though and I’ll be using this as a template to make my own.

  12. Meg on June 1, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I really want to do something like this in my kitchen. I have a huge, long blank wall, and very little storage. My problem is I don’t have all these tools. Does anyone know how much of this can be done by Lowe’s/Home Depot? I have a drill, but no Jig and no staple gun.

  13. cdcd33 on May 6, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Love what you’ve done and it’s inspired me to do something similar in my closets. My question is how did you deal with seams and nail/screw holes? I’ve been testing with various “stainable” wood filers and the results have been pretty “meh.” Would love to know what worked for you.

  14. mikenice on March 31, 2014 at 6:41 am

    How much weight do you think these can hold? I modified the design a bit and instead of doing the toe screwing I countersunk some holes and put 3 inch long deck screws through the backing that attaches to the wall.

  15. Brittney Adams-Vivian on February 17, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Could you do this with 2×2’s and 3/4 plywood. I have a hard time finding 2×3’s and was thinking of doing a narrower profile for the shelf?

    • mikenice on March 31, 2014 at 6:42 am

      same here, however you can find regular old 2×3 framing studs for 1.50 at home depot. biggest problem i had was finding some that were in good condition. 2×2 are a good idea too. was going to try that. that will allow a thicker bottom to be attached too.

  16. JessB on February 16, 2014 at 3:37 am

    I don’t want to attach it directly to the wall so I might try using a french cleat system. Thanks for the great ideas!

  17. Niki Kriete on February 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Ack! Just built these and got to the part where I put the trim pieces on and realized you used 2×3’s and I used 2×4’s…didn’t read the plans close enough… Now I have to figure out how to finish them since nobody makes 1×5’s and I hate ripping wood… Any suggestions? Is there some kind of trim I could add to fill in the extra space? I had planned on doing. A vinegar/steel wool finish on them, but now I don’t know what to do..

  18. Niki Kriete on February 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Ack! Loved these, but started building them before reading the instructions closely. I assumed you used 2×4’s for the frame, not 2×3’s. I don’t even think I have ever seen 2×3’s anywhere around here… I got to the part where you attach the trim on the edge and realized my trim was too small… Hope I can find some 1×5’s around here somewhere so I can finish this 🙁 might just finish with some pallet wood…

  19. Brittany Meek on February 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I loved the shelves and knew I needed some for myself! I ripped out some ugly, old cabinets in my laundry room and built these (in 14* temps with snow on the workbench)! I absolutely love them and they are so much prettier than what I had before. Thanks for the great plans!

  20. Donna Hurst on February 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I was inspired. This is the first actual building project I have done. It was extremely trying as our house is over 60 years old and was moved from one lot to another. Plumb, level and square are not really on the menu around here. LOL!

    • Marie Roxanne on September 20, 2014 at 10:18 am

      That looks awesome! Great job!

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