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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. Sarah on April 5, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Hello, this post is a bit old so I don’t know if you’ll see this or not, but is there a reason you stained the wood after putting it up? Wouldn’t it be easier to stain it before?

  2. Andy C on February 23, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    While the idea of attaching all the boards and pieces to the frame seems plausible, it is not. This design method turned out to be very unrealistic. It causes endless gaps and fitting issues all over! Like all the other shelf projects from Shanty 2 Chic and elsewhere on the net, next time I’ll build the box first and slide over the frame. Great project overall but needs to be updated to fix this problem.

  3. Kita on February 13, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    This is awesome, girls! But I’m going right over to Amazon and buy these bad boys!! LOL!!!

  4. Bev on February 2, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Hi there,
    In your video for the floating shelves, one completed shelf shows a large decorative nail head on the front ends. Where do you find those?
    Thanks!

  5. J Sned on December 2, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    I LOVE these shelves!! I’m going to make my first ones these this week! But I only have 1 stud to attach to. My shelves will be over a toilet so not a lot of weight being put on the shelves. Is 1 stud enough or should I put anchors where there are no studs.

  6. Zeek on October 23, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Would the 1/4″ plywood for the bottom of the shelf not also need to be cut to 9.5″, like the 1×10’s come? Why 9.25? Great idea but curious on that part….

  7. Amy E Luckett on September 12, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I love this idea! I am hoping to get started on this project soon. On a separate note, can you tell me where you got your curtains that are in this photo? The cream ones with the cute skirt at the bottom? Or are you also a master seamstress and made them too? 🙂 Thank you!

  8. Joe on April 16, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Beautiful job on these! I will definitely be making them since my wife wants some in our family room and half bath. One question, where did you get those awesome accessories to attach to the front of the shelves in your photos? I would like to add a custom touch like that. Thanks for posting the video and keep’em coming!

  9. brendan on March 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

    For the bottom of each shelf I would screw that piece of wood instead of nails and glue- that way you can easily rwmove the bottom of each shelf to access the screws to remove the shelves in case you want to paint/redecorate.

  10. Renate on January 4, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Some times its a pain in the ass to read what blog owners wrote but this site is
    very user genial!

  11. Kenzi Foley on October 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    So this plan makes 3, 3 foot shelves?

  12. Emily on August 19, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I’m planning on building these bad boys this weekend, but had a couple questions. At no point did I read sanding (I might have missed it). Is there really no sanding involved in this? (I’d be excited!) And second, thank you for the recommendation on the stain – love how yours turned out, btw, but did you add any poly or anything over the stain?
    Thanks!

  13. RSAB72 on June 16, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I made these and they are great. I modified the plans by building the shelves completely less the bottom panel so I could sand and finish in my garage. Then I attached to the wall. I brad nailed the finished bottoms to the shelves after they were mounted to the wall and that’s that. I did not want to tape and finish in my bathroom so I could avoid any messes I was bound to make. Thanks for the plans. Only problem is now I have to build them for my parents / inlaws cuase they like them so much!

  14. Amber on June 13, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    It looks like the bottom will not be flush in the pic where you attached the finishing 1×4 boards to sides. Is is not supposed to be flush on bottom of shelves?

  15. Kathy on May 1, 2016 at 10:34 am

    What is the color of the stain you used on these?

  16. Laura on April 27, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Has anyone successfully anchored these to metal studs? If so, please let me know what type of anchors/screws you used. I am planning on using these for books…lots of books.

  17. Jill on March 26, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I have major question I hope you can answer very soon!!!!! I have my frames up with top and bottom on and have my side pieces cut and now realize I can’t fit my nailer between the wall and the shelf so I’m wondering how I’m going to attach the sides!!!! I see that your shelves were super close to that window so how did you do those sides? Or did you skip them?

  18. Claudia sanchez on March 13, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Turn out nice!

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