DIY Floating Shelves with Clavos

Now, we are no stranger to floating shelves around here.  I shared my bathroom floating shelves at the beginning of this year, and Ashley recently shared her living room floating shelves as well.  Be sure to click on those to find the tutorials!

I have a space in my own living room that has been begging for some, so I came up with these!

Simple DIY Floating Shelves

DIY Floating Shelves - Shanty2Chic

I LOVE them!!  I love the height they add to the room!  I did design these a bit different than my last floating shelves to simplify the build for you guys (and for me 😉 )!

I will walk you through the entire build below, and you can also download the FREE set of printable plans by clicking HERE or the button below!

Print Floating Shelves Free Plans

Check out our How to Build a Floating Shelf Video HERE!

This is a SIMPLE build guys!  And, I say it’s great for renter’s too, as long as you are aloud to put minor holes in the wall and cover them before moving out.   Each shelf uses 3 types of boards.  The supply list is what you will need to make 3 shelves.

I started by cutting down my 2×3 boards.  These are the bones of the shelves and it is what you will actually attach to the wall.  I cut three pieces of 2×3 at 32.5″.  I also cut 9 pieces of 2×3 at 8″ each.  You can see my 8″ pieces below.  Each shelf will use 3 of these smaller pieces.

2x3 home depot

I used my Kreg Jig and my Ryobi drill to put 1.5″ pocket holes into one end of each of the smaller boards.

K5 Kreg Jig

This is what each of the pieces looked like before attaching them to the longer boards.

cuts for floating shelves

Next, I added a small amount of Gorilla Wood Glue onto my 32.5″ boards where the smaller pieces will attach.

Gorilla Wood Glue for Floating Shelves

 I used my always awesome Kreg Right Angle clamp to hold mine the smaller pieces in place while driving the first 2.5″ pocket hole screw.  You can see how this clamp easily fits into a pocket hole to hold everything all together.  It’s AMAZING.

Kreg Jig for Floating Shelves

Once you have you ‘giant E’s’ built (that’s what my 4 year old called them 🙂 )  you are ready to attach them to the wall.  I started by lining mine up where I wanted them and using a stud finder to find the studs in the wall.  I marked on my boards where all of the studs lined up.  Don’t have a stud finder??  You guys need to check out Ryobi’s new  Phone Works Stud Sensor!  This thing, and the whole line of Phone Work’s products are so cool and affordable!  It actually hooks up to your smart phone… So awesome.  You can see it HERE at Home Depot.

Studs in wall]

I used my Ryobi Drill and a small drill bit to pre drill holes into the board where I had made my marks.  Pre-drilling will help keep the wood from splitting.

Predrill for floating shelf

I chose to use my Impact Driver to attach mine to the wall.  Why?  Because I can hold the thing in one hand and push the button and it drives the screw with literally almost no work on my end.  A drill will work too, but whenever I am driving screws into studs like this, I always use the impact driver.  Before holding it up to the wall, I barely attached each screw into the holes to make it easier when I was holding it up.

Ryobi Impact Driver

I used 3″ torx screws to attach mine.  Wood screws will work fine too.  Make sure to also use a level on these boards so you know they sit straight on the wall.

Attaching Floating Shelf to the wall

And there you have it… 3 Giant E’s on the wall 😉

Now to cover them up!

I chose to use PureBond Hardwood Plywood from Home Depot to create the tops and bottoms of these.  I LOVE the way this product looks stained, which is why I chose it!  I ripped my boards down to size with my Kreg Rip-Cut, but you can also have the guys at Home Depot cut these for you.  It will make it easier to get it into the car and saves you a step!  This is the board you will have cut and the cuts that you will need for this part…

Plywood Cuts

This is what my pieces looked like after I ripped them down.

Plywood for floating shelves

I used my Ryobi AirStrike brad nailer with 1.25″ brad nails to attach the bottom pieces first.

Nail Floating Shelf Bottom

Side of floating shelf

Next, I did the same thing with my top pieces!

Nail Top of Floating Shelf

All three should look a bit like this once you have this part finished!

Building the Floating Shelves

Floating Shelf How To

Now to trim them out!  I used inexpensive whitewood for this part.  I love the way it unevenly takes stain and the price makes me happy too! 🙂

I started by cutting my side pieces.

Floating Shelf Sides

 Before attaching them I added a line of wood glue to each one.

Gorilla Glue for Floating Shelves

I used my brad nailer to attach those with 1.25″ brad nails and then cut the longer front pieces.  I added wood glue along the outer edge of these pieces before attaching them to the front of the shelves.

Gorilla Wood Glue

I used the same nails on this part too.

Nail front of floating shelves

All finished!

Side of Floating Shelves

DIY Floating Shelves Tutorial

I used 3M painter’s tape to cover the wall around each shelf before adding the finish.

3m Painter's Tape

I chose to use Varathane wood stain from Home Depot in one of our FAV colors for mine…

Varathane Wood Stain

After allowing that to dry an hour (yup! Only an hour) I used my Corner Cat sander and my JobPlus sander to distress the heck out of these.  I wanted them to look old and rustic!

How to build floating shelves

My final step was using a rubber mallet to attach these awesome clavos I found!  You can find similar ones HERE on Amazon!
!  I love the added touch on that rough wood… So shanty! 😉

Clavos Nail on Floating Shelves

And here they are all dolled up!  What do you think??

DIY Floating Shelves - Shanty2Chic

Simple DIY Floating Shelves

Floating Shelves DIY

DIY Floating Shelves by Shanty2Chic

Hope you LOVE them as much as I do!  It’s amazing to me what a project that costs under $50 can add to a room.  YES!  Under $50!  Can’t beat it guys!

I would LOVE for you to share and PIN these!  Thanks so much for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions at all!



  1. Ansley Murray on June 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Would these bear much weight? Say, for a kitchen? Looking for floating shelves that can hold the weight of dishes and such.

  2. REBECCA PLATT on August 18, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    I’ve had this pinned for years and just now getting around to making them. Two questions though?

    Did you mean 2 x 4″s? I had no idea HD carried 2 x 3’s?

    Second, why couldn’t you stain all the boards ahead of time.?

    PS. love your site.

  3. Jessica on June 17, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    What color is on the wall?

  4. Zovesta on September 20, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Love it! I never really knew how these worked before. They turned out great!! =D

  5. Andria Fox on March 21, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Hi, could you tell me which kind of plywood you used? As in, was it birch or maple, etc. I’m a diy newbie so I want to make sure I get the right supplies. Lol. Love all your projects! Thanks so much 🙂

    • Shanty2Chic on March 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

      Birch but you can do maple too. You can’t tell much of a difference between the two. Good luck!!

  6. Kerri Leigh on January 27, 2016 at 10:34 am

    What is the paint color of the kitchen cabinets in the background of the first photo??

  7. T-MAC on January 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I’m curious as to why you didn’t pre assemble the box, then slide them over your supports, then attach the shelf using screws?

  8. Meredith Shalda on October 26, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Hello Whitney,
    I LOVE these, I have appointed myself lead designer of my boyfriends abode and they would look lovely in the living room. But I do not have a kreg jig and am a super beginner with the building! How could I modify the instructions so that they look just as pretty without the same tools? Thanks!

  9. Gina Weeks on October 2, 2015 at 5:44 am

    I just saw episode 1 of your new TV show. LOVE it!! Thanks for the great directions. I am going to be making these soon!!

    • Shanty2Chic on October 2, 2015 at 5:51 am

      Yeah Gina!! Thank you so much and GOOD LUCK! Can’t wait to see them!

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