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DIY Floating Shelves for my Living Room

Build these easy DIY Floating shelves with FREE Printable plans and how-to tutorial by Shanty2Chic. These are inexpensive and add character to your home!

I built the eight floating shelves you see there for only $120!!!  Each shelf is 4 ft. long and 12 in. deep!  How amazing is that 🙂

I was inspired by the DIY Floating Shelves that Whit built in her bathroom!  If you missed them you can see them HERE 🙂  I basically followed the same installation instructions and only made a few modifications to the size!

DIY Floating Shelves

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


Here’s how I built mine!
CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE FREE PRINTABLE PLANS

How to Build DIY Floating Shelves

Supplies:

  • 1 2x4x8 Framing Lumber
  • 1 1x6x8 Pine Boards Or Common Boards
  • 1 3/4″x24″x48″ Hardwood Plywood (Birch)
  • 1 1/4″x24″x48″ Hardwood Plywood (Birch)
  • 1 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • 1 1/4″ Brad Nails
  • 3 1/2″ Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Finish – paint or stain
  • Wood Filler

Tools:

  • Drill
  • Miter Saw
  • Kreg Jig

Step 1: Cutting the Lumber

daughter-on-cart

To avoid using my table saw, I had the nice man at the hardware store rip 1 sheet of 3/4″ Purebond Plywood (in Birch) into 4 – 11 1/4″ boards and 1 sheet of 1/4″ Purebond Plywood the same.  So you will basically have 4 – 8ft. 3/4″ boards and 4 – 1/4″ boards the same length.  (My daughter’s home away from home 🙂 ) You can also use a circular saw to rip your boards.

I also purchased 6 – 2x4x8 and 6 – 1x6x8.

measurements

I came home and got to work!  I cut 1 – 2×4 @ 46.5″ and 2 – 2×4 pieces at 9.75″, for each shelf.

Step 2: Building the Frame

build-e

I built the “E” brackets the same way Whitney did by drilling pocket holes into the short 2×4 pieces with my Kreg pocket hole jig.

Step 3: Building the Wall Shelf

plywood-measurements

Then, I cut the 3/4″ plywood pieces and the 1/4″ plywood pieces at 46.5″ (totaling 8 boards per size).  These will be the top and bottom pieces of wood on the shelves.

I also cut 16 – 1×6 pieces @11 1/4″  and 8 – 1×6 pieces @48″ but I missed getting pictures of that! (these will be the sides and fronts of the shelves)

drill-pocket-holes-in-shelf-tops

I used my Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes into each end of the 3/4″ plywood boards and attached them to the 1×6 pieces to form the top piece and sides of the shelves. (again missed pics of that – I blame summer 😉

Step 4: Attaching the Floating Shelf to the Wall

Time to bring them inside to install!

draw-a-level-line

After deciding where I wanted my shelves (I decided to give 13″ between each shelf) I used my level to draw a 4 ft. line where I wanted each shelf to sit.

find-studs

Next, I used my stud finder to mark where the studs were.  Attaching the “E” brackets to the studs behind the wall will avoid the need for wall anchors and allows them to hold more weight.

drill-into-studs

To attach the “E’s” to the wall, I used 3 1/2″ spax screws and drilled them into the “E” and then into a stud with my Impact Driver. I did 2 screws per stud.

ashley-installing-shelves

I installed 4 on one side of the fireplace and 4 on the other :)

attach-shelves

Once the “E” brackets were installed, I dropped the assembled shelves on top of each one and attached them with my brad nailer and 2″ nails.

attach-bottom-with-nailer

Then, I followed-up with the 1/4″ sheets underneath.

I attached the 48″ 1×6 pieces to the front with my nailer as well (and surprisingly didn’t get pics of that part either)!

Step 5: Adding a Finish

tape-off-for-stain

I taped them off with painter’s tape before staining, sanded them all over with a 120-grit sandpaper and filled any exposed holes with wood filler.

Varathane-Carrington-Wood-Stain-500x740

I wiped on one-coat of Carrington stain, let it sit for 5-minutes and then wiped it with a clean cloth. Once the wood stain was completely dry, I added one coat of polyurethane with a paint brush.

  • You can find Rust-oleum stain HERE on Amazon.
before-shelves

Here is my before…. I’ve been starring at this space since we moved into our new home 4 months ago and finally decided how to fill the space.

DIY-Floating-Shelf-how-to

I built all of this shelving for about $120!!!  That gave me lots of dough to spend on decor ;)

DIY-Floating-Shelves
how-to-build-a-floating-shelf
DIY-Floating-Shelf-Tutorial
How-to-Build-Floating-Shelves

I bought the majority of the accessories from Homegoods and Marshall’s, and a few pieces from Hobby Lobby!  Seriously LOVE my new space and $120 for 8 – 4ft. shelves is a lot of bang for my buck :)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

~Ashley

Info on other things in this room :)

I did build the coffee table and you can find it HERE!

You can find out about the fan HERE

and the info on the flooring is HERE

You can find the rug HERE

DIY Floating Shelves

Build these easy DIY Floating Shelves with free printable plans and how-to tutorial by Shanty2Chic. Make sure to click the link below to print the full version of the plans, including the supply list!
https://www.shanty-2-chic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIY-Floating-Shelves.pdf

Supply List

  • 1 2x4x8 Framing Lumber
  • 1 1x6x8 Pine Or Common Boards
  • 1 3/4″x24″x48″ Hardwood Plywood (Birch)
  • 1 1/4″x24″x48″ Hardwood Plywood (Birch)
  • 1 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • 1 1/4″ Brad Nails
  • 3 1/2″ Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue

Tools

  • Drill
  • Miter Saw
  • Kreg Jig

Instructions

  • Cut List
    Note: This cut list is for one floating shelf. If you build more than one shelf, adjust the cut list.
  • Cut the cleat pieces to size. Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes into one end of each support piece. Attach the support pieces to the long cleat piece with 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and wood glue. Locate the studs behind the wall you are hanging the shelf on and attach the cleat to the wall with 3 1/2″ wood screws.
  • Cut the top plywood piece to size and attach it to the cleat with wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails.
  • Cut the bottom piece of plywood to size and attach it to the bottom of the cleat with 1 1/4″ brad nails and wood glue.
  • Cut the side pieces to size and attach them to the side of the cleat with 1 1/4″ brad nails and wood glue.
  • Cut the front piece to size and attach it to the front of the cleat with 1 1/4″ brad nails and wood glue.
  • Now, just adda a finish and you’re done! Make sure to share your builds with us on social media and use #shanty2chic so we can share them too! Happy Building!

71 Comments

  1. Maylene Torres on December 28, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Can I order the floating shelves from you?

  2. Kristi Landis on December 1, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    These are 6″ tall, correct? What is the thinnest one could make these? 3 inches? Would they still be strong?

  3. AC on March 13, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Hello! I just found your beautiful site! Just in time as we want to build the same thing, floating shelves on each side of our fire place, I have some collection that I would love them to find a forever home, and these shelves are perfect. I’m just wondering how thick, or what is the height of these shelves? Also is it possible to make them slimmer, maybe around 2 inches? I hope you can help me out. Thanks a lot!

  4. Megan on October 21, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Can you make shelves that are 18″ deep in this manner, or is there something inherent in the design that would prevent you from safely scaling up for deeper AV/media shelves?
    Thanks!

  5. Danielle on March 21, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    It seems like the plywood should be cut into 12″ pieces. I say this because I got everything cut to size and went to put together my first shelf realizing that the plywood is 3/4″ too short and now I have to cut all my other pieces to match.

  6. KAtie woods on October 10, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I love your stone on the mantel – anyway you can tell me name and where it’s from?
    Thank ypu

  7. shawnae ellsworth-bratz on September 23, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    There has been an inflation of wood prices due to the hurricanes bringing my total cost of the wood to $250. This makes this an expensive project

  8. Rachel Roszmann on August 14, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Gorgeous! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Derivativedishes.com

  9. Kaitlyn on February 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    OK maybe you can help me out. I am not understanding something completely. With the 2×4 boards, when I cut them at 9 3/4″ I only get 18 pieces total but if I’m making 8 boards total, just like your instructions, don’t I need 24 pieces? How do I get that from the boards?

    Hopefully that makes sense! 🙂

  10. Megan on November 17, 2016 at 9:30 am

    We recently added these shelves to both sides of our fireplace and are now ready to stone the front of our fireplace. Where did you get the stone on yours? I love it and it really pulls everything together. Thank you!

  11. Tegan Fuller on November 8, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    What are the metal decorative pieces on the edges of some of the floating shelves? Where can you purchase them?
    Thanks

  12. Brittany on January 10, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you so much for this awesome tutorial!

  13. Allison Smith on January 7, 2016 at 7:25 am

    My man is home this week and has taken note of these shelves which I show him on a consistent basis. This is what I came home to last night! Love this site, they have inspired many additions to our first home 🙂

  14. Kerri Berhold Schull on December 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    where did you get your stuff on the shelves?

  15. Christian Schedler on November 25, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    These are great! are the materials you listed for 8 shelves? I am going to make 4 of them. Thanks!

  16. dori on September 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

    curious why you stained after they were on the wall? wouldnt it be neater to stain first?

    • Shanty2Chic on September 10, 2015 at 11:25 am

      You can, I like to stain inside when I can to keep stuff from blowing in the garage and sticking to the stain. Also, I attached the bottoms after they were attached the walls.

  17. Matthew Jackson on August 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I would also love to know how far you hung the first shelf from the floor! Also, how high are your ceilings?

  18. Jamie Roucloux on July 30, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I love these shelves but I’m in a rent house and would probably want to take them with me eventually. Do you have any ideas for modifying the design to where they would be easily removeable?

  19. MegaScientist on July 14, 2015 at 11:28 am

    curious: why did you stain the wood AFTER building and not before?

  20. karinouten on March 30, 2015 at 8:04 am

    What paint color do you have on your wall? That is very close to the color I’ve been looking for. A little taupe, a little gray.

  21. Stephanie Marberg on March 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I’m loving all of your stunning creations but am a beginner. I’m pulling in my handy husband to help start some of your projects and this is the first one I’d like to accomplish. We do not have any Kreg tools/products. What do you recommend we purchase for this project?? Thanks!!!

  22. Carlyn on March 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    My boyfriend and I just bought all the wood to make these shelves!! He does not have the tool to drill the pocket holes though and he was wondering the reason for needing them? Can the pieces just be nailed together from the top and sides?

    • Shanty2Chic on March 14, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      They can be! He needs to use screws for the 2×4 supports!

      • Carlyn on March 15, 2015 at 11:39 am

        Thanks for the quick response!! I will post a pic when we finish them up!!

        • Carlyn on May 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

          Love them!!!! Hung 3 in the guest room and 3 are going to go in the master bedroom, and then we are making 3 small ones to go in the bathroom!! Thank you so much for posting this DIY. They were super simple and look fabulous!!

  23. Amy McLaughlin on February 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Love the shelves! Will be attempting! 🙂 Question about the tv on the fireplace…where is the tv’s power source?

  24. Karen Garman on January 30, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I cannot find carrington! Has it been discontinued?

  25. GR82BNTX on January 16, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Question on the 1X6 front piece – does this actually give you a little bit of a front ledge guard so to speak so things don’t slide off the front if bumped? I have a clumsy 13 y.o. boy doing the dusting ;0)

  26. Kris on December 10, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Where did you get your couches?

  27. Jill on November 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Very cute shelves!! I was wondering if you nailed bottoms on all the shelves (the ultra thin wood)? The finished result looks like no. Can you share?

    • Shanty2Chic on November 30, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      I nailed the 1/4″ plywood to the bottom of every shelf.

    • chelle on January 16, 2015 at 11:55 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. In the pics it looks like they are open?!…..

      • Jessie Pilkington on February 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm

        You can’t see the bottom of the shelf because it’s inset and not flush with the sides.

  28. Nancy Barr on November 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I have also been staring at blank walls next to our fireplace/Tv and I was headed to IKEA this week to buy bookcases ($500.) I think you just saved me some money!!! Thank you!!!

  29. Lisa Bullert on November 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    When you say you spaced your shelves 13″ apart. Is that the space between the bottom of one shelf to the top of the next or top to top?

    • Shanty2Chic on November 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear on that. I measured from the top of one to the bottom of the one above it.

      • Lisa Bullert on November 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm

        Thank you! Your response was quick! My husband and I are mimicking this look in our house and it seems like a big space in between the shelves in person, but looks just right in your picture!

  30. Jennifer Ritchie on November 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Is this sturdy enough to hold books? They look great!

    • Shanty2Chic on November 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks Jennifer! Yes! I actually sat on the bottom one :))

  31. Jill Elizabeth French on November 4, 2014 at 10:55 am

    How many inches from the floor did you start your bottom shelf?

  32. Zoe on October 20, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Would these be strong enough to do as Kitchen floating shelves?

  33. Ironbutterfly dk1951 on September 17, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Those look great, better than the ones my contractor honey made for me. In his defense I can actually stand on mine. Good job.

  34. Liz Howes on August 25, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I love these shelves… I was wondering how much weight do you think they can handle?.. . I have lots of books

    • Karl Browne on April 24, 2015 at 10:34 am

      I would NOT advise using floating shelves for more than a few books.

      • Shanty2Chic on April 24, 2015 at 10:39 am

        Thanks Karl. If you built them and secure them correctly they can hold an large amount of weight. I actually sat on one of them and it didn’t budge.

  35. Jennifer Bays Ulrich on July 14, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I also love you paint color… what is it? And they shelves are awesome too!

    • Shanty2Chic on July 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Thank you! Fairmont penthouse stone by Valspar:)

  36. Faith on July 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    What color paint is on your walls?

    • Shanty2Chic on July 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Fairmont penthouse stone by Valspar 🙂

  37. Taylor Nicole Cates on July 12, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Can you tell me where you bought your curtains? They are beautiful and so is the rest of the room!

    • Shanty2Chic on July 29, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you Taylor! There is a link to the curtains in the post:)

      • Jill Elizabeth French on August 14, 2014 at 12:06 am

        I do not see a link in the post for the curtains. Can you tell me where you bought the curtains or what fabric that is ? Thanks !

        • Jill Elizabeth French on August 14, 2014 at 12:41 am

          Nevermind, I found them 🙂

          • MrRazzleDazzle on November 5, 2014 at 10:22 am

            I guess I am an idiot because I don’t see the link for the cutains ?!?



          • Jill Elizabeth French on November 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

            On this page under projects, then click window treatments, then it should be the first one you come to called – DIY lined window panels.



  38. Howarth ShaneAmber on July 4, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Love the Shelves, cant wait to do mine, and coffee table!! Where did you get the Metal letter and & ?I love them!

    • Shanty2Chic on July 5, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Thank you!!! Got those at Hobby Lobby for $14.99! They run them 1/2 off all the time so get them on sale 🙂

  39. Lisa @ Shine Your Light on June 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Oh my gosh – your shelves came out great! Thanks for sharing how you did it – now I need to find a place for floating shelves!

  40. Felicia B on June 30, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I love these shelves!! It is such a nice change from the usual built in bookshelves that you find flanking fireplaces. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the Carrington color.

    • Shanty2Chic on July 5, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Love Carrington, Felicia! Thank you so much! Our plans called for built-ins but I knew I would want to change the look pretty often:) love the character these shelves give!

  41. Lisa on June 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    great job on the shelves! I need to make some ….. and the coffee table is awesome!

  42. Yesenia on June 30, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Amazing Job Ashley!!

    I had a question how did you mount the TV on stone? I have a fire place made from brick.

    Thanks for your time. Keep inspiring so many of us.

    • Shanty2Chic on June 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Thank you so much!! To hang the TV, we bought a tv mounting kit (walmart maybe) and the kits come with masonry and wall anchors. We used our hammer drill to drill pilot holes then fit the anchors in and tightened them. I am actually building a mantel for our fireplace and will share the tutorial on how I attach it to the stone – soon!

    • Millie on June 30, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Be sure to really think about your posture while watching a TV mounted so high up. While I admire how lovely the room is above, I can’t help but thinking that everyone watching TV in it has to look up high over their right or left shoulder the entire time. Ideally, if not always practical, the center or lower third of the screen should be even with your eyes when seated in the room.

  43. Yesenia on June 30, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Amazing Job Ashley!!

    I had a question how did you mount the TV on stone? I have a fire place made from brick.

    Thanks for your time. Keep inspiring so many of us.

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