Floating shelves are simple enough in their construction to be completed by a novice, but they look expensive after some sanding and staining. The depth of your shelf can be easily customized depending on your storage needs. The shelf includes a finished shelf box that slips over a mounting frame, which is screwed into drywall anchors or wall studs. The frame is completely concealed so the shelves appear to float next to the wall.
Things You’ll Need
- 1-by-3 pine board, 2 feet long
- Three 1-by-3 pine boards, 8 feet long
- Two 1-by-10 pine boards, 8 feet long
- Sixty #6 1 1/2-inch wood screws
- Eight drywall anchors
- Eight 2-inch screws
- Wood filler
- Wood stain in your choice of color
- BLACK+DECKER CS1004 Circular Saw
- BLACK+DECKER BDCDC18KB Drill/Driver
- BLACK+DECKER Stss025 Sander
- 80- and 120-grit sandpaper
- Measuring tape
- Carpenter's square or straightedge
- Putty knife
- Two paintbrushes
Cut the Shelf Parts
- Four 36-inch-long pieces of 1-by-10 pine for the top and bottom of the floating shelves
- Two 36-inch-long pieces of 1-by-3 pine for the sides of the floating shelves
- Four 8 1/2-inch-long pieces of 1-by-3 pine for the ends of the floating shelves
- Six 7-inch-long pieces of 1-by-3 pine for the mounting frame struts
- Four 34-inch-long pieces of 1-by-3 pine for the front and back of the mounting frame
Note: If your 1-by-3 boards are thicker than 3/4 inch, cut the shelf ends and frame struts shorter as needed.
Assemble the Shelf Tops, Sides and Ends
Place a 36-inch-long shelf side piece under one of the 1-by-10 shelf tops. The front face of the side piece should be flush with the front edge of the shelf top and the pieces should be square at both ends. Using your BLACK+DECKER Drill/Driver, drill pilot holes with a 7/64-inch drill bit to help prevent splitting the wood. Secure the top to the side piece with 1 1/2-inch wood screws, driving one at each end and one in the middle. Fit an 8 3/8-inch end piece at each end so all edges are flush. Drill pilot holes and secure the ends with screws driven through the top of the shelf and into the end pieces. Add one more screw at each bottom corner joint. Repeat the same process to assemble the other shelf.
Attach the Bottom Shelf Pieces
Flip each shelf over with the open side facing up and place a 1-by-10 bottom piece on top of the assembly to create a box. Adjust until all edges are flush, drill pilot holes and secure the bottom with five wood screws, one in each corner and one centered along the front edge.
Sand the Shelves Smooth
Fill all of the screw holes with wood filler, using a putty knife, and let the filler dry as directed. Use the BLACK+DECKER Sander to sand all edges and faces of the shelves smooth. Start with 80-grit sandpaper to grind down uneven edges and rough surfaces, and then finish sanding with 120-grit sandpaper. Remove all sanding dust with a clean rag.
Finish the Shelves
Apply stain to each shelf with a paintbrush. Wipe off excess stain with a rag, moving in the direction of the wood grain. After the stain has dried overnight, apply a few coats of varnish to seal the wood (following the manufacturer's directions). Multiple coats will make the surface smoother to the touch and easier to clean.
Create the Mounting Frame
Each frame is made up of two 34-inch pieces of 1-by-3 for the front and back of the frame, and three 7-inch pieces for struts at each end and in the center. Place struts inside the front and back pieces to form a rectangle with square (90-degree) corners. Drill pilot holes with a 7/64-inch drill bit and drive 1 1/2-inch screws into the top and bottom of each joint.
Install the Mounting Frames
Drill four holes along the back of each mounting frame and have a partner hold the frame to the wall at your desired height. Use the Level to ensure your frame is level, and then mark through the drilled holes in the mounting frame with a pencil or screw to indicate placement for drywall anchors. Install four anchors as directed by the manufacturer. Mount the frame by driving 2-inch screws through the holes in the frame and into the drywall anchors. The frame shouldn't wiggle and should be flush with the wall for maximum support.
Note: Drywall anchors are suitable for shelves that will only hold lightweight items. If your shelves will support a lot of books or other heavy items, mount the frames using 3-inch screws driven into at least two wall studs.
Add the Finished Shelf Boxes
Slide each finished floating shelf over its mounting frame until it’s flush with the wall. Secure it in place by driving two 1 1/2-inch screws through the bottom of the shelf and into the frame in each corner.
Style the shelves with your favorite books and decor.