DIY Floating Shelf Tutorial

If you were able to check out our “Big Girl” Room reveal last week, you saw that I DIY’d some floating shelves for book and art storage.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Floating Shelves

My daughter has been using this shelf constantly, trading books in and out and reading a lot more. I had seen floating shelves on Pinterest and in other peoples homes for a long time but I finally decided to DIY my own.

I don’t want to completely re-invent the wheel, so here are a few trusty tutorial’s I referenced when I started building mine. Depending on what tools you have at home it may be worth picking one over the other.

Shanty 2 Chic – If you like using a Kreg Jig to secure the boards.

Hometalk – If you would prefer to use wood glue and brad nails with an air nailer.

For the sake of time I decided to reference Hometalk’s tutorial, however I modified my bottom board to a 1×3 ( I didn’t want it sticking off the wall as much as a 1×4 would.

Floating Shelf DIY

Materials Required:

  • Ideally a chop saw, but a skill saw or hand saw would work too. (Plus the hand saw will dual as a workout :P)
  • Tape Measure
  • Wood Glue
  • Air Compressor
  • Brad nailer
  • White Spray Paint
  • Wood clamps
  • Stud finder

Step one: Buying all.the.things

My shelves were 3′ and 4′ long, so I bought:

  • 1-1×4 by 8′-0″ long, common Pine Board
  • 1-1×3 by 8′-0″ long, common Pine Board
  • 1-1×2 by 8′-0″ long, common Pine Board

Step 2: Measure twice cut once.

Since I was building two shelves, I went ahead and cut each of the boards to a 4′-0″ length and a 3′-0″ length. I always check the end of the lumber and make sure there are no cracks/staples/etc. I will cut about 1/2″ off the ends to get a nice clean edge when I am working on projects.

Step 3: Glue and Setup

I laid my boards down on the table and assembled them how they would look in their final configuration. I applied glue along the length and clamped them together.

IMG_4082.jpg

Step 4: Brad Nails

Then I used the Brad Nailer to place a nail (as shown in the picture above) roughly every 9″ along the length. At this point I let it sit over night and pulled the clamps off the next morning.

Step 5: Sanding, Sanding, Sanding

I went ahead and applied a wood putty to the holes left by the brad nailer and started sanding.

IMG_4084

I started with a sheet of 150 grit sand paper along the length of the grain. Once all the rough edges had been “knocked down” I switched to 220 grit sand paper and did the same thing. By the time I was finished, about 15 minutes later, I had a nice smooth finish where the wood grain was not perceptible to the touch and there were no rough edges.

Step 6: Paint

I chose to use a white semi gloss spray paint I had left over in the garage. I probably did about 4 light coats over the course of two hours and let it dry overnight. The key with spray paint is light and fast – don’t hold the sprayer in one place too long or it will puddle and drip.

Step 6: Locate existing studs in wall and hang

First I located the existing studs using this wall stud finder. I marked them with pencil and then placed the shelf at my desired height. I used a level to make sure it was roughly level.

Floating Shelf - ATTACHMENT

Second, I went ahead and placed 2″ long screws through the floating shelf and into the wall stud. I located the screw 1″ down from the top of the 1×4 side of the floating shelf.

So that is it my friends, a pretty simple DIY, low on cost and not a huge time suck. I hope this is helpful and gives you a good idea of how to build and assemble a floating shelf!

-Rocky

Leave a Comment