Want to build your own floating shelves? We can help! Our floating shelf tutorial is designed for beginners, and uses only a drill and a brad nailer (no pocket holes). You can build and finish it before you hang it - and hanging the floating shelves is easy too! Step by step plans with diagrams, shopping and cut list.
We recommend floating shelves between 2 and 4 feet long. They can be made longer, but you may need to add more support (depending on what you are putting on top). We don't recommend making the floating shelves shorter than 2 feet, as it may be hard to find studs in your wall to hang the shelf on closer than 2 feet apart.
Shopping List is for 4 foot long floating shelf
- 1 - 1x6 @ 8 feet long (pine or whitewood boards)
- 1 - 1x4 @ 10 feet long (pine or whitewood boards)
- 1 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long (furring strips, pine or whitewood boards)
- About (10) #8 2-1/2" self tapping wood screws (like these from Home Depot)
- 1-1/4" brad nails
Cut List is for 4 foot long Floating Shelf
- 2 - 1x4 @ 5-1/2" long (make sure this matches the width of your 1x6 in step 1)
- 2 - 1x6 @ 46-1/2" long (or 1-1/2" shorter than desired shelf length)
- 2 - 1x4 @ 48" long (or cut to desired shelf length)
- 2 - 1x2 @ 46-1/2" long (or 1-1/2" shorter than desired shelf length)
Cut two 1x4s to equal to the width of your 1x6 boards (should be 5-1/2").
Use 1-1/4" brad nails and wood glue to attach 1x4 to 1x6 ends, bottom edges are flush.
Attach 1x2 insde the shelf, set down 3/4", with 1-1/4" brad nails and glue.
Attach 1x4 to front and backs of the shelf, use glue and 1-1/4" brad nails about every 6".
On the back side, use two 2-1/2" screws to attach.
Also glue and nail to the 1x2s.
Fit the remaining 1x6 board in the top and make sure it slides in easily. Remove and stain or paint the shelf and the top 1x6 board.
Find the top height that you want to hang your shelf on the wall, and draw a line using a level on the wall with a pencil.
Locate studs that will be behind the shelf. You need at least two studs to hang this shelf. Mark the studs above the level pencil line.
Place the shelf with the top on your level pencil line and screw through the 1x4 into the studs in the wall. Two screws per stud are recommended.
Place the 1x6 board inside the top of the shelf.
You can screw down to the 1x2 board, every 1-2 feet, but we don't recommend nails as this would make the shelf next to impossible to remove (you'd have to cut it open to remove).
You can use the 2-1/2" screws, but they are overkill and smaller screws (1-1/2" to 2" length) would be more desirable.