DIY Floating Shelves

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Do y’all have anything in your home that you are super proud of? These shelves are mine! I never really built anything from scratch (Ikea furniture doesn’t count apparently), until I decided to tackle these babies. We have this huge wall above our soaking tub that was going to need some love and I wanted something for a little extra storage. I’ll be honest, these are more about displaying fun knick-knacks and less about storage at this point, but I seriously love them! I did a lot of research and read about 10 tutorials before drawing up my own version and getting to work! Today, I’m sharing how I built these beauties!

I knew I wanted floating shelves and I knew I wanted them to be thick. With a wall that large, the shelves needed to take up some space! I did a quick search on a few websites and quickly realized most of these style shelves cost at least around $60 a pop. Nope. Time to break out the DIY. For TWO shelves, I came in just under $50 with this project. That is more than half off…and you get bragging rights that you built them yourself! (If you are interested in more about my bathroom budget breakdown, click here.)

So, without further delay, here’s how I completed this awesome project! (For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links. Read more about this in my {Disclosures} page.)

fb0e75b9-ce4c-46da-b345-79d9d909e7ae{Supply List}

  • Lumber (size discussed throughout)
  • Circular Saw
  • Drill
  • Kreg Jig
  •  2.5 in Pocket Screws
  •  4 in Spax Screws
  • Stud Finder
  • Level
  • Wood Stain (I love this brand in the color Early American)

 

Before we start, you may be wondering what a Kreg Jig is! I had NO clue what this little guy did, so don’t freak out and shy away from this project! Basically, this little device holds your wood in place and helps you to drill a pocket hole. What is a pocket hole you ask? A pocket-hole allows for two pieces of wood to be joined together with a hidden screw and makes it SUPER strong. I know my shelves are not coming down off that wall, no matter how much crap I pile on them! The Kreg Jig can be used for building ALL kinds of stuff so I felt this was an investment worth my money!

Okay, now that we are all on the same page…let’s build!

First, understand that floating shelves are made of two parts. Part one is a brace that is screwed into your wall. Part two is a “box” that slips over the brace. This creates a finished surface and the shelf will look like it is “floating” instead of screwed into your wall. First, we will build the brace part of the shelf!

{Part One: Brace Yourself!}

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The brace is an “E” shaped structure made of 2 x 3’s. I provided the picture above to give you an idea of what we are building. Just think of it like looking at the box when doing a puzzle. I will go ahead and give you my measurements, but understand that you can adjust these to your desired width and depth. Remember, your shelf will be slightly larger than your brace because it has to slide over the brace to hang it. Leave room if you are hanging this in a tight space.

Here is your cut list:

  • One 2 x 3 x 36
  • Three 2 x 3 x 7

The part of the “E” that is flush with the wall is the length of your shelf. Mine is 36 inches. Next, you want to cut the pieces that stick out perpendicular to the wall. Mine are 7 inches each. Got it?

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Now comes the fun part…Kreg Jig time!! I have provided a link to an awesome tutorial by Pretty Handy Girl below. If you are unsure how to use and adjust your Kreg Jig, see the tutorial here! This post was how I figured out how to use the Kreg Jig. She provides detailed pictures and instructions on how to make the pocket holes.

Now, you want to attach each of the three shorter pieces to your one longer 2 x 3. Using the pocket screws, attach one at each end and one in the middle. See the picture below for reference.

 

Now, use the stud finder to locate your studs on the wall. Using the spax screws, screw your “E” brace into the studs. Be sure you hit the studs to make this shelf very sturdy! My husband used the power tools while I used the level to make sure they were straight.

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Okay, part one is done!! Now, let’s make the “box” that slides over the brace.

{Part Two: Finish it off}

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Again, giving you a visual of what we are creating. And as usual, Luna is being a good helper and eating all the sawdust.

 

Here are the cuts I made (per shelf):

  • One 1 x 4 x 36 (front of shelf)
  • Two 1 x 4 x 10 (right and left sides of shelf)
  • Two 1 x 9 x 36 (top and bottom of shelf)

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Using the Kreg-Jig and pocket holes, I screwed the pieces together as shown. I feel like a picture is worth a thousand words in this case, so I’ll keep this short and simple…make a box! Below is my box completed. Using pocket screws in this case, keeps all your hardware hidden. It allows for no screws on the outside of your shelf, which I feel would ruin the look of the shelf.

 

Ok, we are ALMOST there!! Time to stain your shelf…or shelves if you are crazy and did two at once like me. Always stain going WITH the grain of your wood. I used an old ripped up t-shirt and rubber gloves to protect my skin. Work the stain into the wood, being careful to wipe off any excess. I know it is hard to wait, but let them dry!

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Once they are dry, carefully slide the “box” part of your shelf over the “E” braces you have hanging on your wall. I have seen tutorials where people screw them in to their braces, but mine fit very snug and I really felt no need. Plus, when we move these suckers are coming with me and it will be very easy to take them down.

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Now, stand back and admire your handy-work!! YOU built that!! YAY!! I admit, mine are definitely not perfect! This was my first time building anything, and my first time trying to make pocket holes so there are small imperfections, but overall…I LOVE THEM! Ok, let’s see them all dolled-up and in their full glory.

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They are exactly what this BIG wall needed. A little storage and a lot of style. Let me know if you decide to tackle this project! I want to see pictures!

Up next, I will be taking a brief intermission from this bathroom makeover to share a funny story and lesson for all new home owners. Stay tuned for a wild ride!

{K.}

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