DIY Floating Shelves!

Today I have the full tutorial for the DIY Floating Shelves! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend, ours was filled with a little church and a lot of work. Sadly we waited until Sunday to do everything at our own house so I was a little achy Monday morning when I rolled out of bed. We finally had the time to finish the Floating Shelves and also finished covering the blood-red paint that was on our bay window in the master.
We needed the shelves in the corner above the built-in desk in our office. If you didn’t catch our recent office makeover reveal you can see it here. This area has always been a total mess due to the fact that our router and modem were placed there, so the desktop has been a chaos of cords for as long as I can remember and it literally drove me nuts! Once we finished the room we knew that corner needed some kind of charm and that we would also find a new place for the electronics. We didn’t want the wall to just be left totally blank.
We have always wanted to add these in our home but were never sure where we would put them since our living room already has built-ins this space was perfect! These are pretty easy to make and went really quickly. This is the perfect way to add that rustic farmhouse feel to any room in your home and they look amazing! Just FYI this corner is so hard to photograph so they are darker than I would like them to be, I tried everything to prevent shadows to no avail.


In this tutorial, we will show you how we made ONE 30″x 10”x 4″ Floating Shelf. You will need more materials if you would like your shelf to be longer or would like more than one shelf. Below are all of the items we used, if you do not own or want to purchase the compressor with finish nailer attachment included and would rather use a drill you can easily do so. We love our porter cable pancake compressor and attachments and it makes DIY a lot easier so I wanted to include it.

Please visit our website for this amazing free printable with all of th


Please visit our website for this free printable tool, material, and cut list!


Frame:  Take the three 7 3/4″ boards and screw them to the 28 1/2″ board with the Kreg Jig, one on each end and one in the middle creating the frame for your shelves. Once they are attached the measurement will be 9 1/4″ x 28 1/2″   and should look like this once your finished.


Placement:  Decide where you would like to place your shelf and how many you would like there. If you would like more than one shelf they will need to be measured an equal distance apart level and center. Next, you will use a stud finder to find the stud as this is where you will mount the frame with 2 screws  (2 1/2″ wood screws) in each stud so that the shelf is nice and secure. It is very important you do not screw this frame straight to the wall without finding the stud as the frame itself is so heavy it will not hold unless it is screwed into the stud.


Shelf Box:  For this step we used the finish nailer but you may also use the Kreg Jig if you don’t want any holes to be seen, you can see ours a tiny bit when outside but not when they are on the wall so it is up to you. Now you will create the shelf box itself. You will need the (30″) and two (9 1/4″).  Finish nail the 9 1/4″ pieces to the 30″ piece placing one on each side of the (30″). You will then take the 28 1/2″ pieces from the 1 x 10 and nail one on each side between the 9 1/4″ and 30″ pieces. You have now made a box that will slide onto the frame you built. Your final measurement will be 30″x 10″.


Test Fit:  Take your 30×10 box and slide it onto the frame to make sure everything is level. If it is not level you can adjust your frame using shims.
Fill Holes: Fill all of the nail holes with wood filler. It doesn’t need to be perfect as any excess will sand right off so don’t stress about this part.


Sand: Now you will take your sander or sandpaper and sand the entire box making sure you remove all the excess wood filler that is outside the nail hole as it will show up on the finished shelf if you don’t. Be sure to always go with the grain of the wood never in circular motion.
Wipe Down: After you have finished sanding the box you will want to take a damp cloth and wipe the entire thing down to remove all of the sanding dust.
Condition: Take a foam brush or paint brush and apply the wood conditioner. Follow manufactures directions on the back of the can.
Test Stain: While the conditioner is drying you can take a scrap piece of wood and test your stain. We stained a small section and then wiped it off immediately as we didn’t want the shelves to be too dark. This is totally a matter of how dark you want your shelf to be. The longer you leave the stain on the darker it will be. Once you have decided on a final color your ready to start staining.
Our stain color: We used classic gray first and would immediately wipe off like I said above. Once you have completely covered the box with classic gray you’ll want to go back over it with the dark walnut. (We did not wait for any drying time between the coats as we wiped the excess off with a rag).
Staining: Now you will want to place a drop cloth down to prevent the stain from getting everywhere, let me tell you first hand its no fun trying to clean stain off the floor.  You will sit the boxes with the open side facing the ground and begin staining. You will have to move the box around a little so make sure you stain the top last to keep it from being covered in fingerprints. Once your finished staining look over everything well to make sure you didn’t miss anything and cover any fingerprints or missed spots. Leave them there to dry overnight.
Clear Coat: Now you’ll want to take a foam brush and coat the entire shelf with clear coat and allow to dry per the manufacturer’s instructions. Most require one coat then waiting a day then sand with fine grit sandpaper before applying an additional coat.
Attachment: Once everything is dry your ready to attach the shelf to the frame. Slide the shelf into place over the frame and nail along the back side and up thru the front. Then you can touch up any holes you may have caused during final installation. Please note: If you decide to use screws to attach the pieces make sure to use a countersink drill bit and drill holes before putting the screws in.


Bam, your done! I bet it looks amazing. Pure rustic goodness. Did anyone spy the wood bead garland from last weeks Friday Favorites List? Ekkkk I got them in yesterday and they are gorgeous! Find out how to receive our free printable by visiting our website below!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Jud32193710
    on Jul 31, 2018

    I have a mobile home. Can I use a lighter wood with the same effects?

    • P Gropp
      on Jul 25, 2019

      I like to make shelves out of hollow core doors. An appealing thickness but light weight.

  • Judy
    on Aug 7, 2018

    LOVE these shelves, but need them to be deeper. Do you think I could make them about 5 1/2” deep and support an art object that weighs about 7-8 pounds? Thanks so much for sharing your talent!

    • Steve
      on Jul 24, 2019

      Yes you can do this. Use proper wall anchors or be sure to hit wall studs.

  • Mary
    on Jul 17, 2019

    I am a curious George... in the photos, it looks like there is a wire or cable coming out of the ceiling and running all the way down, on the left side. Do I need glasses or is there a cable there? Absolutely love how you made these! I am going to try to make one out of lighter wood for the bathroom I'm remodeling. What type and size of jig did you use? There are so many sizes of jigs out there and I don't know what size to buy of one. Thank you for the instructions!

    • Vanessa Simmons
      on Jul 17, 2019

      I saw that also then looked at the before photos and it is there also...a phone, electric, tv cable?

Join the conversation

2 of 50 comments
  • Phil
    on Jul 17, 2019

    Great idea, and highly more sturdy than what you buy in the store

  • Laura
    on Jul 17, 2020

    Look very nice.

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