DIY Floating Shelves With Secret Storage

6 Materials
$30
6 Hours
Medium

A gift from a friend of eight old worn card catalogue drawer fronts inspired this project. Another friend suggested we make shelves with them, so that’s what we did! The floating shelves were not initially designed to have a secret storage space, but towards the end of the build we realized we had the perfect opportunity to build in a secret compartment. Ours will hold a secret stash of candy!
Watch the video for full instructions.

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diy floating shelves with secret storage
These old vintage card catalogue drawer fronts were the inspiration for this project. If you don't have old drawer fronts, you could make a wood front for the shelf.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
Gather your supplies. We used various widths of poplar boards which are readily available at hardware stores and some craft stores. It's sometimes called hobby or craft wood.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
We started by measuring and cutting the wood to length with a miter saw. Those details are in the video and in a full tutorial post on our website.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
After the cuts were made we sanded with 220 grit SandNet and then stained. The shelves could also be painted or left natural.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
The edges of the shelf were glued, clamped and then brad nailed into place. Before assembly, a French cleat was attached to the back which was inset just a bit so that the finished shelf would fit flush against the wall.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
French cleats come in two parts, one goes on the object, the other goes on the wall. You can find these at the hardware store with the picture hanging hardware. They come in various lengths. You usually buy them based on the weight of what you are hanging.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
To make the secret compartment we added rare earth magnets to the shelf frame and the backs of the drawer fronts. The drawer fronts have been secured with a piece of wood so they now act as one long front. We used a special drill bit to make the holes for the magnets.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
This Bosch laser level came in handy when it was time to put it all on the wall. It fits on a camera tripod and is self-leveling--super easy to use!
diy floating shelves with secret storage
All finished and styled.
diy floating shelves with secret storage
Don't tell anyone, but there is candy hidden in there!
diy floating shelves with secret storage
We debated about cleaning up the fronts with sanding and stain but decided to just cosmetically clean them and embrace their time worn character.
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