DIY Floating Bookcase

Nothing says...Hello Sophisticated Living Space....quite like an easy-build floating bookcase with beadboard backing and a creamy white finish. Here's how to make it happen in your home.
Step 1: Measure for wood: (1) Determine the desired length and width of the shelves and (left and right) vertical panels. I used pine wood (3/4" by 11"). MDF (3/4" thick) is also a good option, but will require more cuts. (2) Then determine the number of furring strips needed. Each strip is the length of the shelf. Two strips per shelf are needed except for one shelf, which needs only one. Example: I have 5 shelves and used 9 furring strips. Why is most of the unit black? Good question. The original finish was black crackle and very rustic. When the room was redone, the unit was trimmed out and the crackle finish sanded away.
Step 2: Predrill holes and assemble the bookcase: (1) Predrill holes (with counter sink) in the tops of the shelves for later attachment to the furring strips. (2) Then, predrill holes (with counter sink) on the side panels. Once the holes are predrilled in the shelves and the left and right vertical panels are attached to the shelves, the unit is ready to install on the wall.
Step 3: Attach furring strips and assembled unit to the wall. First, use BOLTS to secure the furring strip that rests on top of the baseboard to the wall. My shelves are 43" wide and I used 3 bolts per weight bearing furring strip. Then hang the assembled unit over the strip and secure the two together throught the predrilled holes in the shelf. Support the unit and immediately bolt the other furring strips to the wall under each shelf. Screw the shelves to the furring strips. The furring strips that rest on top of the shelves can be screwed or just glued since they bear no weight. They are only there as a frame for the beadboard.
Step 4: Cut and attach beadboard to the back of the unit. Since it is very hard to caulk beadboard, measure twice and cut once. It needs to fit like the skin on a grape. Then, run a bead of glue on the the top and bottom. Secure in place against the furring strips and hold until glue sets.
Step 5: Sand rough parts, caulk gaps, wood putty and sand over counter-sunk screws, and apply primer/paint. I primed with Zinsser 123 and allowed to dry to this see-through finish about 24 hours. Then, two coats of Behr Premium Plus Ultra Primer + Paint in Semigloss were applied. Allow at least 24 hours between coats and to cure for at least one week. After unit is fully cured, apply wax to shelves if desired. I used Johnson's clear wax on the tops of shelves only.
Step 6: Add accessories and enjoy.
For additional information and photos, please visit my blog page at the URL below.

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Susie @ The Chelsea Project Blog

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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  • Hannah V
    on Jan 21, 2015

    Awesome job! It's beautiful. Thank you so much for all the great detail- I may be brave enough to try this for my apartment!

  • TY so much.....Yes I hope you do make it!! and...I realized that it was TMI for this space and have made adjustments.....everything has a learning

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