Defy gravity by constructing these floating shelves

Defy gravity by constructing these floating shelves

Blooming worthy all individuals has shelves in their dwelling. But not all individuals has shelves that fabricate their pals end, step aid, and inform, “Now, wait one minute. How on Earth are those issues linked to the wall?”

Although they’ll also seem love magic, so-known as floating shelves are a easy woodworking venture—the trick is hiding the inserting brackets contained in the wood. There are a large selection of ways to fabricate floating shelves, nonetheless the one I tackled in my dwelling aspects a share of two-by-12 constructing trudge and a few dowels.

No section of the construct is amazingly refined, nonetheless this venture does own some steps that require precision. Accuracy here is serious for strength, nonetheless also helps cowl the wall-mounting come. Observant company may perchance well well even very successfully be ready to stare the seam in the shelf that spoils the semblance, nonetheless it’s fairly successfully concealed.  

So the following time you would prefer shelves, own in tips attempting to fabricate them waft. Right here’s the spell.

Warning:  DIY initiatives would be unsafe, even for essentially the most skilled makers. Prior to persevering with with this or any a vogue of venture on our space, fabricate optimistic potentialities are you’ll well presumably even own all mandatory security tools and know the vogue to make exhaust of it successfully. At minimal, that may perchance well well even encompass security glasses, a facemask, and/or ear protection. Will own to you’re the exhaust of energy tools, you could know the vogue to make exhaust of them safely and accurately. Will own to you attain not, or are otherwise unhappy with the relaxation described here, don’t are trying this venture.


  • Time: 2 to 4 hours
  • Payment: $50 to $80
  • Venture: Moderate
  • Miter seen
  • Table seen
  • Jointer
  • Planer
  • Hand plane
  • Drill
  • ¾-trip auger bit
  • 5/16-trip drill bit
  • ¾-trip Forstner bit
  • Painter’s tape
  • Orbital sander
  • Sanding discs (60-, 80-, 120-, 150-, and 220-grit)
  • Stage
  • Velocity square
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Heart Finder marking gauge
  • Stud finder


  • 1 (8-foot) 2-by-12-trip board (adjust for the width and size of shelf you would prefer)
  • 2 (48-trip) ¾-trip dowels
  • Wood glue
  • 6-trip-long ⅜-trip chase bolts (one for every and every location your shelf crosses a stud)
  • 1 (¾-trip) wood screw per shelf
  • Wood stain
  • Staining pad
  • Spray-on polyurethane

Study the system to construct floating shelves

1. Mill your trudge to size. Constructing-grade wood is supposed to be hidden internal partitions and in ceilings, so it doesn’t topic what it looks love. It in general desires to be cleaned up sooner than you construct a visual venture out of it. Now we own got a full handbook on the vogue to successfully mill wood, nonetheless the elemental steps are easy.  

First, flatten one face. Will own to potentialities are you’ll well presumably even own derive entry to to a mammoth ample jointer, potentialities are you’ll well presumably also exhaust that. Will own to you don’t, you’ll must make exhaust of a pulling down sled for your planer or buy a hand plane to flatten one side. I accepted a hand plane because the board I sold became already fairly end to flat and it became a staunch various to prepare. 

Once one side is flat, joint one edge, either for your jointer or the exhaust of a jointer sled for your desk seen. From there, toddle the board thru your planer to flatten the 2nd face, and neat the final rough edge to width for your desk seen. Sooner or later, prick the 2 ends to size for your miter seen.  

The final dimensions of every and every of my shelves became 10.5 inches deep, 4 toes long, and about 1 ⅜ inches thick.

2. Measure where the studs will fall on the aid of every and every shelf. This step will set up you complications later. Detect the studs in the wall with a stud-finder (or no topic come you spend). Then opt out where exactly you would prefer each and every shelf and label the spot of the intersecting studs on the aid of every and every board. Radiant where the studs are will serve in two ways. First, it’ll be more uncomplicated to pre-drill holes to your chase bolts later. 2d, while you happen to’re drilling the holes for the make stronger dowels in Step 3, potentialities are you’ll well presumably also instruct them out so that they won’t intrude with the bolts.  

Whereas marking for the studs, exhaust a heart line marker to scheme a line along the aid of every and every shelf. You’ll exhaust this as a reference for the dowel and chase walk holes later on.

3. Measure for the make stronger dowel holes. These floating shelves are held up by dowels buried contained in the wood. You’ll own to drill holes for these dowels. 

On my 4-foot shelves, I spaced the five dowel holes out about evenly on the aid of every and every shelf, starting up about 3 inches from each and every end and marking each and every space on the heart line drawn in Step 2. These holes don’t must be perfectly spaced out, so adjust as mandatory to preserve not decrease than 2 inches away from the stud marks. This can fabricate placing in the shelves more uncomplicated because the dowels won’t be in the come. 

4. Drill the dowel holes. The largest ingredient when drilling these holes is to capture them straight and stage. I point out constructing a jig to capture the drill bit perpendicular to the aid of every and every board. That acknowledged, I did not construct a jig. As an various, I role my hunch square on the stay of the shelf without prolong above where I wanted the outlet, overhanging the aid by about 3 inches. Then I accepted my mixture square to role it perpendicular to the board. The hunch square served as a visual reference to capture the auger bit straight. It worked, nonetheless I in fact feel love there became too worthy room for error. If I ever fabricate these yet again, I’ll construct a jig.  

Drill the holes about three quarters of the come thru the board. On my shelves, that supposed about 8 inches. In case your bit won’t attain that full depth, you’ll own a likelihood to deepen the holes later.

(Non-mandatory) 5. Shape the perimeters of your boards. Will own to you would prefer to shape the perimeters of your shelves, now may perchance well well be the time to attain it. A easy likelihood is to prick a bevel on the bottom of every and every shelf with your desk seen, which is what I did. I chose this because the bevel offers the semblance that the shelves are thinner than they no doubt are.

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6. Sand the full lot serene. As with most woodworking initiatives, sanding is the most predominant step to an extraordinary attain. Starting up with 120-grit sandpaper for your random orbital sander, then toddle to 150-, 180-, and in the break 220-grit, which is what most finishes counsel you attain. Nonetheless, double-ascertain the attain you’re planning to make exhaust of to stare if they own got a vogue of sanding requirements, and follow those directions. 

  • Skilled tip: Scribble lightly with a pencil all over the stay and bottom faces of your boards sooner than sanding. As you sand, the pencil marks will fade. This can serve you to gape where potentialities are you’ll well presumably even own and haven’t sanded, which may perchance well well be easy to lose video display of on mammoth initiatives love this.

7. Slash the aid of every and every board off. A floating shelf is truly two pieces: the inserting board with dowels sticking out of it that attaches to the wall, and the shelf board that slides onto those dowels. To fabricate the inserting board, exhaust your desk seen to prick the aid 2.5 inches off of every and every board. The actual amount you bought can switch reckoning on the size of shelf that you just’re constructing. Mine had been wide, considerably heavy shelves, so I wanted beefier inserting boards.  

Clutch your time with this prick—you would prefer it as even as that potentialities are you’ll well presumably also imagine so the 2 pieces fit aid collectively seamlessly.  

(Non-mandatory) 8. Deepen your dowel holes. Will own to you would prefer to deepen the dowel holes from Step 4, now may perchance well well be the time. The existing hole must aloof capture the drill bit straight now, so you won’t must apprehension about any vogue of handbook or jig. 

  • Warning: Watch out not to drill out thru the entrance of the shelf. You may perchance well well keep a share of painter’s tape for your drill bit to give yourself a visual reminder of essentially the most intelligent depth.

9. Drill pilot holes. Will own to you’re assured for your measurements from Step 2, potentialities are you’ll well presumably also drill pilot holes to your chase bolts into each and every hanger board now. In some other case, potentialities are you’ll well presumably also wait till you positively set up the shelves. I accepted a 5/16-trip bit for the pilot holes, and a ¾-trip Forstner bit to countersink instruct for the walk heads.

Furthermore drill a shrimp pilot hole for a single wood screw with a 5/32-trip drill bit in the bottom of every and every shelf board, without prolong into one in every of the heart dowel holes. 

10. Slash your dowels to size. First, measure the depth of your dowel holes. I did this by sticking a shrimp scrap of wood into each and every hole and marking where it protruded. Then I measured that distance and subtracted a quarter of an trip. Subtracting a small bit little bit of size will fabricate your dowels shorter and add some room contained in the outlet to fabricate optimistic potentialities are you’ll well presumably also push the 2 boards tight collectively.  

Then prick the dowels to size. You may perchance well well attain this with a crosscut sled for your desk seen or with a hand seen.

  • Warning: I attain not point out cutting wood this shrimp on a miter seen. Kickback from cutting shrimp stock with my miter seen is truly the most efficient time I’ve wanted stitches from woodworking, so I steer optimistic of doing it now.

11. Sand the dowels to fit. In a ideal world, all ¾-trip dowels may perchance well well be the an analogous size and also you wouldn’t must sand them down. We attain not live in a ideal world. Undoubtedly one of mine slid with out concerns into the ¾-trip holes. The a vogue of didn’t fit the least bit.

In case your dowels don’t chase into the outlet, you’ll must fabricate them fit. Will own to potentialities are you’ll well presumably even own derive entry to to a lathe or a drill with a chuck huge ample to retain your dowels, here’s easy. Simply connect the dowel to the instrument, wander it up, and rub sandpaper against the dowel as it turns. Don’t overdo it—take a look at-fit repeatedly till the dowel slides in with out worthy force, nonetheless holds snuggly in space with friction.

In some other case, sand them down by hand with 60- or 80-grit sandpaper till they fit. I’ll warn you—here’s the worst woodworking process I’ve ever undertaken. And the a large selection of blisters on each and every my fingers point out that you just keep on gloves whereas you attain so. Or higher yet, own the foresight to search out dowels that already fit. 

  • Skilled tip: Now that I’m older and wiser, I’d point out going to the hardware retailer with a scrap board you’ve drilled a ¾-trip hole in. Take a look at-fit the dowels to search out ones that chase into the outlet as they’re. This can set up you a ton of time.

12. Glue the dowels into each and every inserting board. Once the dowels are the staunch size, glue them in space. Absorb rags or paper towels readily on hand because here’s messy. Smear a skinny layer of wood glue on the bottom 2 inches of a dowel, add a few drops of glue into the outlet in the inserting board, and push the dowel in from the entrance (the face that will contact the shelf board) till it’s flush with the aid of the inserting board (the face that will contact the wall). Straight away wipe the full glue away. Any glue on the shelf or dowels will intrude with the fit of the shelf board.  

  • Skilled tip: I’ll admit, I didn’t advance up with this tip—that honor goes to my spouse. Bolt the shelf board section-come onto the dowels whereas they’re drying to serve retain them on the angles you would prefer them. This can fabricate placing in it later more uncomplicated. We had some bother after the glue had dried because one in every of the dowels had moved rather in its hole.  

13. Stain and fix the shelves. Once the dowels are dry, attain them to your liking. I accepted Minwax Pure Oak stain to compare one other share of furniture we own got in the room. You may perchance well well exhaust a rag or brush to prepare stain, nonetheless I spend staining pads. They’re faster and cleaner than any a vogue of come I’ve tried.

Once the stain is dry in step with the producer’s directions, prepare your chosen attain. My preference is spray-on polyurethane because it’s rapidly and uncomplicated. I utilized three coats to the bottom and facets of every and every shelf, and five coats to the stay, because that’s where the keep on and breeze will happen.

14. Install the shelves. Ideally, here’s a two particular person job. Will own to you haven’t drilled pilot holes in the hanger board for the chase bolts yet, measure and fix so now. Once the pilot holes are completed, own one particular person retain the hanger board in space, the exhaust of a stage to derive it straight. Then own the 2nd particular person drill thru those pilot holes into the studs in the wall. 

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Once the holes are drilled, screw the chase bolts into the studs the exhaust of a 9/16-trip socket for your drill.  

When the hanger board is safe, chase the shelf board over the dowels. But again, here’s more uncomplicated with two of us, one engaged on each and every side of the shelf.  Wiggle the dowels as wanted to derive them lined up with the holes, and chase the shelf board into space. We needed to sand some dowels down even extra to derive all of them to fit. 

Sooner or later, set up the shrimp wood screw into the pilot hole you drilled in Step 9. Whereas the dowels must aloof retain the shelf board in space with most efficient friction, here’s a easy security characteristic to forestall the shelf from sliding apart.

And you’re completed. Load your shelves up without a topic you would prefer to retailer, and be keen to amaze your pals with your magical shelving powers.