DIY Floating Shelves

Nancy Christopher

Article Posted By: Nancy Christopher

of Artsy Chicks Rule

DIY Floating Shelves

When moving into a new home, it’s great to add small, familiar touches such as photographs, mementos, etc. to make it feel like “home.”

What better way to display those items than on stylish floating shelves? I built these DIY floating shelves in my bathroom. But they would look great in your living room, den, or just about any room of the house. This easy tutorial will show you how to build these DIY floating shelves in your home. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.

But first… Cleaning when you’re moving in is an important first step to making your home truly yours.

Bounty paper towels make cleaning your new space easy….just wipe clean and toss!

Using a Bounty Towel wipe down a bathroom sink

The wall adjacent to the sink (where the shelves are going) had a few cobwebs, etc., so I pulled out a Swiffer Duster and wiped them away.

Using a Swiffer Duster to clean dust from a wall

Then I cleaned the wall with an all-purpose Mr. Clean Magic Eraser before starting our project.

Cleaning a wall with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

All clean and ready to go.

How to Build DIY Floating Shelves


Step 1

Cut the wood pieces below into the following dimensions.

  • 4 – 1-in. x 2-in. x 21-in.
  • 8 – 1-in. x 2-in. x 6½ in.
  • 4 – ¼-in. x 8-in. x 21-in.
  • 4 – ¼-in. x 2-in. x 8-in.
  • 2 – ¼-in. x 2-in. x 21⅜-in.

Wood needed for a DIY floating shelves project

Wood cut for a DIY floating shelves project

We decided to use a number of small wood pieces to build a frame inside the shelves that would make them extra sturdy.

Below, you see the layout to follow for building the frame.

Wood pieces laid out to show how they will fit together to create floating shelves

Step 2

Screw these pieces together as shown below in order to make your frame.

Screwing together wood pieces to create DIY floating shelves

Step 3

Glue (and clamp and/or nail) the sanded panels to the frame.

As you can see in the pictures below, there’s no glue on the front 1 x 2 board. Instead, it is attached for alignment purposes only while gluing and then removed so it can be attached to the wall.

Gluing sanded panels to the frame of float shelves

Wood glue on a floating shelf

Step 4

Once it’s glued, go ahead and remove the 1 x 2.

The photo below shows the 1 x 2 and the piece of finish that will cover it once it’s on the wall.

This photo shows the 1 x 2 and the piece of finish that will cover it once the floating shelf is on the wall.

Step 5

Attach the shelf to the wall from the inside with a screwdriver. Use a stud finder and screw into at least one stud for stability.

Attaching a floating shelf the wall from the inside of the shelf using a screwdriver

Step 6

Make sure the shelf is level (both vertically and horizontally) before adding the remaining screws.

Making sure a floating shelf is level before adding the remaining screws.

Step 7

Attach the second floating shelf the same way making sure of measurements and keeping things level.

Measuring for placement of a second floating shelf in a DIY floating shelves project

Step 8

Re-attach the 1 x 2 boards to the fronts of both shelves.

Re-attaching the 1 x 2 board to the front of a floating shelf

Step 9

Glue the remaining ¼-in. boards to the front and use a brad nailer (or finish nails) to hold in place.

Wipe away any glue that may leak from the seam with a paper towel.

Using a brad nailer to hold the finish to a floating shelf place

While that’s drying, tape off the shelves to get them ready for painting.

You’re almost done!

Scotch Blue Painter's Tape, Behr Paint and a Wooster Paint Brush

Step 10

Once the glue is dry, apply two coats of paint, allowing them to dry between coats.

The Scotch Blue Edge-Lock Painter’s Tape worked great for this! There’s not one bit of paint anywhere in sight, except on the shelves where it belongs.

Painting DIY floating shelves

DIY Floating Shelves

And we’re DONE! Now you can decorate your sturdy DIY floating shelves with mementos and anything that is special to you. Since I live right by the coast, anything with a coastal feel feels like home to me. The picture of my husband and son fishing is a special one to me as well.

I’m loving my new floating shelves and the special things we’ve added to make it feel like home.

DIY Floating Shelves

DIY Floating Shelves

Nancy Christopher blogs at Artsy Chicks Rule.

Want to have a professional come in and help you create floating shelves? You can organize storage installation with a local professional through The Home Depot. Check out more DIY projects and ideas here on The Home Depot Blog, and follow our Easy DIY pinboard on Pinterest. Browse The Home Depot’s Cleaning Department for everything you need to keep your home clean.