DIY Floating Shelves

DIY Floating Shelves tutorial

If you checked out our kitchen renovation you might remember that I totally convinced Chris to replace one of our cabinets with floating shelves. I did not think he would go for it, because…you know…cabinet space…but he did!  Winner! 


We decided to do the shelves before we did our tiling so we made sure to mark the location of the studs so we could transfer them to the tiles when we were ready. After tiling was done we figured out the placement for our shelves and then (very slowly) drilled holes through the tile in line with the studs.


We built our floating shelves using this tutorial from Ana White and Young House Love as a guide. Because our shelves would have supports on the sides we deviated a bit. I just realized that they’re not really “floating” shelves are they? They’re really more like “hidden bracket shelves” but that doesn’t really sound as good. I’m just going to keep saying floating – you know what I mean right?


Okay sorry, I got distracted..


To make your own version of these shelves you will need lengths of 1×2, some 1/4″ MDF, screws, construction adhesive (like No More Nails), wood glue and to make life easier – a nail gun.


The measurements of your pieces will really depend on the size of your shelves. Say you want your shelves to be 24” wide and 11” deep – for each shelf you would cut:

  • 2 pieces of 1×2 24” long – front & back of the frame
  • 3 pieces of 1×2 pieces 9.25” long – internal supports of the frame
  • 2 pieces of ¼” MDF measuring  24” x 10.75” – top and bottom of the shelf
  • 1 strip ¼” MDF measuring 24” x 2” – front of the shelf


So first things first, you’ll need to measure every aspect of the space where your shelves will go. Save yourself some of my headaches and take measurements in the space for each shelf to allow for slight variations in your walls/cabinets. 


Once you’re satisfied you have all your measurements you can build your shelf frame using the 1×2, wood glue and screws (with pilot holes!).

DIY Floating Shelves


Dry fit your frames in the space and make any adjustments. Once you’re satisfied with the fit, mark the location of the studs and drill more pilot holes.


Secure the frames to the walls and/or cabinets using screws.

DIY Floating Shelves


Using an adhesive and nail gun attach the top and bottom pieces to your shelf frame and then attach the front.

DIY Floating Shelves


Looking pretty good right? You just built shelves! High five!


Now for the finishing touches – Fill all the nail holes and any seams and when dry, give everything a good sanding.

DIY Floating Shelves


Prime and paint your shelves and – Voila! Floating shelves that fit perfectly in your space!

DIY Floating Shelves

3 thoughts on “DIY Floating Shelves tutorial”

  1. Love this tutorial! I did something similar in my bathroom, and we’re about to take on a pretty long shelf in our dining room soon, if space allows, and refreshing my brain on the “how-to” is wonderful! Thanks for sharing it with us at the Creative Circle link party!

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