Alright everyone…if y’all are looking for a fun and entertaining blog post then you came to the wrong place! Today I’ll be sharing a detailed tutorial for the floating shelves we have been installing all over the house, most recently in the office and bathrooms.
I love these shelves because they are simple, functional, and budget-friendly. The thickness is my favorite part…they look like they cost a lot of time and/or money, even though that isn’t the case. They are made from plywood so the thickness is fake….they are actually hollow in the middle.
(Also, side note, this tutorial is for floating shelves that are attached to the wall on three sides. It is possible to make a floating shelf that is attached to only the back wall, but this post won’t cover that.)
- Plywood (we used 3/4 inch)
- Stud finder
- tape measure
- table saw (or something like the Kreg Rip Cut)
- miter saw
- brad nailer
- 3 inch sheetrock screws
- wall anchor (maybe)
- putty, sandpaper, caulk, and paint (if you choose to paint them)
HOW TO MEASURE & INSTALL THE HIDDEN SUPPORTS
First you will need to locate studs in the back and side walls and mark them with a pencil. (If your shelves are not deep enough to reach the closest stud you will need to use sheetrock anchors.)
Then use a level to mark a line across the back and side walls at whatever height you choose for the shelf.
Next you will cut your hidden shelf supports
- Back supports – Cut a 1”x2” board 2” shorter than the length of your shelf (you will need one of these for each shelf).
- Side supports – Cut a 1”x2” board 1” shorter than the desired depth of your shelf (you will need two of these for each shelf).
Next you will attach them to the wall, placing the support on your pre-marked line. Start with the side supports, butting them up to the back wall and attaching to the studs using 3″ sheetrock screws (make sure you are drilling through the wide part of the board and not the narrow one). If there is not a stud near the leading edge of the shelf you will need to use sheetrock anchors.
After the side supports are in place, add the back support. The finished product should look like this –
HOW TO MAKE FLOATING SHELVES OUT OF PLYWOOD
Once your hidden supports are installed its time to make the actual shelves. Here is what the finished product looks like…hopefully having this visual in your head will make these instructions easier to understand.
First you will cut the two outer shelf pieces. Measure your back wall, this will be the length of your shelf. Make this cut on the light side (maybe a 1/4 inch less than the back wall dimension) or else the shelf will be too tight to slide into place later. After you have cut your shelves to length, cut them to whatever depth you have chosen for your shelves, minus 3/4 of an inch. For example, our shelves are 12 inches deep, so we cut them to 11 1/4 inches. This is because you will be adding a front fascia piece later, which will add 3/4 of an inch in depth.
Next you need to cut the inner spacers. Cut two boards 4” shorter than the length of your shelf. Make sure that the thickness of the spacer is either the same or slightly thicker than the wall supports. Then assemble the shelf as shown in the picture.
You still with me? We’re almost finished! Now you will need to add the front fascia piece, which will cover up the innards and make your shelf look faux thick. Cut a 1” x 4” board to the length of your shelf and then rip it to the thickness of the shelves. Attach it with wood glue and brad nails, just like the rest of the pieces.
Now just slide the shelf onto the wall supports! You shouldn’t need to attach the shelf to the supports as the tolerances should be tight.
Then just caulk and paint!
Not too hard, right? I can’t tell if this tutorial was easy to follow or clear as mud, so if you have any questions please ask in the comments!
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