DIY Floating Shelves for $20 each!

In: Home Decor Tutorials, Kitchen Tutorials
floating shelves

DIY Floating Shelves Tutorial

How-to build DIY floating shelves

Floating shelves were not even a thought when I started thinking about what I wanted my kitchen to look like. Back then I did what any other self respecting Generation Y’er would do. I googled white kitchens and looked at hours of room porn.  You know, just picture after picture of gorgeous kitchens that look so professional and put together- Ones that obviously don’t have three kids with weird, sticky fingers or dirty toes from running outside barefoot, or a husband who happens to be a coffee slosher.   I wanted one of those kitchens.  I bookmarked pictures that included individual aspects that I wanted to steal for my own kitchen.

Here is my inspiration photo for the open concept shelving I wanted.  I knew that I wanted corbels, not overly flowery ones, but simple ones that would be classic instead of trendy.

I fell in love with these shelves from A Country Farmhouse.
 I loved how they looked over the butcher block and I loved the simple brackets.  Plus, I knew I could build those brackets easily.  Let’s just say I mooned over these shelves for a couple months while I finished up some other projects.
Then I changed my mind.
Hey, in the infamous words of Bobby Brown, 
“It’s my prerogative! I can do what I want to do.”
It’s in your head now isn’t it?  It will be for the rest of the day too.
I still absolutely adore these shelves and I love them above the wooden countertop so these are still in my future… and I know just where they are going to go, but until then…
Anyway, after living with no cabinets and no shelves for too long, I knew I wanted something substantial, something that was strong and a focal point in the room.  
I stumbled upon these plans from Shanty2Chic for floating shelves and then I fell in love with them.  Love is Fickle, but shelves aren’t.
They also wouldn’t take as long and were exactly what I was looking for.  They look like a Gorilla could climb up them and they’d hold just fine.
My shelves needed to be 55 1/2″ long so I just adjusted the plans to my length and added an extra bracket. 
This was my lumber list for 3- 55 1/2″ long shelves:
2- 1 x 10 x 10′- 2 shelf tops
1- 1 x 10 x 6′-1 shelf top
1- 2 x 3 x 10′- inside posts (15)
1- 2 x 3 x 10′- 2 cleats on wall
1- 2 x 3 x 6′- cleat on wall
1- 4′ x 8′ x 1/4″ plywood (you’ll have a lot of scrap left over, but I needed the length from the 8′ side)
1- 1 x 4 x 6′- side trim
1- 1 x 4 x 10′- 2 front trim
1- 1 x 4 x 6′- 1 front trim
Everything was cut according to the plan from Shanty2Chic with the exception of the length and the extra inner post per shelf.
kreg jig 2 x 3
I used my Kreg Jig to attach the inside brackets to the cleat that would be attached to the wall.  I spaced them out on the board evenly.
brackets for floating shelves
I had intended to put up three shelves, spaced like in my inspiration photo, but guess what… I changed my mind.  When I held them up to the wall, I realized that three would be crowded, so I went with two.
leveling brackets for floating shelves

I lined up the first one on the wall at the same level where all of my cabinets were at.  I just figured when I get around to tiling the backsplash, the room would be uniform.

After marking where the studs were on the cleat, I predrilled holes to prevent the wood from splitting.  Using the 3 1/2 inch deck screws, I attached the cleat to the studs.

building floating shelves

Using a brad nailer and 2″ nails, and wood glue, I attached the bottom and tops of the shelves.

adding top and bottom to floating shelves
adding trim to floating shelves

I added the front trim.  Now here is where the measurements from Shanty2Chic’s plans didn’t go with mine.  The sides were to be 9 1/4″.  Well mine are about 10″ but I have enough wood since I had bought for three shelves, not two.

taping floating shelves for staining
After filling nail holes, a nice sanding was in order to round all of the edges.  Before staining them, I wiped the entire shelf down with some water to get the wood ready for stain.   I’ve used wood conditioner in the past and honestly, I don’t see any difference from using that and just plain water.  A coat of Provincial from Minwax and Viola!  They’re done!
stained floating shelves and counter
Not bad for $40 and an after noon of cutting and nailing.  Plus, they are so strong that my husband could tap dance on them and they would be fine.  Not that he can tap dance, but you get the point.
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