DIY Easy-to-Make Floating Shelf

Along with being one of the most controversial kitchen trends of recent years, floating shelves are also one of the most popular trends in all areas of the home. Floating shelves can make an area feel lighter and more open; it can be a great way to display anything you might like.


A floating shelf is a form of shelf with the wall fixings hidden within the shelf board, no visible supporting brackets. In short, this means that the foundation of the shelf is hidden, giving it a “floating” appearance. Building a floating shelf is an easy task if you have the correct tools and equipment; once you understand the concept, the construction will come easy.

A floating shelf consists of 2 parts, the frame, and the shelf itself.

  • 2-3 2×4 inch studs (Depending on desired size of shelf).
  • Plywood
  • Nails
  • Wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Wood stain/sealer
  • Sanding pad
The frame

Pictured below, the frame, or “cleat” acts as the main support for the shelf. The frame consists of one long board and a couple of short boards.

Floating Shelf Diagram - TR Design Build Pro

Once the materials have been sourced, it’s time to put on your safety equipment and get to work.

First you must cut down your wood to size; TR Design Build recommends using a combination of screws and wood glue when joining the short and long boards. We also recommend using a speed square to ensure a straight frame; you do not want to realize your shelf is crooked once it’s already on your wall.

After the frame has been constructed, sand it down to get rid of the rough edges.

The shelf

For the shelf, you will essentially be building a box (with one missing side) that will be sliding over the frame. Start out by carefully cutting out the top and bottoms, the sides, and the front of the box. We think it’s easier to put the boards in place to simulate how the shelf will look while leaving the already built frame in the middle. This will also show you if you’ve cut/assembled the shelf correctly.


Floating Shelf Installation - TR Design Build Pro


First, grab your frame along with the pieces you’ve cut. Place the top and bottom pieces on the frame and bind them together temporarily with a clamp. When everything looks straight and level, attach the side pieces with a nail gun and wood glue. Once attached, detach the clamps and slide the frame out, attaching the front piece with a nail gun and wood glue. Voila, you now have a rough shelf.

Once assembled, use a sander to completely sand the surface area of the box; we found 220 grit sandpaper to work very well. Add as many coats of finish as desired and let the shelf dry for at least an hour. For the finishing touches, you will want to seal the wood with a water based sealer.


Assembly should also be fairly easy once you’ve mapped out the location of the wall studs. Level the frame and securely attach it to the wall using 3 inch screws. Use a minimum of 2 for each stud. Once the frame is firmly attached, slide on the shelf.

Be sure to pat yourself on the back because you’ve finally finished!



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