Skip to Content

How to Build Floating Shelves

Sharing is caring!

Last month I finally showed off the before and after pictures of our kitchen remodel. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, be sure to check out the post because there are a lot of little details you don’t want to miss! We still have a few projects left in the kitchen (mostly centered around the island), but I wanted to start sharing some of the projects awhile.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen with white cabinets and navy accents

The first project I wanted to share is probably also one of the easiest for you to replicate- How to Build Floating Shelves. We actually first built these for our powder room (that was part of our mudroom renovation) and liked them so much that we decided to add them to our kitchen as well!

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen with floating shelves

This spot in the kitchen stumped us for a couple months. It used to be where the garage door was located before we moved that to the front of the house.

relocating a garage door from the kitchen

We weren’t quite sure what to fill this spot in with because:

  1. It was the only spot for the trash can and our dog’s bowls (hopefully at some point we’ll get these things looking a little prettier!)
  2. We had to leave clearance for the barn door on the pantry to slide open, so nothing could touch that far wall on the left.

barn door for a kitchen pantry

I knew I still needed a place for my most frequently used cookbooks because you all know that freezer meals are a necessity around here. So we decided to make a second set of these floating bookshelves. I liked how chunky they were to help fill in this big empty wall.

Plus, they were a great way to use up some of the studs that we tore out of the walls during the living room renovation. It didn’t matter one bit how ugly these 2×4’s were or how much glue they had left on them. We really should take a minute to stop and give thanks that I didn’t have to sand these!!

Building supports for floating shelves

We just cut our 2×4’s to the width we wanted for our specific space. Then we cut small pieces of the 2×4 that would stick out like the branches on a “E”. This gave us the depth of our shelf.

We drilled the 3 small pieces into the larger back piece. The back piece got drilled directly into the studs on the wall. This thing is sturdy and not going anywhere!

Then we used 1/2″plywood to make a sleeve that would slide right over this frame. Cut your top and bottom pieces, the front plate and 2 sides. We attached everything using wood glue and finishing nails.

How to build floating shelves out of plywood and 2x4s

We let it sit overnight for the glue to dry and then filled in nail holes, sanded the edges and everything smooth and then stained. I used my favorite Minwax Honey stain that I used on my console table too. Once the stain was dry, we just slid it right over the “E” frame.

We didn’t bother attaching it to the frame at all. It really is just sitting on there. It’s such a tight fit, that it wasn’t necessary for us.

I’ll give you the measurements we used, but the width especially is just a matter of fitting it to your space and making sure you’re able to anchor it to 2 studs. If you want to mount it in a spot where 2 studs aren’t available, just make sure you use wall anchors.

How to build floating shelves

For the kitchen shelves, these were our measurements: 28.5″ wide and 10″ deep.  Remember, your shelf will actually be 10.5″ deep because the front of the sleeve adds an extra 1/2″.

For the bathroom shelves, I really did look up what the depth of shelves above a toilet should be. These work out perfectly for us, so I would recommend a depth of 8″

How to build floating shelves above a toilet

Keep in mind, these measurements are for the “E” brackets. Once you add your 1/2″ plywood sleeve, it adds 1/2″ to your overall dimensions.

Very inexpensive and easy project that makes a big impact!

Don’t forget to pin this post so you can make your own set of floating shelves!

Easy tutorial to make DIY floating shelves