How To Build A Floating Shelf | DIY Project

How to Make a Folding Cedar Lawn Chair

Are you thinking to buy a floating shelf? Good! As its look great a shelf hanging in your room with different sorts of personal stuff in it such as books, cups, picture albums etc. But wait! Are you going to buy it from the market? That’s weird! As buying the floating shelf is not a good idea and it will cost you more money than making one. Making a floating shelf is one of the easiest things to make by your own self.

​Well, buying a floating shelf can be one solution, but there are always risks involved in buying the products from the market. Especially, buying the small stuff like floating shelf, chair or bench! As it cost you more money than making one at home. So why to pay more for the product which can be made at a lower cost? Why don’t you make one by your own self?

You don’t need to worry about it. What if we teach you how to make a floating shelf for only $7? Yes for only $7! Isn’t it great? You only need to follow this step by step tutorial to make a $7 floating shelf and you will end up making one by yourself.​

For this, you need to have an intermediate level of knowledge about operating woodcutter, miter saw, and hand saw.

Building a modern floating shelf is not difficult now! As we are here with the detailed step by step demonstration.

Let’s get started!

Items Needed for this Project

Here is the list of materials and tools you will need to complete this DIY woodworking project.

  • Lumber of different size and width
  • Miter saw
  • Table saw
  • Hand saw
  • Circular saw
  • Metal Screws
  • Plastic screws
  • Speed square
  • Half inch dowel
  • Drill with driver bits
  • Chisel rod
  • Round fleet pads
  • Razor blade
  • Random-orbit sander
  • Carpenter's square
  • Electronic Drill Machine
  • Wooden glue
  • Woodcutter
  • Drill press
  • Clamps
  • Inch Tape
  • Pencil for marking
  • HammerPaint/polish (brown)

You can easily find the above-mentioned material from your nearest hardware store. As the material is very generic in nature and also you can search online as well for good rates and can buy it from there. The only thing you have to make sure is the quality of the hardware products you are buying. If the quality of the products would be good your drink table would last long! So I would suggest you buy it from one of the trusted stores.

Step 1: Measure, Mark and Cut the Pieces

To make the shelves it does not require many tools. So take the lumber and mark it from cutting into small pieces.

Cut one 8 foot piece of lumber for each shelf, like this:

Cut the large pieces first and if you don’t have another tool with you like a miter saw or table saw use hand saw to cut the piece.

You can use a circular saw as well to cut the lumber and you can use a speed square to guide while you make your cuts.

And if you have a miter saw it will make your work quicker and you can cut the lumber cleanly.

And when all the pieces are cut will have four pieces of lumber measuring at 34 inches and four pieces of lumber measuring at 6 inches.

Pro Tips

  • Apply the wood filler to fill all the wood imprecation
  • Make sure after cutting the long pieces of wood you have some small wood pieces
  • Small pieces would be used to give the floating shelf more durability.
  • Avoid moving while cutting the lumber as it can make you mistake and you can cut the wood in a wrong way.
  • Use hand saw to cut the lumber if you don’t have any other tool with you
  • Use a workbench to secure the lumber so that it doesn’t move while cutting.
  • Use the drill machine carefully to ensure safety.
  • Use a sharp pencil or a marker for proper marking on the wood.
  • Use small teeth blade to achieve a much smoother edge.
  • Try to cut every wooden part patiently for better finishing.

Step 2: Gluing the Lumber Pieces

Now apply wood glue to the joints of the lumber pieces.

Try fixing the joint pieces with the other pieces of lumber with each other, like this:

Glue the other 34-inch lumber piece as well so that you can attach the small pieces with it.

After gluing attach all the sides and pieces of the lumber, like this:

Pro Tips

  • Use sharp edge blades to cut the lumber smoothly.
  • If needed, you can use the clamp as a balancing scale.
  • Grip the lumber firmly while cutting it via table saw.
  • Use a wood piece to support the cutting
  • Trim the wood well and don’t leave any lag behind
  • Use a drafting square for more accuracy
  • Use a drafting square scale as carpenter squares for better measurements.
  • Hold the table firmly while cutting the lumber by using a hand saw.
  • Do important table saw safety measuresUse straight measure tape instead of worn tape
  • Don’t forget to smoothen all the sides of $7 floating shelf.
  • In order to Keep the safety of the hands on priority, use wooden helping hammer for cutting the small wedges rather than doing it with the hands
  • After fixing the lumber parts together let the glue dry.

Step 3: Join the Sides by Using Dowel

In order to hold this entire shelf together, you can use half inch dowel.

Measure the sides and length of the half inch dowel which you will insert inside the joints of the lumber.

Make the holes by using drill press so that you can insert the half inch dowel in the lumber.

Now before inserting the dowel insert wood glue in the hole so that it won’t lose its grip.

Use dowel on the other end of the frame as well. So it means you will use two dowels.

Apply glue to the dowel and also glue down the hole, like this:

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Hammer down the dowel on standing position so that it will get fixed properly keep on hitting until it hit the stopping point.

Now take the hand saw and cut the excess rising part off the lumber, like this:

Pro Tips

  • Mark well before cutting any lumber
  • Make sure that the points you marked are correct and before filling the glue in the holes for testing purposes try to fix it to see the flaws.
  • If you find any flaw fix them
  • If you can fix the flaw change to lumber piece and cut the new one to fix it with the other lumber.
  • Fill the glue in the holes of the base of $7 floating shelf and then fix the lower part of the table.

Step 4: Sanding and Painting

Sand the floating shelf with an electric sander, like this:

Use different sizes of sandpaper, like 8-degree sand paper and then come back do sand it down with 120 and then 220 to finalize it.

Now paint the floating shelf, the choice is up to you that either you will paint it or stain it. Here I will prefer painting it as believe me it will give floating shelf a great look.

The paint itself is thick and after second coat you will hardly see any imperfection in the floating shelf.

After the first coat of the paint it has ashy look on it but after the second coat of the paint it will come up with its original color.

Pro Tips

  • Smoothen the sides of the floating shelf with machine sander
  • Change the sand proper size for more proper finishing.
  • Rub the sides of the base with the machine rubber, it will give good finished look.
  • Rub the sides and the base of the floating shelf to make it look more smooth
  • For designing and giving it a finished look use a clean rug.
  • Wear gloves to ensure the safety of hands and mask to avoid any sort of allergy.
  • Do use tape to secure the top of the $7 floating shelf.
  • Start painting it by keeping in mind the pattern you want to give to your $7 floating shelf and make sure that it should look good and sequence should not get disturbed.
  • The longer you let the stain be on the table, the better color it gives.
  • After painting the first coat leave the floating box for 5 hours to dry and then do the second coat.
  • After painting the second coat you will see the original color of the floating shelf.
  • Use a good quality polyurethane finish material for long lasting protection of your $7 floating shelf.
  • For protection against water and chemicals, use clear finishes
  • Use a good quality bleach or cleaner to remove stains from the lumber
  • Do not place the $7 floating shelf in direct contact with a fireplace.
  • For drying purposes, try to place the $7 floating shelf away from the reach of children and pets.
  • Do not kill the look of floating shelf by painting artificial colors on it.

Step 5: Staining and Painting

Take the piece of scrap lumber and mark the two holes placing the wood horizontally on the back side of the floating shelf and make sure that the wood is placed straight.

Now take the frame holder hooks and mark the lumber while placing them on the marked points of the floating shelf.

Now trace out the keyhole hanger to the wood before you drill so that you can measure the angle which you would drill in future.

Now drill the holes on both the sides of the floating shelf.

Insert the screws in order to fix the keyhole hanger to the back of the shelf, like this:

Repeat the same thing on the other side of the floating shelf as well.

Use a razor blade to balance the sides of keyhole hanger, like this:

Now mount the shelf by measuring the wall and make sure that will find the center of the wall and then fix the floating shelf.

In order to find the center use the scrap wood stick to mark the measurement.

While holding a wood level mark the points where you want to fix the floating shelf.

Use plastic screws to mount the floating shelf.

Use drill machine to fix these holes and make sure that each side hole is equal to the hole of another side.

Now fix the floating shelf on the wall by making sure that it is perfectly balanced. You can check the balance of the floating shelf by placing wood level on the top of the floating shelf.

Pro Tips

  • Attach screw thoroughly till the end.
  • Use the trim screw to get better results.
  • Do not use the damaged or untrimmed screws.
  • Before screwing those up do make sure that the sides of lumber are balanced.
  • Use small teeth blade on the wood cutter to achieve a much smoother edge.
  • Before fixing up the screws make sure that every side of the wood is well placed along the other wood.
  • Use sharp pencil/Marker for marking
  • Use the plastic screws and make sure that it don’t get broken while fixing it inside the wall.
  • Make sure that the distance between both holes is same.
  • Do make sure that screws are fixed properly so that it can bear the weight of the floating shelf.
  • Use tape measure accurately to cut the wood of proper size.
  • Use a wood level to check the balance of the floating shelf.
  • Use drill machine with firmly so that it can fix the crews well.
  • Make sure you are drilling the wood while it’s on the floor and you have a good grip on it.
  • If you feel like that there is a room for improvement is left don’t hesitate to do that.
  • Before ending up your project try to test the reliability of the product in any testing facility.


Here is the link to the source YouTube video that inspired and helped us to write this wonderful step by step tutorial for building a $ 7 DIY Floating Shelf.

This video was created and uploaded by DIY Creators. One of their team member narrates the step by step process in the video.

  • April 22, 2017
  • DIY