How To Make Floating Shelves Like An Expert

Decorating small rooms is somewhat a tricky affair. You need to arrange the furniture and other home decor items in a way that makes the room look bigger. The same applies in the bathroom as well. Making use of the vertical space ensures that you can display your books, photos and other personal items with ease. 

Floating shelf made of wood

You might be wondering how to make use of the vertical space! Going for a floating shelving option is the best solution. These floating shelves got their name by the fact that their fixings are hidden and that’s what creates the feeling of floating. How cool is that? Plus, you can find them as horizontal and corner shelves to match every space. So, are you ready to find out how to make your own in this DIY project?

Things to consider before starting your DIY project

Creating a DIY floating shelf is not particularly hard as anyone can do it. No need to be an experienced woodworker or have extremely specialised tools.

1. The reason

First of all, you should have a clear idea about why you are making DIY floating shelves. For example, if you want to display crockery in your dining room, then you need a shelf that is deep enough to accommodate plates, cups and everything else. Plus, the material and the construction of it need to be strong enough to withstand their weight. On the other hand, if you build floating shelves mainly for displaying decor items, then you can go for lighter options.

2. Space

Another thing you should consider is the space for installing wall shelves. Is the wall big enough to meet your requirement? Are there any conflicting elements like an open door or window nearby? Is there a stud behind the wall that can withstand the weight of the shelf? You can use a stud finder to find whether there are any studs on the wall. If there are no studs, it is best to go for a lightweight shelf as drywall cannot withstand too much weight. Considering these aspects will help you select the type of wood and hardware for making yours. 

3. Decide on the shelf size

Based on your needs and the space available, you can decide on the size of the shelf. The most popular shelf sizes are: 

  • Living room shelf for display: 14 cm – 23 cm deep
  • Kitchen shelf: 28.5 cm – 30 cm deep
  • Pantry shelf: 38 cm – 45 cm deep
  • Bathroom shelf: 14 cm – 20 cm deep

4. Decide on the type of wood

You can use different types of wood for making a floating shelf. Hardwood like oak, pine, solid walnut and mahogany are the best choices. Depending on your budget and availability, you can choose any type of wood that suits your needs and provides a sturdy and steady outcome. You can even try using pallets!

Floating shelves in the kitchen

5. Decide on the shelf bracket style

The shelf bracket’s main purpose is to secure the shelf onto the wall and provide shelf support. There are different shelf bracket styles to choose from.  

  • L shaped bracket: This is the simplest form of the bracket and comes in the shape of “L.” Otherwise called the angle bracket, this type of brackets are best suited for wood with raw edges as it does not require an exact size to fit around the raw edge. You can use it for simple DIY projects as this type of bracket does not come with lips. 
  • Z shaped bracket: These are brackets in the shape of a “Z.” They have support beneath the shelf as well as a board that sits flush against the wall. The front lip of the bracket covers the edge of the shelf. 
  • J shaped bracket: They look like the letter “J”. This type of bracket provides support from the bottom of the shelf.                                                                                                                                        

 6.  Number of brackets

At first glance, it seems that a normal shelf requires only two brackets. But the number of brackets depends on the length of the shelf and the type of items you are placing on it. It is best to place the brackets evenly across the length of the shelf for even support. 

How to make your own shelves step-by-step?

So, are you ready to create your own DIY project and give your home a breath of fresh air? This tutorial provides all the steps you need to follow to make your amazing floating shelf with brackets.  

Things you need

  • Wooden board 
  • Saw (mitre or circular)
  • Stud finder
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Masking table
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Brackets
  • Wall anchor
  • Wood screws
  • Drilling machine/drill bit.

Once you gather everything here’s what you need to do:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

1. Mark the position of the shelf on the wall

First, using a stud finder, find out where the studs are on the wall. Measure the position of the shelf in a way that each bracket hangs on the wall stud. Place masking tape over the measured space just to be sure that you place them correctly. You can get the help of another person to mark the exact location

Hands using circular saw to cut a wooden board

2. Cut the wooden board

Next, you should cut the wooden board using a mitre saw or circular saw. The best method is to buy a large board and then cut it as per your requirement. If you’re not into power tools you can always find an expert to provide you with the exact dimensions that you need.

3. Sand and paint the wood

You should now sand the wooden board with sandpaper. If the surface is porous even after sanding, you can fill the pores with paste wood filler using a drywall knife. Then you can apply your favourite paint. If you want to provide a glossy finish to your shelf, you can go for a coat of polyurethane lacquer. The paint that you select needs to blend in well with the overall decor of your interior. 

4. Hang the bracket

Hold one bracket close to the wall and mark the position where you need to drill the hole. Once it’s done, tap the wall anchor into it. Now place the bracket with the screw and drill it onto the wall anchor. 

Once the first bracket is installed, you can install the second one. Follow the same procedure but make sure that both brackets are at the same level. If you are going for a long shelf, you need more than two brackets. 

5. Make bracket holes in the floating shelf

Now take the piece of wood that will serve as a floating shelf and place it on top of the bracket. Mark the positions where you should drill the bracket holes on it just to be sure about their position. The hole depth should be a few centimetres longer than the bracket’s length for it to be stable. 

Hexagon wooden floating shelves

What are the benefits of having shelves around the house?

Decorating your home is essential if you want to create a wonderful and relaxing atmosphere. Every single item has its position in the room. There are tips on how to decorate your living room, to  help you arrange your indoor plants the right way, or even where to put your TV in the living room or bedroom. Living in a space that you really love helps in boosting your mood and creativity. Plus, your guests will be happy to visit. Decorating the right way the shelves can play a big role in the room decor. Here’s how:

1. Display your decor items

The main purpose of having shelves is to display beautiful home decor items, books, photos or even add a piece of greenery. There are different sizes and varieties of shelves available in the market. The type of shelf you select should depend on your room’s overall decor, the number of items to display, and the space available. 

2. Organise decor items

Are you a travel geek? Then you are sure to have lots and lots of souvenirs. Displaying the items here and there creates an unkempt look in the room. On the other hand, with a good quality shelf, you can easily organise all your belongings

3. Add functionality

A shelf also adds to the functionality of the room. For example, a bookshelf in the living room acts both as an aesthetic element and a functional piece. But it can take up too much space, especially if you have a small room. That’s where floating shelves come to save the day. They give you enough space without making your room feel cramped. 

4. Enhance the appearance

Having a floating shelf on the wall enhances the overall appearance of the room. Installing floating shelves not only provides storage solutions but also adds visual interest. It takes the overall decor of the room to a completely new level. Don’t you think so?

Floating self in child bedroom

Floating shelves are a great choice if you want to provide a contemporary or modern look to your interior. Since this type of shelves occupies less space when compared to freestanding shelves, it creates a spacious and airy look to the room. Thus, it makes a great decor element for small interiors

If you have a creative bent of mind and like undertaking woodworking projects, you don’t have to spend your money on buying new pieces. You can make them yourself! They are simple and easy to make and provide great aesthetic value to your interiors.

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