DIY floating shelves in 6 steps

The kitchen remodel continues.  

The fact that we built these shelves is a huge accomplishment, as we have been putting this project off for a long time.  


Let me start this off by saying, with everything else Bryn and I have built, we figured these shelves would be our easiest project yet.  I mean what’s the big deal, right?  Cut some wood and put them together.

Floating Shelves_PIN

Well, while that may be true, it wasn’t all roses and butterflies.  Especially when you have specific measurements you need for a specific space in your kitchen.  

Okay, I’m off my soap box.

If this is your first time here and you want to see what progress we’ve made on the kitchen so far, check it out below.

Finally, shiplap!
Kitchen cabinet removal
Kitchen update – hanging drywall
Demo day & install day
4 tips on living in your home while it’s under construction
Kitchen update – cabinet doors
Drop cloth curtains
Kitchen update – exciting news (drawer pulls and knobs)
DIY concrete countertop series, part 1 – setting the forms
DIY concrete countertop series, part 2 – pouring and finishing
DIY concrete countertop series, part 1 – lessons learned
Kitchen update – backsplash and sink

Okay, let’s get started!

Cut your wood to size.

Shelving sizes

Since we have a specific space for these shelves, we had to be exact with our measurements (width of shelving above).  If you are making these shelves for a living room or somewhere with an open area, you can probably just make them all the exact same size. (And it will be less of a headache!)

Below is a drawing of one of the shelves (and the measurements).

Shelving frame measurements

Once we had our measurements, it was quick and easy to cut all the frame pieces to size (we cut the outer pieces during a later step).

Shelf pieces

Build the frame.

Shelf kreg jig nails

To make things go faster, Bryn was cutting the wood, and I was drilling the holes with the Kreg Jig and attaching the smaller pieces to the larger pieces.

Kreg Jig holes

Shelf 1st step 2


We added an extra ‘leg’ in the middle of the frame for more support.


Shelf with 3 legs

Attach the outer pieces to the frame.

We decided to attach the two side pieces and the bottom piece of plywood to the frames before installing the shelves to the wall.  (Mainly because of the positioning on the wall in the kitchen next to the range hood.)

outside pieces

After the frames were built we were able to get exact measurements for the outer pieces. So, we cut the pieces to fit the frame and attached them with a nail gun.

We used this opportunity to test fit our shelves in the space.  We’ve learned from experience that there are always more things we didn’t originally consider.

Test fitting

Stain and finish all of the wood (on the outside).

There is no need to stain the frame pieces because no one will ever see them.  So I stained all of the outer pieces of the shelves (both sides, the front piece and the top and bottom plywood pieces).

Staining beginng

Once the stain dried, I finished them with a few coats of polycrylic.  We have used this on all of our furniture and it has worked wonders.


We make our own stain (more on this another day), and so depending on what type of wood we use, we get a lot of variation.  Some spots are darker than others, some look grayish, etc.  It’s just another reason why I love building our own stuff.  It’s so unique.

Screw the frame into the studs on the wall.

We made sure the shelves were level, marked where the studs are located on the wall and then screwed everything in place.

I failed to take a picture of this.  But it basically looked like our test fit picture (except for stained and finished).

Test fitting

**Tip**  Be sure your screws are long enough.  We thought we had long enough screws, but since we have a lot of wood in between (the 2×4, the shiplap, the drywall, and the stud) we actually were not drilling all the way into the stud and it wasn’t very sturdy (at first).

Attach the remaining pieces.

Once the shelves are in place, the remaining pieces (front and top) can be attached using a nail gun.


And just like that this kitchen wall has been transformed into a beautiful space.  


You can find me staring at this wall for a long time.





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