Introduction: How to Make a $7 Floating Shelf

For this Instructables I’ll be making 2 floating shelves. Affordable, stylish and easy to make. These shelves can improve any space. Either a bathroom, living room, kids room etc. The best part about it is that each shelf can be made for only $7.

Materials (per shelf)

1- 2in x 6in x 8ft (Spruce Pine) @ your local hardware store

1- pack of keyhole hanger

1- 1/2inX 48 Dowel @ your local hardware storeOther

- Oil-Rubbed Bronze Paint

Wood Glue

Wood Glues bottle

Self-drilling drywall anchor

Tools Used

- Wood Clamps

- Drill

- Dowel bit

- Dead-blow mallet

- Circular saw

- Miter Saw

- Hand saw

- Sander

Step 1: Cutting the Pieces

Picture of Cutting the Pieces

I'll be using one 8 foot piece of lumber for each shelf. Cut the large pieces first using a handsaw or a power tool if you prefer.

Step 2: Putting the Pieces Together

Picture of Putting the Pieces Together

For this project I'll be making 2 shelves. After all the pieces are cut you should end up with 4 pieces of lumber measuring at 32 inches and 4 pieces of lumber measuring at 6 inches.

I wanted to make this project doable for any beginner. So I used butt joints and dowels. For more experience viewers I would suggest Miter Joints. This will give it a cleaner appearance.

Step 3: Glue the Pieces and Sand

Picture of Glue the Pieces and Sand

Apply wood glue to the corners, clamp the joints in place to prevent any shifting. You could use screws if you like, but to give a cleaner look I used two 1/2 inch dowels per corner. Mark the dowel so that it goes through both pieces of wood. Apply wood glue to the dowel as well in the hole. Hammer the dowel down till it reaches a stopping point. Now take a saw and cut off the excess. Leave the clamps in place and allow enough time for the glue to dry. Next sand the shelf using 80 grit to remove the rough texture, then 120 grit, followed by 220 grit.

Step 4: Paint or Stain?

Picture of Paint or Stain?

As far as finishing It's a matter of taste. My opinion you can't go wrong with either stain or paint. I found this paint a few months back, and I had to have it. I was a bit hesitant on what the finished product should look like. I chanced it with this Oil-Rubbed Bronze paint which gave it a nice rich look to it. It wasn't too appealing after the first coat. The second coat looked amazing; I stopped there but, I have to imagine a third coat would top it off.

Step 5: Mounting the Shelf

Picture of Mounting the Shelf

here is a mounting tip I learned a while back. Take a piece of scrap wood and drill out your mounting holes. Then use that same scrap wood and mark the shelf and the wall. If carefully done it will line up every time.

Next, install the Keyhole hangers, be sure to drill out behind the keyhole hanger. So the screw doesn't interfere.

To mount the shelf I'll be using self -d rilling drywall anchor, each one is rated for up to 50 pounds.

Step 6: The Final Touch

Picture of The Final Touch

Floating shelves are a great project for your home, not only do they look nice but saves you a ton of space. You can use them for many things like displaying collectibles, photos or other decorations.


ashburn orange (author)2017-03-05

Wonderful !

Great video, I like it that you have kept it simple. Your $7.00 investment looks like $1,000,000 !

sybere (author)2017-03-04

Nicely done. I can't wait to give it a try. Thank you for making this tutorial.

WeirdAlWalker (author)2017-03-01

"Then use that same scrap wood and make the shelf and the wall."

You mean "mark" don't you? Not "make"?

Yes Thanks, I fixed it.

rvail136 (author)2017-03-01

Not sure where my main comment went. but here goes again.

I've been a cabinetmaker for 20 years, working mainly in custom higher end shops. This is a great project for a novice in woodworking. Thanks for taking the time and putting this together and then sharing it. The more people we can bring in to doing this sort of thing, the better it is for the entire industry.

imreprobate (author)2017-03-01

Were the keyhole hangers recessed?

Since it was to be painted, I believe I would have dovetailed the side pieces into the top and bottom for several reasons, the least of which is structural strength, and...just for the practice. Any gaps, stray marks and miscellaneous voids would be puttied over, which then would be hidden under the paint.

Finished project looks good! Thanks for sharing...

rvail136 (author)imreprobate2017-03-01

Not everyone has the ability to dovetail. This guy's project is (it seems to me) mostly aimed at novice weekenders who have neither the experience nor the ability to make dovetails.

LindaA74 (author)2017-03-01

I like them. Nice!

BarbaraP85 (author)2017-03-01

very good Instructibles...the hint about using a scrap piece of wood for lining up holes will help me in installing some shelves I've been wanting to put up, but haven't because of the hassle of getting the holes aligned properly. Thanks!

adamsonphoto. (author)2017-03-01

Great project for simple yet sturdy shelves for which I have immediate plans for several of various sizes. I also have to commend you and great photographs of the construction. Good job.

etupin (author)2017-02-28

If the shelf was made about 3/4 inch longer, so the distance between the keyhole hangers was 32 inches, then the shelf could be hung from screws in two wall studs (wall studs are typically 16 inches apart). This would be a sturdier hang - and would solve the concern about the cat!

nervosa (author)etupin2017-02-28

Man! How heavy is your cat?! He says each screw anchor holds 50 lbs.

1kruecker (author)2017-02-28

Nice shelves. I agree that mitered joints would look much better, but you should remind you readers that it requires that the smaller blocks to be cut 3" longer.

JerryS42 (author)1kruecker2017-02-28

Mitered would've been nice, but for strength, I'm wondering if I wouldn't cut the bottom piece shorter and stick it between the side pieces? Looks great anyway though.

etupin (author)JerryS422017-02-28

For strength, it would be better to cut both horizontal pieces shorter and the vertical pieces longer and put the horizontal pieces between the verticals and put the dowels in horizontally.

Also smaller diameter dowels would lessen the chance of breakthrough if the dowel holes weren't drilled exactly parallel to the face of the boards.

miller92586 (author)2017-02-28

Great help- I'm a crafter but, am learning about "wood"- shelving, etc. LOVE this, actually think I could do this because of your great explanitions and video to follow, Thanks again- post more!!

lemoram (author)2017-02-28

Nice post!! Simple and looks great.

Definitely making, I need this.


greatoak (author)2017-02-28

That is awesome! I can place one of them over the towel bar and it would match perfectly.

Thank you!

diycreators (author)greatoak2017-02-28

Nice, Thank you. Glad I could help.

mrtailor (author)2017-02-28

professionally done looking video, great job....thanks for sharing......

diycreators (author)mrtailor2017-02-28

Thank you

sheripres (author)2017-02-28

Very nice! I love it! I will definitely make these. I like your trick too with the scrap wood to make mounting easier. Thank you for sharing!

diycreators (author)sheripres2017-02-28

Thank you, anytime.

ruggierm1 (author)2017-02-28

Awesome. Thanks for sharing!

diycreators (author)ruggierm12017-02-28

Your Welcome.

JanZer (author)2017-02-28

Impressive work & well presented. I also liked the way the shelves were used i.e. the items placed on them.

M RuthB (author)2017-02-28

Your shelves look neat and your instructions are clear, so I asked hubby to make several for us. He watched your video and said, "No problem!, honey!" Am I blessed or what? Keep up the good work!

Dougster54 (author)2017-02-28

Beautiful shelves and excellent job!

cjtruax (author)2017-02-28

I am 66 years old and consider myself pretty handy when it comes to building things. I learned a new trick watching this video. I never thought of using blue painters tape to hold one end of my tape measure to the wall while I measured off the other end and marked it. Thank you for showing this old dog a new trick. I think I will have a beer to celebrate. PS The shelf idea was way cool too.

iceng (author)cjtruax2017-02-28



haguilardof (author)2017-02-28

Nicely done, cool project. Thanks for sharing.

jscott354 (author)2017-02-28

Very nicely done! Love the simplicity and clean look of these shelves. And of course, the ease of assembly is a big plus. That Oil Rubbed Bronze paint looks amazing. Will definitely check out your other postings!

leprasmurf (author)2017-02-28

Nice instructable. I especially appreciate the use of limited tools. So many guides expect you to have a full workshop to do anything.

gobot (author)2017-02-28

Really nice and a very good tip about using scrap to line up the hangers. I always have problem with those kind of shelves, thanks!

sweetsop (author)2017-02-28

Love the look! Thanks

tazmo8448 (author)2017-02-28

Nice decorative touch and functional....good job.

lkiehl (author)2017-02-28

Great Video! Thank-you!

DorlisG (author)2017-02-28

You answered my first question about weight supported, now can it support a 15 lb cat jumping onto it?

jfagan (author)2017-02-28

oh bugger! looks like I'm gonna have to makes these now the wife saw how easy it was :D

Thanks for a great instructable!

dyermakerjb (author)jfagan2017-02-28

I feel your pain.....all too often.

dyermakerjb (author)2017-02-28

I agree with gr8eh50, the butt joints add a bit to it. Sometimes I do the same but exaggerate it a bit by intentionally setting a 1/16" overhang when I really want a rustic look. Overall a great little project though, and very well documented!

stevenjacks (author)2017-02-28

Love it! Adding this one to my to do list. I actually have a couple spots that I've been meaning to install shelves and after seeing this, I know exactly what kind of shelf I want.

steddie1 (author)2017-02-28

Very nice, love it!

gr8eh50 (author)2017-02-28

going to make a few of these for display and storage purposes, thanks, and I like the butt end joints, I don't think it takes away from it, just a more rustic feel which is what I love, thanks

danzo321 (author)2017-02-28

Please talk about boring the dowel holes a little.

chronocide67 (author)2017-02-28


chadmikell (author)2017-02-28

nice work, I have used that same paint on a few projects. It has a cool look.

WyldStyl3 (author)2017-02-28


About This Instructable




More by diycreators:Make Your Own FLOATING SHELVES With This Simple TechniqueMobile Bench Vise DIY Desk Lamp
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