Introduction: Make Your Own FLOATING SHELVES With This Simple Technique

Picture of Make Your Own FLOATING SHELVES With This Simple Technique

Ever wanted to make floating shelves? In this instructables I'm gone to show you one of the easiest methods to make your own. These shelves are easy to make and the best part you only need a few hand tools. So whether you are looking to store your gear, decorating a room or just giving the bathroom a facelift, these shelves could be a quick fix. For around $10 you can gather the materials to build all three shelves.

By cutting down a dowel rod into small pieces you can cut the cost down by eliminating any brackets. With a few adjustments, this method can be tweak to fit most application. We let's dive into this build and ill see you in the next step.

Step 1: Whats You Need?

Picture of Whats You Need?

What do you need?

(1) Southern yellow pine: I used 8inX1.5inX96in

(1) 1/2in Oak Dowel, 36 in long

(6) 3-inch wood screws (two per shelf)

(3) 3/4 to 1-inch wood screws (one in each shelf) Safety

Other materials

Minwax Gel Stain

Pre- Stain Wood Conditioner

Spay on polyurethane

First thing, cut the lumber into 3 equal parts.

Step 2: Dowels

Picture of Dowels

Cut the dowel

I am using a 36in oak dowel. At the 4 inches in length, they are very strong and takes a large amount of force to break. Starting from one end to the other, place a mark every 4 inches. Then, cut the dowels at the mark, you should end up with 9 pieces.

Back to the lumber

Place a mark 2 inches from each end, and then place another in the middle. Draw out a line, then make a center mark.

Drilling the hole

Add tape on the bit to set the depth of the dowel. Drill out the hole.

Step 3: Ripping the Lumber

Picture of Ripping the Lumber

Although I used my circular saw, a table saw can be used to easily make these rips. I set the guides to make a rip depth of 1.5inch. Keep in mind the rip needs to be along the side with the holes "previously drilled".

During this process after each rip, I marked and numbered the parts so I knew which rip belong to each other.

Step 4: Shaping the Dowel

Picture of Shaping the Dowel

The trick to making this step successful is to sand down a portion of the dowel. A part of the dowel will pass through the back bracket of the shelf. This part can be left unsanded, it will make for a tight fit. The rest of the dowel will need to be sand down. I find the easy to place the dowel in the chuck on my drill and spin it on the sandpaper. The main reason I didn't make a larger hole is simply, that I don't want the dowel rod to be loose. While your sanding at this point you can also sand down the remainder of the parts.

Step 5: Adding a Security Screw

Picture of Adding a Security Screw

After confirming that each dowel pins fit easily. Hammer the dowels through both parts. They could come apart with minimum effort. Next, make a mark in the middle of the center dowel. Then place a clamp near the middle. Pre-drill and install a screw in this area. This will lock the shelf in place.

Step 6: Adding Finish

Picture of Adding Finish

After everything has been sanded down. See below for how I finished the shelve. You can paint or apply any finish you like.

Step 7: Mounting

Picture of Mounting

These shelves can be mounted on any wall. In my situation, I mounted them to drywall.There are other methods of mounting, but finding the stud in the wall would give more strength.

After finding the studs in the first stud wall using a stud finder. I looked for the second one, made a mark on the back bracket and the wall. Next, transfer the same marks to the other brackets and drill out a hole to sink the screw heads.

Simply screw the shelves in place and slide the shelves on to the dowel rods. Then add the security screw to finish up.

Step 8: Glamour Shots

Picture of Glamour Shots

Here a few ideas for the use of the shelves. I have received a ton of questions about the weight limit. I have not put a max weight on the shelve so I can not confirm the maximum weight load. I'm confident these will hold 50 to 60 pounds.

Thanks for checking out this instructables. If you like to see more of my projects just check out my links below to take look. Until next time

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harischandraprasad (author)2017-11-21

Very nice. Very detailed steps.

doing2much (author)2017-11-18

French cleats 'might' be stronger - but how much weight would one put on a shelf like this anyway! Yours is THE only method that I've seen by which one can make literally floating shelves - without any signs of supporting hardware etc.

Very clever!

Voted for you.

indeepknit (author)2017-11-16


PROJECTILE PRO (author)2017-11-09

pretty cool

ShawnC6 (author)2017-11-08

Thank you for your tips and tricks. I just about to start this at my house. Thank You

DanC66 (author)2017-11-08

Such an elegant solution!

imserlick (author)2017-11-07

Thankyou! Great instructions!

jessyratfink (author)2017-11-07

These are gorgeous and I love how simple they are! Might need to use this to build some shelves for my plants :)

wells1784 (author)2017-11-07


roscomay (author)2017-11-07

Bloody good idea..

Do you mind if I pass it on?

Real TJ (author)2017-11-06

Nice way to do this using only wood and a few mounting screws.

diycreators (author)Real TJ2017-11-06

Thank you

TonyD105 (author)2017-11-06

so many good ideas in this instructable! from the support of the wood during cutting to the sanding of the dowels and more! thanks very much, i can’t wait to make some floating shelves!

diycreators (author)TonyD1052017-11-06

Thank you :)

andersoon_fm (author)2017-11-06


Thank you so much!

diycreators (author)andersoon_fm2017-11-06

Your welcome

XofHope (author)2017-11-05

Great idea! Thanks so much for sharing it.

diycreators (author)XofHope2017-11-06

Thank you

lindsay.coffman (author)2017-11-05

How much weight do you think this will hold?

Around 60 pounds. Did not test the max weight.

LexMaker (author)2017-11-05

Looks great! I'm going to use this method to build a pair of shelves next to our bed, where the space is too small for any off-the-shelf end table. Also, it's refreshing seeing more black hands on Instructibles. :-)

diycreators (author)LexMaker2017-11-06

:) Thank you.

chadmikell (author)2017-11-05

nice work, really like the concept, I will definitely use it

diycreators (author)chadmikell2017-11-06

Thank you

lacewonda (author)2017-11-05

lovely and well illustrated job. Thanks for sharing

diycreators (author)lacewonda2017-11-06

Thank you

jmacuk (author)2017-11-05

elegant solution!

diycreators (author)jmacuk2017-11-06

Thank you

EdwinKlaver (author)2017-11-05

Very nicely done. Straight and to the point. My Wife and I plan to use your technique. Thanks for the info.

diycreators (author)EdwinKlaver2017-11-06

Thank you, your welcome.

lknowles (author)2017-11-05

Love your process. Will do it in my living room.

diycreators (author)lknowles2017-11-06

Thank you

mancavemechanizer (author)2017-11-05

Nice job with this Instructable. Super simple. Beautiful end product.

Thank you

NoQuartyr (author)2017-11-06

Kinda reinventing the wheel. French cleats are way easier

diycreators (author)NoQuartyr2017-11-06

I disagree lol, but ok :).

mxevans (author)2017-11-05

Similar to a product that I bought and installed from IKEA in the UK. Except that had a metal bracket (rather than one made from wood & dowel, as here). If you wanted a stronger version of the shelf described here, you could try using metal instead of dowel (although, with short oak dowels, this shelf is probably already very strong).

ndjalva (author)mxevans2017-11-06

Have you ever tried using a French cleat? strong and hidden.

tmarx5 (author)2017-11-05

I got some shelves free from a hotel remodel where they did things a little differently. (-- not necessarily better --) The majority of the shelf was the BACK piece and they used really long heavy screws, almost like lag screws. (Maybe they were lag screws haha) and the front piece was a face plate that 'snapped' on to the back part after you screwed the back part to the wall. It was held on with little plastic things that stuck into holes drilled. Could probably do the same with small dowels instead of plastic thingies. I think it would support a lot more weight this way with lag? screws. The second thing was a shallow groove was routed into the top of the shelf along near the front edge -- just a finger's width and very shallow. It lets you lean photos in frames on the shelf and they won't slide off. In the old days, people showed off china plates this way, but now they lean frames on shelves instead of hanging frames on walls.

LaurentP21 (author)2017-11-02

Nice! I was looking for how to have a floating shelve (other design) and this is inspiring me!

diycreators (author)LaurentP212017-11-05

Thank you, that's awseome.

seamster (author)2017-11-02

Very good, simple technique. Well done, thank you for sharing this approach!

diycreators (author)seamster2017-11-05

Thank you

kapiteinterzee (author)2017-11-02

Great tutorial! Easy to follow and understand. Thanks for the idea I'll be employing for the guest bathroom.

Thank you,

RushNafikov (author)2017-11-03

Very nice!!

diycreators (author)RushNafikov2017-11-05

Thank you

bonzoyl (author)2017-11-05

Rehabbing my kitchen.....want shelves instead of above counter cabinets.

You make this look relatively easy! And added a lot of details that i would not have the wood staining. MAY try it myself...maybe over the washing machine Thanks.

diycreators (author)bonzoyl2017-11-05

Thank you, that sounds like fun. It would be a good idea to test it out in a smaller location.

HLFuller (author)2017-11-05

Nice! Well explained and clear. Thank you very much!

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