Introduction: Floating Shelves for Mom

About: I am a maker, builder, inventer, problem solver

My mom came to me wanting some floating shelves for her living room. She saw some on a Youtube video and said they would be easy to make (they were not). I agreed to help her for a birthday present to her :-)

I think this is a good project to put on Instructables because it explains in detail what it actually takes to build shelves of this nature. I am assuming that the video she watched was not transparent in explaining the difficulty level. Don't get me wrong, I believe everyone is capable of making these shelves, but proper equipment is needed. Enjoy.

Step 1: Material

1. Bi fold closet doors: The come in 24, 30, and 36 Inches wide.|0&pl=1&Ntt=bi+fold+door

2. 2 x 4s The lengths need to match the length you plan to have your shelves
3. 3" lag bolts
4. Finishing nails
5. Trim

Step 2: Tools

1. Circular saw
2. Thickness planer
3. Level
4. Drill
5. Chisel
6. Hammer
7. Glue
8. Strait edge
9. Screw Driver
10. Paint or Stain

Step 3: Shelf Design

The shelf works by sliding a hollow bi-fold door onto a stud that is lag bolted to the wall.

Here is an animated video of the shelf:

Step 4: Disassemble Doors

dis-assembly is easy, just remove the hinges from the bi-fold doors. Use a flat or philips head screwdriver and unscrew the 4 screws.

Step 5: Cut Doors

Cut both sections of the door long ways down the middle. I used a circular saw jig, but a table saw or any other saw that can be used with a straight edge can be used. Next cut the doors to the length of the self you are wanting. We cut ours 4' which left approximately 3' for smaller shelves. We first masked the doors so that the saw blade would not chip the doors.

Step 6: Prepare Doors

After cutting the doors to size, take a chisel and scrape the cardboard out of the inside of the doors. Do this just enough to be able to slide a 2" board inside.

Step 7: Cut and Plane 2x4s

Cut the 2x4s long ways down the middle. This will leave you with boards approximately 1.75" x 1.5". Cut the boards to match the length of your shelf. Also cut pieces that are equivalent to the depth of each shelf. This will act as the end of the shelf, where you cut it to size. Measure the exact gap that is in the doors you previously cut. Our gap was approximately 1.25". This is the thickness you want your cut 2x4s. In our case, we planed down the 1.5" to 1.25".

Step 8: Mount Boards

Take your planed down and shaped 2x4s and drill holes corresponding the the location of the studs in your wall. Make sure to drill the holes just under the diameter of the lag bolts you are using. With the wall marked and the holes drilled, hold the board on the wall where you want it. Use a level to make sure it is level. We started with the middle lag bolt and then leveled it from there.

Step 9: Slide on Shelves

Slide the shelf onto the mounted board. The shelf should stay there but use finishing nails or brad nails to secure them properly. The shelves can be sanded and painted or stained. If you decided to stain them, you will need to put trim or molding around the edges. If you decided to paint you can just sand the ends flush and paint.

Step 10: Results

My mom loves them! I also think they look great. She has not decided whether to paint or stain them. For now she is going to wait. The Shelves are stable but they are not made to hold a lot of weight. I think that using wider board to hand the shelve or adding arms to the inside of the shelves to attach to the boards may make them more stable.

Update: My mom decided to stain them. I have uploaded some Pictures.

Shelving Contest

Participated in the
Shelving Contest