Introduction: How to Build DIY Floating Shelf With Invisible Hardware

About: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.

In this Instructable project, I'll show you how to build a DIY floating shelf, which can be built with only a circular saw, drill, and doweling jig. This easy-to-build project looks awesome and can be sized to fit your space. Let's get started!

Don't miss the video above for a lot more details!

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

The only tools you absolutely need for this build are something to cut the boards to length, such as a circular saw or miter saw, a drill to make holes for the mounting hardware and dowels, and some kind of dowel jig. Simple!

Materials Used On DIY Floating Shelf:

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Tools Used On DIY Floating Shelf:

Step 2: (Optional) Mill Rough Lumber to Size

I used rough Bubinga and Soft Maple for my shelves, so my first step was milling the rough lumber so that it was square on all sides. I did this using my jointer, planer, and table saw.

Step 3: Cut Shelf Pieces to Length

My shelves are 18" long by 6" wide by 7 ¾" tall. You can adjust the shelf sizing to fit your space, you just need to make sure they're at least 18" long so they can span two studs, which are spaced 16" on center. Also, in order for the hardware to be hidden, the boards need to be at least 1 ⅛" thick. I cut the boards to length with my miter saw.

My pieces were the following dimensions:

  • Top and bottom pieces - 18" by 6"
  • Side pieces - 5 ½" by 6"

Step 4: Layout and Cut Joinery

To join the shelf pieces, I used a simple dowel drilling jig. This inexpensive tool is a great way to create a strong joint, much strong than screws. To use the dowel jig, first you mark the location for your dowels. I used a square for this to make sure my lines were straight.

To drill the dowel holes, you set the depth stop on the included drill bit, clamp the jig to your piece, then drill to full depth. Repeat this on all of the boards.

Step 5: Assemble Shelves

To assemble the shelves, add glue to your dowels then drive them into the holes you drilled in the previous step. Don't add too much glue, or the joints won't close up due to the pressure from the glue. Clamp the shelves together and allow the glue to dry.

Step 6: Drill Holes for Shelf Hardware

The shelf hardware I used required 7/16" holes drilled at least 5 ½" into the back of the shelves. The holes need to be spaced 16" on center to match up with the stud spacing in most walls. I used a drill press to drill these holes, which is highly recommended, but if you don't have a drill press, just make sure to use a square or drilling guide to keep your holes square.

Step 7: Chamfer Edges and Sand

I chamfered the edges on my shelves using a router, which is obviously an optional step but gives the shelves a really clean look. Next, I sanded the shelves up to 180 grit using a random orbit sander to prep for finish.

Step 8: Apply Finish

For finish, I used Waterlox, a tung oil-based finish that looks ridiculously good. Just look at that Bubinga! I applied three coats, allowing the finish to dry for 24 hours between coats.

Step 9: Hang Shelves

I used these Blind Shelf Supports from Rockler to hang the shelves, and they're fairly simple to install. The big key is to make sure they line up with the holes you drilled in the previous step, which they should as long as you measured properly. Just make sure the hardware is level and attach them into studs using 2 ½" screws.

The posts just slide into the holes you drilled previously, so mounting is super simple. Once the shelves are mounted, they're done!

Step 10: Enjoy Your Shelves!

Hopefully you enjoyed this Instructable! This simple project can really look awesome depending on the type of wood you use. Even if you can't afford fancy hardwoods like Bubinga, you could stain big box store Pine and get a really cool look. If you enjoyed this project, get subscribed to my YouTube channel for a lot more woodworking projects, and don't miss my website for even more! Thanks!

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