Introduction: LED Floating Cube Shelves

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I wanted to create a set of beautiful wooden display shelves that appeared to be floating, and that featured some nice LED lighting to highlight the content on the shelves. In order to do that, I made some mitered cherry boxes, with routed dados for the lighting and I mounted these shelves onto a white board and fed all the wires behind. The end result is a really nice display section without any visible wires, that is perfect for featuring your favorite objects. To see the complete build and the final result, make sure to check out the video!

Step 1: Profiling the Wood

For the construction of the boxes, I decided to go with 3/4 inch cherry. I didn't want the shelves to feel to chunky, so to give the boxes a lighter feel, I cut a 24 degree angle on one side of all the pieces.

Step 2: Routing

Next up, routing! To begin with, I'm routing a groove for the LED strips, about 1 inch in, using a 3/8 inch bit. Next I routed a rabbet for the back board, using a 1/4 inch bit.

Step 3: Cutting Miters

To connect the boxes together, I went with mitered corners. I used my sliding cross cut table on the table saw, however you could also use a miter saw. I also made sure to use a stop block to get all the cuts nice and precise.

Step 4: Glue Up

To glue the corners together, I first layed down some masking tape, and then I placed the wood on top, some glue on the mitered corners and then I used the masking tapes as clamps. If your miters are nice and sharp, it is pretty easy to do a good glue job using this technique.

Step 5: Cutting Splines

For the backs, I cut up some cherry plywood to size.

To reinforce the mitered corners, I decided to go with add some splines. Since I'm using cherry wood, and cherry darkens over time, I went with maple for the splines.

To cut out the sections for the splines, I used a spline jig on the router.

Step 6: Adding the Splines

Once the mitered corners were dry, it was time to add the splines. To prevent any scratching of the wood, I first taped the sections all around the splines with painters taped. Then I glued in the splines, using a mallet to get them in place. Once the glue was dried, I used a flush cut saw to trim the splines down. I also glued in the backs.

Step 7: Sanding and Finishing

Once the boxes were complete, I sanded them up to 120 grit, and then I finished with shellac.

Step 8: Electronics

To add the lighting, I'm going to use the following products:

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I began with cutting the strips to fit around each box, and then I soldered on additional wire.

Step 9: Gluing in the Strips

Next I drilled a hole in each box for the wire to go through. Then I peeled off the tape and glued the strips into the dados, with the wire feeding through the back of the box.

Step 10: Securing the Boxes

For backing, I'm using a painted MDF board. I positioned the three cherry boxes evenly on the board, and marked out where the wires would go. I then flipped the board upside down and routed out a section for the wires.

Step 11: Holes in MDF

Next I drilled holes where the wires would feed through the back of the MDF board, and I also drilled holes where the boxes would go so I will be able to attach additional screws from the back, going into the 3/4 inch cherry. Next I positioned the boxes, fed the wires through, and attached the boxes with the screws.

Step 12: Connecting to the Switch

Next I attached the wires from the LED strips to a switch. All the black wires were connected on one side next to all the red wires from the strips. On the other side of the switch, I connected it to the wires from a barrel plug, which was connected to a 12 volt power supply.

To keep all the wires neat and attached on the back board, I used hot glue.

Step 13: Covering the Lights

To dim the lights slightly and to add a neater cover, I cut pieces of hardstock paper and glued them on top of the LED strips using ModPodge. I also added the glue on top of the paper. This provides a much neater and cleaner appearance and it also dims the lights slightly.

Step 14: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video that goes over all the steps in more detail and what the finished shelves look like!