Introduction: LED Floating Shelf - DIY
This project takes floating shelves to a whole new level and I'm going to show you EXACTLY how to make one of these yourself.
Floating shelves are pretty simple when you break it down.
You need a base and a case. The base is what attaches to the wall and makes up the support. The case is the visually appealing parts like the top, face, bottom, and sides - the stuff you'll see.
Because of this separation of base and case, there leaves a ton of empty room within the shelf to put things, like power cables in the this specific instance with LED lights.
Step 1: Gathering Materials and Tools
1x8 Board - used for the bottom of shelf
2x3 Board - used for the base
1x4 Board - used for the face of the shelf
1/4" Plywood (or thinner) - used for the top of the shelf
Step 2: Making the Base
The LED strips are 16' long but can be cut to size, so the length of your floating shelf can really be whatever you want it to be. In my specific case, I will be needing a 78" long shelf that goes from wall to wall.
The part that I call the base is the inside of the shelf. This is the part that fastens to the wall and is the structure. I will make this out of 2x3s. You will not be able to see the base when finished, so sanding and staining isn't necessary.
Cut 1: 2x3 cut to 78" long - the entire length of my desired shelf. This piece will be the section that ultimately fastens against the wall. Your cut may be shorter depending on the length of your shelf.
Now we need a few pieces that extend off of this and will be what we rest the shelf on.
Cuts 2-6: 2x3 cut into ____". The length of these 2x3s need to be the width of the 1x8 minus the width of the 2x3 you cut in Cut 1 above. I made 5 of these because my shelf is extremely long. You can easily get away with 3 or 4 if you have a shorter shelf.
Put it Together: Space out the short 2x3s along the long 2x3 evenly. Make sure there is one on each end. Make a mark with a pencil. This is where you'll need to pre-drill 2 holes and countersink them so the screws are flush with the wood.
Now go ahead and screw in all of the 2x3 braces to the long 2x3 piece.
Step 3: Making the Casing
The casing is the part that you can see and is what holds the LED strip. You can use any color stain and any type of wood you'd like, but the thickness measurements are important.
The casing is made up of the plywood top, the 1x4 face, and the 1x8 bottom.
- You may have side pieces if you aren't going wall to wall - these side pieces are made of 1x4s and are basically the same as the face.
Cut 1: 1x8 cut to 78" long - this will be the bottom of the shelf. Cut it to the same length as your 2x3 base board we cut in the previous step.
Cut 2: 1/4" plywood cut to 78" long. Rip it to the same exact width as your 1x8. This plywood should be the same width and length as the 1x8, just thinner. This will be the top.
Cut 3: 1x4 cut to 78" long - this is the front piece that will be the most visible.
- IF you are not going wall to wall with your shelf, you will need to extend this cut past the base and to be long enough to cover the 2 side pieces. The side pieces will be made of 1x4 cut to width of the entire base.
This is all of the steps needed to make a normal floating shelf. However, this unique beauty will hold an LED strip and therefore needs a little bit more work.
Step 4: Prepare for LED Strip
I will be routing a channel into my 1x8 to hold my LED strip so that it doesn't stick out and be an eyesore. The channel should be only about 3" off of the wall so that the light will reflect against the wall and make a bigger impact. If the LED strip is towards the front of the shelf, the light will just shine to the floor.
When routing the channel, I used a guide board to keep the router straight. Then I went for it.
Once you have a clean channel that is wide enough to hold the LEDs, it is time to drill a 1/2" hole into the ends of the channel on at least one side so you can run the power cable through it and have it be hidden.
Make sure this hole is at least 2" from the end of the board so you don't have to notch out a hole in the base like I did in the last image here. My hole was too close to the end so I just had to take a piece off the base.
Step 5: Sand, Clean, and Stain
The last step before piecing everything together is to make the wood look beautiful!
- I started with 80 grit sandpaper and sanded all of the casing pieces.
- Then wiped it down with a damp rag.
- Then went back over it with 220 grit sandpaper to make it extremely smooth and clean.
- Recently I've been using pre-stain to take my projects to the next level. So I applied that and it only needs to dry for 10-15 minutes before hitting it with stain.
- For the stain, I used a dark walnut from Minwax and applied a coat of that with a rag. I let it dry for 24 hours.
- Lastly, I applied a clear coat polyurethane, sanded it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper, and then re-applied a 2nd coat of clear coat.
This is now ready to be hung up! You can actually begin hanging the base while the casing dries.
Step 6: Install the Base
First I'll go and find where the studs are at with a stud finder. My wall is black so I used painters tape to mark my studs.
Once they're all located, I raised the base up against the wall and fastened on a first screw in the middle.
With that 1 screw in place, I propped up a level on top of the base and balanced the base until it was perfectly level. Then began screwing in the rest of the screws into the studs. I placed 2 screws that were 3" into each stud.
Step 7: Fasten on the Bottom of the Shelf
I took out the LED Lights and got them ready to work with.
Here I took the 1x8 with the LED channel and went ahead and slipped the LED in place but I did not secure it with the sticky tape yet, just fit it in there so it'd be easy to access once this board is installed.
The male end needs to be placed on the side you plan on hooking the power up to. Once you remove the sticky tape from the lights, it's tough to get off and is not re-usable.
Then lifting the 1x8 to the base and nailing it in with the Ryobi Nail Gun was extremely simple and the shelf is ready to be plugged in and tested out.
We have light!
Step 8: Finish It Up!
The last 2 pieces are simple.
Begin with nailing on the face piece, ensuring that it is level with the bottom of the 1x8 and that it is flush.
All that's left is the plywood.
The plywood will need a 1st hole in it for the power cable to exit out of. My outlet happens to be on top of my shelf and towards the center, so I'll make adjustments to my holes as needed.
If you catch my video, you'll notice that I use several sheets of plywood for the top. This definitely isn't ideal for most purposes, but my entire floating shelf is being used to house several computer cables for my office so I'll need to access a lot of these hidden wires.
The plywood will also need a 2nd hole for the Infrared receiver to poke through so you can use the remote that comes with the LED Lights. This hole just need to be big enough to fit the tip of the receiving through and the placement is completely up to you. You could even drill this hole into the face or bottom if you'd like, I just prefer the top.
Lastly secure your LED strip into the channel by removing the sticky tape from the bottom, and make the lights tight. If you have excess lights, you can cut them. Just follow the instructions on your type of lights.
Step 9: Enjoy and Subscribe to My Channel
There are dozens of colors to choose from, different brightness setting, audio settings (to where the lights will flash with the music) and other cool stuff.
This whole thing completely changed my office and I love it as the new backdrop to some of my YouTube videos.
Thank you so much for watching and catching up on these instructions, let me know if you have any questions!
A FREEway to support me is to subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE! I'd appreciate it.
Participated in the
LED Strip Speed Challenge