Introduction: Light Up Display Shelf

About: I am a senior laboratory technician in a analytical facility by day and by night I make and fix things. I prefer to work with wood but will give anything a go. I also enjoy gardening and an kept busy by my yo…

This Instructable will show you how I made a light up, floating display shelf. The shelf was made from construction lumber and was fitted with remote controlled LED lights.


2x 38mm x 62mm x 2.4m lengths of construction lumber (pick through to find straight ones)

11x 70mm Screws

5x brown rawplugs

Some scrap walnut cut to 60mm wide and 10mm thick

6x 1" brass screws

2x 60mm x 6mm x 1.1m of perspex

1x 5m length of self adhesive RGB LEDs with remote, receiver and power supply (sourced from eBay)

White paint

10mm dowels

Tin of WoodWax 22 (





Drill + 3mm, 6mm and 10mm wood bits and 7mm masonary bit

Countersink bit


Paint brush

Router with rebate bit

Spirit level


Speed square

Step 1: The Shelf

The plan was to make the shelf in two parts, the first fixed to the wall and the second fixed to the first. This would conceal the fixings and give the appearance of a floating shelf. As this was only for display purpose I was confident it would support the weight of the objects on it.

  • The construction lumber comes with rounded corners, so the first task is to run the lengths through the table saw and square them up.
  • Once squared the holes were drilled according to the plan. A 6mm hole was drilled all the way through, followed by a 10mm x 20mm deep counterbore.
  • The front part then had a rebate cut all the way around to accept the LED strip.
  • Both parts were then painted white.
  • Once dry the back part of the shelf was fixed to the wall and then the front part fixed to it.
  • The LED strip was stuck into the grove.
  • The front counterbores were plugged with dowels, which I decided to paint blue (I may change that!)

Step 2: The Edging

The edge is made from a mixture of perspex and walnut.

I managed to not photograph the perspex prep (sorry)

  • The perpex was cut slowly on a standard tablesaw and then sanded with 120 and 180 grit sandpaper to lightly frost it, so it would diffuse the lights.
  • Three holes were drilled and counter sunk to accept small brass screws,in each piece.
  • I then used the walnut to make end caps and a centre piece.
  • A rebate was cut into the walnut on the bandsaw so it over laps the edge of the perspex. (hopefully the pictures show this clearer than the words)
  • The walnut was cut to make 2 pieces 60x43mm one for each end of the front, 1 piece 60x123mm for the end of the shelf and 1 piece 60x156mm for the middle.
  • Once cut all pieces were sanded 120,180,240,320 and 400 grit and then given a coat of WoodWax 22.
  • The perspex and walnut were fitted to the front using 1" brass screws.

Step 3: Use and Enjoy

Connect the LEDs up to the power, switch on and enjoy.

The shelf was to display my wife's and my own art work and a growing collection of glass paper weights.

The paper weights have the added bonus of creating a nice pattern on the wall when the lights are on.

Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wood Contest 2016

Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016

Participated in the
Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016

Maker Olympics Contest 2016

Participated in the
Maker Olympics Contest 2016