Intro: Floating Cat Shelves
My wife wanted floating cat shelves. We checked at retail stores, but such shelves were too small. The biggest entry level shelves would barely fit a kitten's bottom and were $30. We had a shoe rack made out of spare plywood that we were going to donate, so I turned the materials into a floating cat shelf. The materials required were:
- Softwood Shelf Boards
- 2 x 4 Stud Wood
- Straight Metal Brackets
Step 1: Cut and Glue
In this step, cut the 2 x 4 in half to use as the base of the floating shelf. To work correctly, a floating shelf needs some thickness otherwise too much torque is placed on the anchor screws.
- Using a level surface, trace along the 2 x 4
- Saw the 2 x 4
- Measure the 2 x 4 with calipers
- Set the calipers to half measured value and dent the wood at either end
- Draw the center line
- Saw along the center line
- Glue the base pieces to the shelf
- Clamp the base pieces
Step 2: Drill Screw Holes
In this step, trace the metal bracket and drill the screw holes. A drill press can be used to make a guide for the bit so that it goes straight.
Step 3: Recess the Wood
In this step, create recessing for the metal brackets:
- Connect screw holes.
- Measure half-way between the screw holes.
- Fold the measuring paper in half.
- Draw straight down the back.
- Route (with a dremel) a recess on the shelf portion of the back so that the metal bracket is flush with wood.
- Trace the screw head between the mounting holes.
- Draw the screw head down to the base.
- Recess the screw head trace deeper for the screw head.
Step 4: Create Mounting Notch
In this step, create a mounting notch in the metal bracket.
- Create a pattern by tracing the metal bracket and folding it over twice.
- Punch the pattern over the metal using a scribing tool.
- Drill the bracket in the middle using a drill bit slightly larger than the screw body.
- Cut into the bracket to open up a notch.
- Screw the bracket onto the shelf with long (2" or more) screws.
Step 5: Mount the Shelf
In this step, mount the shelf.
- Use a wet sponge to wipe the bracket.
- Put 3M mounting putty / earthquake putty onto the bracket anchor hole.
- Level the shelf and press it into the wall.
- The putty will be left behind.
- Center punch the putty for drilling.
- Create a catch for the drill dust.
- Roll the putty below the hole.
- Press the catch onto the putty.
- Drill the anchor holes.
- Insert an anchor.
- Insert the screw.
- Add some foam padding to shelf bases.
- Mount the shelves.