Floating Shelf W/ Hidden LED Lighting




Introduction: Floating Shelf W/ Hidden LED Lighting

About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @ http://darbinorvar.com

This floating shelf features a hidden LED lighting panel on the underside, so it's perfect to place over the bed, or anywhere where you'd like some direct downward lighting. I used a piece of live edge maple, however you could use any piece of wood you have on hand, a 2x4 would be great!

Step 1: Hardware

I'm using some floating shelf hardware, and this is really easy to put together. You just attach the brackets onto studs on the wall, assemble the pieces, and drill holes in your shelf so it slips on the hardware.

Step 2: Preparing the Wall

The first step is to prepare the wall by finding where the studs are, then drawing a level line in between, and marking where you need to attach the brackets. Then pre-drill, and attach the brackets with screws - I used 2 inch screws and it's a good idea to use rather long ones for extra support. Once the brackets are in place, and the bolts are screwed in, I marked where on the wood the holes needed to be drilled.

Step 3: Drilling the Holes

Once you've prepared the wood by cutting it to a size that fits your space and making sure it's nice and level, it's time to drill the holes to attach it to the hardware on the wall.

I made up a little jig, by drilling through a block of wood on the drill press. I used that guide to drill through the wood, thereby making sure it was perfectly straight. It's important the holes are drilled straight, because the shelf won't go on the hardware right, and for this I used this extra long 7/16" drillbit to reach.

Step 4: Recessed Area

Now to create the recessed area underneath, I'm routing out two different depths, the first one more shallow, and this is where the acrylic will sit, and deeper depth for the lights. I made a little router jig with an adjustable fence to make sure that I stayed within the space I wanted for the routing.

Once the routing was done, I sanded the wood on all sides.

Step 5: Acrylic Insert

For the frosted "glass" insert I'm using a piece of acrylic, this is 1/8 of an inch, or 3mm thick. This cuts pretty well on the table saw. The section I had routed out within the wood was just a touch longer than the acrylic piece, so I had to cut up an extra piece and then cut to fit.

When using a router, you get round corners, so in order to fit the acrylic I'm cleaning up the edges with a chisel.

To create a cloudy effect on the acrylic I spray painted both sides with some frosted glass spray paint.

Step 6: LED Lights

I began with cutting up four strips of LED lights to fit within my recessed area.

Step 7: Hide Wires

To be able to hide the wires behind the shelf I'm first drilling a hole, and then routing a section for the wires to fit in. This is a little jig for the router with a fence attached, and it's so we can route a straight line on the edge of the wood which the cord can fit into, and it's a small bit.

Step 8: Type of LED Lights Used

I decided to go with high quality 90 + CRI LED lights that are daylight balanced. The setup here consumes about 36 watts at full brightness, which is very bright, most of the time I'll probably keep them dimmed. So I added a larger 60 watt AC DC adapter to handle that.

Step 9: Soldering

So I'm just connecting the positives on one line, and the negatives on another. And of course testing with the multi meter to make sure I have no shorts anywhere.

At the end of one of the strips, I soldered on wires which are pulled through the hole drilled and then hidden within the section routed.

Step 10: Attaching the Acrylic

To secure the acrylic I'm using a very small amount of hot glue in a couple of places.

Step 11: Finishing

For a finish I'm using water based poly, because it dries quickly, and I like how it doesn't add a yellow tone.

Step 12: Twisting the Cord

We used a drill to twist the cord and then soldered on the connection for the plug to the lights.

Step 13: Wax Polish

Finally, I'm just finishing the wood with a coat of my tung oil and beeswax polish with some steel wool, and then buffering to get a super smooth finish.

Step 14: Installing

To install on the wall, I simply slid the shelf on to the brackets within the holes drilled in the back of the wood. I then used a plastic self adhesive channel to hide the wires. I plugged it in, and it's all done!

Step 15: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video that goes overall the steps in this build.



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    15 Discussions

    Awesome! I have always sanded my acrylic to get the frosted effect. Will try the spray next project.

    Great idea!

    Nice work

    Nice work Linn.

    Very cool project! Woodworking (including jigs), electrical work, cool specialty hardware, well-done video - you rock! Only caveat I have is that I've seen where the self-adhesive on these LED strips is not all that stellar - I would think wood would be particularly troublesome - so many have gone to a different mounting method (either the extruded aluminum or something else that can be mechanically fastened).

    Really cool idea however, if I may, one thing that would have IMHO really added to the mystery factor of hidden brackets and light would have been to hide the wires completely as well.
    Since you have this hanging over a bed, and being as thick as it is, you have plenty of room to hide a small opening in the wall behind and hidden by the shelf, run the wire down through the wall, and have it come out under the bed and to the nearest receptacle. Much like when people hang a TV on the wall and hide the wires within.

    You can use one of these under the bed for the wires to exit: https://goo.gl/iWdh5z

    Dry wall being easy to patch it isn't a big project in the future if you decide to remove it.

    1 reply

    Very nice idea, nicely made.

    I might use the idea with a little less leds but with rgb leds and build it with a sunrise feature (connected to an arduino-based alarm clock) I will also add an mp3 player and speakers to the shelf. This way your idea and mine will merge very nicely. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Even in LED strips, heat dissipation can become a problem. Are you sure the lack of ventilation will not be a problem? I also understand Led strips are sometimes stuck on metal profiles to dissipate heat and extend the lifespan of the LEDs.

    I have lights that have a built in dimmer and I run the wire through the wall into a 12 volt power supply in the cellar.

    Very nice design!

    Awesome job! Love it! Your dog is funny at the end, wagging his tail in excitement over the light. Very cool design.

    Good job.

    I really like how the acrylic diffusser combines seamlessly with the wood. Really nice and clean design. Favorited!

    Great job, excellent idea. Probably would treat the wood before rather then after its assembled but can see this in any size and shape. Great job.


    10 months ago

    Very nice and congratulations! I love the versatility that LED's bring to any project where lighting is necessary. I will surely try something similar in the not too distant future!