$20 Wood Floating Shelves




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These shelves are super easy to build and really inexpensive as well. They can be stained, painted or left natural for whatever kind of decor suits your home. Open concept shelving is really popular and trendy right now. A great alternative to cabinets to add a bit of texture or character to any home.

Here is the shopping list for 3- 55 1/2" long floating shelves.

  • 2- 1 x 10 x 10′- 2 shelf tops
  • 1- 1 x 10 x 6′-1 shelf top
  • 1- 2 x 3 x 10′- inside posts (12)
  • 1- 2 x 3 x 10′- 2 cleats on wall
  • 1- 2 x 3 x 6′- cleat on wall
  • 1- 4′ x 8′ x 1/4″ plywood (you’ll have a lot of scrap left over, but I needed the length from the 8′ side)
  • 1- 1 x 4 x 6′- side trim
  • 1- 1 x 4 x 10′- 2 front trim
  • 1- 1 x 4 x 6′- 1 front trim
  • Kreg Jig 1 1/2" screws
  • wood glue
  • wood filler
  • sand paper
  • stain/paint

Here is the cut list.

  • 12- 1" x 3" x 7.75" Inner shelf supports. 4 per shelf.
  • 3- 1" x 3" x 54" wall cleats
  • 3- 1" x 10" x 54" shelf tops
  • 3- 1/4" x 9.25" x 54" plywood pieces. Shelf bottoms
  • 3- 1" x 4" x 54" front face trim pieces
  • 6- 1" x 4" x 10" side trim pieces

Step 1: Assembling the Inner Support of the Shelves.

Using a Kreg Jig, drill pocket holes into the small inner support pieces. Then attach equilaterally along the back shelf support. This will give you the three inner support brackets that will make up the shelves.

Step 2: Attach Inner Supports to the Studs in Wall.

Using a stud finder, mark the studs in the wall. Next, draw a level line to attach the support cleat to. Using 3 1/2" screws, attach each cleat to the wall. Pre-drill holes in the cleat before attaching to wall to ensure the wood does not split.

Step 3: Attach the Top and Bottom of Each Shelf.

Using 2" brad nails, attach the top 1" x 10" x 54" piece of wood by nailing into the inner supports from the top. Do the same with the bottom 1/4" x 10" x 54" plywood bottom pieces. Add wood glue to the face sides to prepare to add the trim pieces.

Step 4: Attach the Face Trim Pieces

Once you've applied the wood glue, using 2" brad nails, attach the front 1" x 4" x 54" pieces. Followed by the 1" x 4" x 10" side pieces in the same manner.

Step 5: Finishing the Shelves.

Fill all nail holes with stainable/paintable wood filler, wiping the excess off with a damp cloth. At this time, you may sand down the edges and any rough areas. If staining, I recommend dampening the entire shelf with water before applying stain. This will prepare the wood to take the stain evenly.

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40 Discussions


2 years ago

i built 4 shelves 1 3/4x14x24 for $25 total. built completely different and could hold about 80lbs each.

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

built like a butcher block and fireplace mantle combo


Reply 3 years ago

So what about the cost of buying plywood. I have added this up over and over and if you actually use math, there is no way. maybe the heading could be "practically $20 selves if you have a lot of stuff laying aroundn" sorry to be cynical. I think the instructable is wonderful, just misleading.


Reply 3 years ago

actually, I regret that previus post. I think you did a great job and who am I to know what it cost. I will take your word for it. please accept my apology. keep up the good work.


Reply 3 years ago

I don't see how it could even be $20 per shelf. I believe it is much more.


Reply 3 years ago

There is no way. 1 1x10x10 cost $6 she used 2 thats $12 and glue and screws you're already over $20


Reply 3 years ago

What if she already has the glue and screws, or brought a more budget glue and screws :p


Reply 3 years ago

Exactly, it's $20 per shelf. Your 1- 1x10x10 that costs $6 is for both shelves. Therefore, it's only $3 for 1 shelf. That leaves you $17 for the rest of the materials per shelf. The two shelves in the picture were a total of $40.


3 years ago on Step 2

nice job,i would also suggest miter cuts on the ends to give a more finished look(so your exposed end support would be 1.5 inches longer with a vertical miter and one on the face piece as well, thanks, mike