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How to Build DIY Floating Shelves 7 Different Ways

by on Jul 1, 2020

Photo: Rachel Jacks

When I first set out to build live-edge floating shelves in my kitchen a few years back, I had no idea how to do it. At the time, I had to figure a lot out myself. Luckily for you, the internet now has step-by-step instructions for a variety of different methods for building shelves without visible brackets. Having personally built floating shelves two different ways, I can tell you that it’s not difficult once you have some basic woodworking skills. I managed to do it even as a beginner. Here are seven different tutorials that will help you build the floating shelves (or floating corner shelves!) of your dreams.          

The biggest choice you need to make when you’re thinking of building your own floating shelves is whether you want to use solid wood, or not. If you want to use solid boards, you’ll probably need to buy hidden brackets. If you don’t want to use solid wood, you’ll be constructing wood brackets and hollow plywood boxes to go around them. Which you choose to do depends on the look you want and the available wood and tools.

DIY Floating Shelves

DIY in PDX Floating Shelf Tutorial
Photo: Rachel Jacks

1. Solid Wood Floating Shelves – Back when I wanted to hang my own live-edge floating shelves made from solid pieces of wood, I couldn’t find instructions for how to do it. So I figured it out, and wrote my own tutorial. My shelves hold lots of dishes, and are just as solid as the day we put them up. 

2. Chunky Floating Shelves – This is the most common way to build floating shelves, by constructing wood brackets and a box to go around them. It’s best for shelves you plan to paint or stain.

3. Thin Floating Shelves – If you want floating shelves with a thinner profile, this tutorial shows you how to get that look. It uses the same techniques as the chunky version. I followed these instructions for building floating shelves in my breakfast nook, and they turned out great. I did use a few of the modifications mentioned in this post.

4. Hollow-Core Door Floating Shelves – This looks like an ingenious, thrifty shortcut for building thin floating shelves! (If I had a table saw, I totally would have tried this method for the last floating shelves I built.) 

DIY Creators Shelving
Photo: DIY Creators

5. No Hardware Solid Wood Floating Shelves – Another technique for making solid wood floating shelves, this one doesn’t require any store-bought shelf brackets. While I wouldn’t pile it up with heavy dishes, this looks like a really clever way to make a light-duty shelf.

Floating Corner Shelves

DIY in PDX Floating Corner Shelves
Photo: Rachel Jacks

6. Triangular Floating Corner Shelves – Little floating corner shelves are a great way to make the most of empty corners. This was the most helpful floating corner shelves tutorial I found when I recently built some. I did modify my corner shelves (pictured above) by using the same technique from the last tutorial to make thinner shelves. See how: House of Rose Blog

A Beautiful Mess corner shelves
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

7. Rectangular Floating Corner Shelves – There’s no reason your shelf has to take up a whole wall, thanks to this floating corner shelves tutorial via the gals at A Beautiful Mess. Clean, and effective. 

7 Ways to Build Floating Shelves and Corner Floating Shelves
Share these ideas on Pinterest!

Have you ever built your own floating shelves? What technique did you use? 

Next up! How to Make a Simple Built-In Bench for Extra Storage. The perfect kitchen weekend upgrade.

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