DIY Floating Corner Shelves

DIY floating shelves (click through for more)Using shelving is a great way to organize and de-clutter a space… I know, I know. Such ground-breaking information. Don’t write me off yet; I want to show you how to make some clean shelving that appears to have no brackets (i.e., floating shelves). You can make them for less than 100 bucks, and the hardest part is figuring out what you’re going to put on them when you’re finished.

Supplies:
This is list is for the three shelves built for a specific space. You can modify as needed for your own space.

-six 2 x 4s
-two 1 x 8 x 12 kiln-dried cedar (be sure to check for warping when choosing your lumber)
-one 1/4″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood
-1 1/4″ wood screws  (I used these)
-heavy duty fasteners (I used these)
spackle
-paint
caulk
wood glue

Tools:
miter saw

table saw
drill
Kreg pocket hole jig
sandpaper
sander
level
step ladder (ones like this are good since they don’t take up a lot of space and have the shelf on top)
stud finder

Floatingshelf_diagramStep One: Cut all your wood. I find it more productive if I figure out all (or at least most) wood material I need and cut it all at once. You have to make sure all of your measurements are spot-on, or like dominoes, everything will fall apart if you get one measurement wrong, which is a real bummer. If you think of the project as a whole, that all the pieces relate to each other, then it should run smoothly. Hey, if I can do it, you can too.

Here’s my cut list for three shelves:

-fifteen 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″*
-three 26 1/2″ x 1 1/2″**
-three 46″ x 1 1/2″**
-three 28″ x 8 5/8″***
-three 20″ x 1 1/2″***
-three 37 3/8″ x 8 5/8″***
-three 37 3/8″ x 1/5″***

*2 x 4     **ripped 2 x 4     ***ripped 1 x 8

Cut list for skinning the bottom and ends (1/4″ plywood):

-8 5/8″ x 46″
-8 5/8″ x 26 1/2″
-six 2 1/8″ x 8 5/8″

Sand pieces that will be visible.

DIY floating shelf (material needed)Step Two: Assemble figure A (see diagram). I found it easier to clamp down the 1 1/2″ piece before screwing in the 6 1/2 x 3 1/2 pieces. I put in two screws per piece.

DIY floating shelves Step Three: Assemble the pieces for figure B (see diagram).

DIY floating shelves (pocket holes)Step Four: Alright, now’s the fun part. I’m sure you already have a space picked out. A good way to visualize spacing is to use painter’s tape (Laura dropped that knowledge on me). Once you have the spacing all set up, studs found, and material at hand, you can start putting up the shelves. 

DIY floating shelves (mark the walls)I started at the bottom and worked my way up. Install all of the A pieces first. The HeadLOK fasteners did a great job of making everything super sturdy; just make sure you’re hitting studs! After you have the A pieces up, you can put on the B pieces. You can screw or nail those on. Hopefully your walls are nice and square!

DIY floating shelves DIY floating shelves Screw or nail on the underside and end pieces.

DIY floating shelvesStep Five: Putty any nail or screw holes. One thing I wish I would have done is caulk around the shelves so that there were no spaces showing. I think they still look good, but that detail would have made them a little bit better. Sand once everything is dry; I attached my vacuum hose to the sander to minimize dust. Tape the wall if you are going to paint another color.

DIY floating shelves
DIY floating shelvesOnce you paint, you’re done! Time to put your stuff on display (after the paint dries, of course). 

DIY floating shelves (click through for instructions)
DIY floating shelves (click through for instructions)Add a few cool frames with prints, plants, books with unique bookends and your shelves are ready to go! We’ve got lots of wood DIY projects in our archives (like building custom shelves and dollhouses) so make sure to see if any of those strike your fancy as well! Happy building! -Josh


P.S. If you aren’t the power tool type of person, you can also buy some floating shelves and get the same look (this three piece set is nice)!

P.P.S. Check out more home decor on our wishlist and shopping pages!

Floating Corner Shelves

How to build your own floating corner shelves.

Keyword DIY
Author Josh Rhodes

Ingredients

  • six 2'x4'
  • two 1 x 8 x 12 kiln-dried cedar 
  • one 1/4″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood
  • 1 1/4″ wood screws
  • heavy duty fasteners
  • spackle
  • paint
  • caulk
  • wood glue
  • miter & table saw
  • drill
  • pocket hole jig
  • sander & paper
  • level
  • stud finder optional, but useful

Instructions

  1. Cut all your wood. I find it more productive if I figure out all (or at least most) wood material I need and cut it all at once. You have to make sure all of your measurements are spot-on, or like dominoes, everything will fall apart if you get one measurement wrong, which is a real bummer. If you think of the project as a whole, that all the pieces relate to each other, then it should run smoothly. See post for the cut list I used for these floating shelves.

  2. Sand pieces that will be visible.

  3. Assemble figure A (see diagram). I found it easier to clamp down the 1 1/2″ piece before screwing in the 6 1/2 x 3 1/2 pieces. I put in two screws per piece.

  4. Assemble the pieces. I have included diagrams in the post you can also print to use for this project.

  5. I’m sure you already have a space picked out. A good way to visualize spacing is to use painter’s tape (Laura dropped that knowledge on me). Once you have the spacing all set up, studs found, and material at hand, you can start putting up the shelves. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. Install all of the A pieces first. The HeadLOK fasteners did a great job of making everything super sturdy; just make sure you’re hitting studs! After you have the A pieces up, you can put on the B pieces. You can screw or nail those on.

  6. Screw or nail on the underside and end pieces.

  7. Putty any nail or screw holes. One thing I wish I would have done is caulk around the shelves so that there were no spaces showing. I think they still look good, but that detail would have made them a little bit better. Sand once everything is dry; I attached my vacuum hose to the sander to minimize dust. Tape the wall if you are going to paint another color.

Credits // Author: Josh Rhodes. Photos: Sarah Rhodes and Josh Rhodes. 

  • Do you have a ballpark for how much weight these can bear – conservative estimate please.

  • When it comes time to move them, how could you do that without breaking them apart?

  • Thanks for sharing! This will definitely come in handy. I have two questions. Is there a reason you paint after they are installed? It seems like it would be easier to paint them before installing them. Also, on the 2X4 cutting list, you state re need 3 pieces that are 37 3/8 x 1/5” and I was wondering if the 1/5 is a misprint. I don’t see any boards that look that thin in the image.

    Thank you.

  • Weight limit pls? Would they work for a serious loaf of books? See the weight q asked a few times….

  • Gonna share it with my boyfriend. Hope he would try this. Thanks for sharing this floating shelves tutorial.

  • Love this look! I only have 21″ in each direction from the corner – could I do this, or is that not enough space to hit 2 studs to hold them securely?

  • I love this idea and the way you decorated it. It’s something a lot of people would find valuable. I hope it’s alright if I share it! (Giving source credit of course!)
    Please check out my blog on bringing the benefits of beach living inside at: zoomshack.com

  • These look really good! I like the way you decorated them too. I have a small room with big empty walls I need to fill somehow and this is a good idea.

    http://www.kingskingco.com/listing.asp?dept_id=46040&nopopup=1

  • Is there a ballpark weight limit you’d recommend for these shelves? I’m thinking about trying them in my kitchen to hold dishes and a small number of cookbooks, but want to be sure they’ll be sturdy enough for that application. Thank you! Wonderful tutorial!

  • I can never make this myself, but they look absolutely stunning and such practical use for a simple corner!

  • Love these! They look absolutely wonderful & so clean. I can’t wait to own walls of my own (woes of a renter) to drill things into them!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Ali, yea, this a great idea. Stay posted, I’m sure we’ll have something like this very soon.
    -Josh

  • Hey Tara, you could paint before hand if you wanted. I just like to sand one more time after everything is assembled then paint.

    -Josh

  • Hi Ali,
    This is an excellent idea! We’ll get to work on this!
    xx- Elsie

  • WOW Josh! This is a great tutorial for floating shelves! We are using the ones from Ikea in our kitchen & they are already tilting from the weight of the dishes, definitely not as sturdy as these shelves. I think we will have to do this to replace them. Your ideas are so creative & your directions are easy to follow. Keep those projects coming! PattyO

  • Your idea is great. I love your great house project. Those shelves are looking truly elegant! Thanks.

  • Hi Josh, I’ve got a post idea for you… I really want to learn how to build things and get to a stage where I can follow tutorials like this but I have very little knowledge in this area. ideally I’d spend a weekend with my grandpa in his workshop but he’s not around anymore and I have no one else to learn from. I usually do pretty well learning by experimenting and playing but I have no tools or materials to play with. I’m sure there are a lot of readers who would also love to attempt your tutorials but just don’t have the equipment.
    so I was thinking you should do a post on how to set up a totally basic ‘beginners workshop’ from scratch… which tools are absolutely essential, what’s a good type of wood to start with, do I need a proper work bench? what kind? etc etc. I feel like a lot of people would benefit from that kind of information!

    • I think this is a great idea!!! I would definitely benefit from this as well! Thanks for suggesting it.

  • Wow Josh, fantastic tutorial! they turned out gorgeous!

  • Wow they are so good to build 🙂 it looks great

  • Fantastic!! I need to install these once we get settled in our new place.

  • Need more info on the geo-thinga-majingy with the tiny cacti. Where do you get such cute tiny plants? Plus those little candle holders. Great styling job gals 😉

  • I am sending this to my husband ASAP. Our weekend project found!

  • Floating shelves are awesome! Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial!

  • OBSESSED with this! 🙂 You make “making it” look so easy. 😉

    I hope you have a beautiful day!!! <3

    xoxo,

    the bbb blogger

  • These are SO pretty!

    Did you paint afterwards because you found sanding necessary, or would it be possible to paint the shelves before?

  • These are great! I live in a small aprtment so shelves are a girl’s best friend when it comes to storage. Thanks for this!

    Sincerely,

    Laurali Star

    http://www.thesecretsurprisinista.com

  • The same systems could also be used to change the IKEA floating shelves whose surfaces have become dull or broken: a “hollow” box that would slide on the existing metal floating frame. thank you for being the inspiration for this fix!
    p.s. this is purely fictional:any similarity to an old melamine IKEA shelf in my living room is completely fortuitous…

  • Thanks Josh! I will definitely try these at home. Me and my husband do make a lot of our furniture ourselves..we have a long way to go in terms of finishing..and the styling is oh so good everytime!! 🙂

  • Moving into our new place soon and going to need to make some wall storage area! Thanks for the idea and the detailed instructions.

  • Thanks Krati, there actually were some gaps. You can only cut something so perfect, there are other elements that come into play like how square the walls are. That’s where putty, a lot of sanding, and a couple coats of paint come into play 🙂 Plus, how will you know if you can or can’t do something till you try it! As for styling, fortunately there are some gals here at A Beautiful Mess that rule at it, so that’s why they look so good.

    -Josh

  • This is great! Love how they look with the greenery! Such a great design!

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

  • Love the shelves Josh! But im not sure if I were to do these i’d be able to get the same finish. Looks like the cutting needs a lot of precision..so that all the pieces come together perfectly without any gaps. Did you do the styling as well?

  • These are great and I love how it’s all decorated with the pretty succulents, book, etc 🙂

  • This is a great house project! It looks really nice, and I love the pop of gold.

    www.voilalovely.com

  • WOAH! I love these. I wonder how they would look in a dark grey to keep every accent in my house from being white… 🙂

    • I would like to make the shelves with light gray paint—I will use a wet rag and after painting with a light coat of light gray paint wipe the paint off immediately after painitng so you can still see the grain of the wood. I have already done this and it is just beautiful. And you will love the look of this—to add some interest to the room. You could try this idea on a piece of scrap wood first to get an idea of what it will look like. I am painting an old desk and have used a light gray paint and when it was dry I used a white glaze from (Lowes)–very lightly just brush a very small amount of the glaze on top of the light gray paint and it adds some interesting color to the desk. Just try this on a picece of scrap wood first. Mary Ellen

  • Wow, the shelves don’t look like wood at all! What a beautiful DIY! I love the classy white touch 😉

    http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca/

  • Afraid that this is too advanced for me, but I do love the result! Awesome idea to make these selves in a corner!

    x Eveline from http://fragilityofbeauty.com/

    • Es muy inteesante, pero seria mejor mas didactico para poder aprender.

  • That’s awesome! You’re so crafty…. I have a real problem storing all my books in my tiny tiny room and therefore something like that would be just great! Thanks for the inspiration and have a truly wonderful weekend:

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/06/have-wonderful-weekend_20.html

    Love from Germany,

    Bambi

  • I love this idea. I just wish I had a house rather than an apartment. I will definitely keep this in mind if I ever move.

  • Oooh.. Love this idea! Its perfect for our new apartment!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Love these shelves! Can you please share what color of white paint was used on the walls?

  • Those shelves are looking really classy! I love your projects, they are always so creative!

  • This is awesome! This is the best floating shelf tutorial I’ve ever seen. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

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