I'm typing this post out with one hand (I burned my other one - long story, no biggie) so if it's alright with you, I'm going skip the small talk so we can get the building started :)
Head's up: this tutorial is super long but the pictures are pretty self-explanatory! Also, the lighting changes throughout the photos because we worked on the shelves during the week at night after work with no natural light and then on the weekend when there was natural light.
Before you start your shelves, you'll need to gather your supplies. We used:
Don't let this list scare you! It looks like a lot but it includes info on the cuts you'll need to make :)
LUMBER LIST //
• Front pieces: 1, 1 x 6 x 6 whitewood board
We cut our boards into 2, 36" long pieces (the length of our shelves) and then we ripped each board down down to 4" (the height/thickness of our shelves).
• Top and bottom pieces: 2, 1 x 10 x 6 whitewood board (or you can buy a 1 x 10 x 12 piece)
We cut our boards into 4, 34 1/2" pieces (2 for each shelf). Note: the top and bottom pieces are cut smaller than 36" (the total length of our shelves) to account for the 3/4" thickness of each side piece. 34.5" (top/bottom piece) + .75" (left side) + .75" (right side) = 36".
• Actual side pieces: 1, 1 x 6 x 6 whitewood board (we had 1/2 of it leftover)
We cut our board into 4, 9.25" pieces (2 sides for each shelf). The total depth of our shelves is 10" so we cut the sides .75" shy of 10" to account for the thickness of the front piece.
• Hidden inner frame, back pieces: 2, 1/2" x 3" x 36" piece of craft wood (furring strips work too)
We cut our boards down into 34 1/2" pieces (2 for each shelf). See top/bottom piece note for reasoning.
• Hidden inner frame, side pieces: 2 1/2, 1/2" x 3" x 36" piece of craft wood (furring strips work too)
We cut our boards down into 4, 9.25" pieces (2 sides for each shelf).
• Hidden inner frame, middle support pieces: 2 1/2, 1/2" x 3" x 36" piece of craft wood (furring strips work too)
We cut our boards down into 10, 9.25" pieces (5 supports for each shelf - feel free to do more or less).
OTHER TOOLS //
• Miter saw
• Table saw
Stop here. If you don't have any saws at home or access to some at a friend's house, both Lowe's and Home Depot will cut and rip your wood down to size. Some stores charge a small fee like 50 cents/cut but some don't so it could be free!
Now continue :)
• Tape measure
• Stud finder
• Nail gun -- if you don't have a nail gun, regular old nails and a hammer work just as well, it'll just take you a bit longer :)
• Nails for nail gun
• Wood screws
• Wood filler
• Some good music :)
We started the shelves by building two hidden inner support frames out of the 2 1/2, 1/2" x 3" x 36" pieces of craft wood we had leftover from another project. If you don't have wood scraps, furring strips work well too!
After we had the sides and center support attached to the back piece, we started attaching the rest of the middle pieces:
We screwed each piece into the back of the back piece like so:
We repeated the same steps to make the second hidden inner frame support:
After the frames were built, we did a dry fit of all of the pieces to make sure everything matched up:
Here's a color-coated diagram to help you understand how each piece fits together:
Red: Actual side supports
Blue: Front piece
Green: Hidden inner frame
Orange: Bottom piece
White overlay: Top piece
After we found our studs (3 to be exact), we started to mount the bottom hidden inner frame:
Since we could only find 3 studs, we decided to use some extra metal anchors that can hold 50 lbs each - the four silver holes at the top of the photo.
To get the perfect anchor placement on the wall, we held the frame in the location we wanted it and then screwed a screw through the back piece and into the wall. We did this 4 times, once for each anchor. Then we took the frame down and screwed the anchors into the screw holes we just made in the wall.
Once the anchors were in, we put the frame back in place and screwed the screw that came with the anchors back through the back piece of the frame and into the anchor in the wall.
I'm sure 4 anchors was overkill but I didn't want to risk having the shelves rip out of the wall when I loaded them up with accessories.
Anyway, after we got the first frame up, we repeated the same process on the second one:
That my friends is what happens when you decide last minute to lower the bottom shelf so you'll have an extra 2" of space in between them:
Double check your distances! It's easier to adjust the placement of the hidden inner frame than it is to move the finished shelf :)
Anyway, after both frames were up, I stained my top, bottom, front, and side pieces dark walnut:
Then I spray lacquered everything. FYI: skip this step. You'll find out why in a little bit.
Once the spray lacquer had dried, we began boxing in the hidden inner frames:
We nailed the top piece in place with our nail gun and we screwed the bottom piece in place with wood screws cause gravity hates nails apparently...
After we had the top and bottom pieces secured, we started on the side pieces:
In case you're wondering, the actual side piece on the top left isn't stained because we had to cut it down just a hair since it was a tad too long.
We used our nail gun to nail the sides directly into the side pieces of our hidden inner frame:
Our hidden inner frame side piece was a little warped so I pinched it close to the actual side piece while my boyfriend nailed it in place.
Next came the front piece:
Again, we used our nail gun to attach it:
We moved onto the second shelf when the first shelf was finished:
We boxed it in the same way as the first one:
After everything was all said and done, I filled the holes and marks our nail gun made with some wood filler:
When it dried, I wiped the shelves down and used a stain pen (in dark walnut) to cover up the wood filler marks. I'll be honest and say it didn't look very good :(
Since I had previously used spray lacquer on the wood, the shelves were glossy in some parts (where we didn't nail) and flat in others (where I used the stain pen).
To fix this, I covered the carpet and taped off the walls before I broke out my can of polyurethane and applied a thin and even coat of it to every side of the shelves except the bottoms since they won't be seen unless you're lying on the floor:
I let everything dry for 24 hours before I touched up the marks we made on the walls, hung the art above the shelves and added all of my accessories:
What do you think of this new version of our chunky wooden floating shelves?
Disclaimer: I can't guarantee that your shelves will turn out just like mine. Differences in materials and tools used, and your skill level, will yield different results. I cannot be held responsible for a failed project or an injury of any kind so proceed with caution and build at your own risk. Remember: always use caution when working with power tools and read any instructions before beginning any project.
I'm sharing this project on House of Hepworths and Home Stories A to Z!