DIY Floating Shelves……a great storage solution!

I shared months ago that I wanted to open up the free days on my blog (that I wasn’t blogging) to others who would love to fill those gaps and showcase their own work.  Your talent out there is INCREDIBLE…..and I love sharing this little outlet with others who get a kick out of creating, like I do. :)  So, today is another day you get to see the craftiness of someone else.  Pull up a chair (or a sofa) and enjoy with me……you won’t be disappointed. 


-Ashley :)

. . . . .

Hi! I am Sara from The Aqua House. I love quilting, DIYing, and I may have a tiny obsession with the color Aqua. I am still in shock that I was selected to be a contributor here on one of my favorite blogs!
Today I would like to share with you a tutorial on how to make your very own DIY floating shelves.
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I’m kind of in love with them.  They are the perfect place to put my new towels!

DIY floating shelves (

We built our little starter home four years ago, after only seeing a floor plan on paper. Once we started the building process I noticed one huge problem…the Master Bathroom was tiny! After four years of putting up with a tiny space my husband and I recently started a little remodel. One of my first requests was more shelving, and I had the perfect place to put them. Are you ready for the Before picture? Its kind of scary…
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Nope, that’s not your computer screen, it really was that dirty in there…thanks mainly to flat white paint.

But, here’s the Before/After — I can’t believe the difference a little bit of paint and some shelves make.

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They really aren’t too difficult to make.  And can be installed in a living room, a bedroom, an entryway, or ANYWHERE!



Are you ready to build some shelves?


***These are the measurements and supplies I needed for my 2 shelves.  Your shelves may vary depending on how long or wide you want them. My shelves measure 12″ wide and 30″ long.


  •  3  1″x 2″x 8″ furring strips
  •  3  2’x4′ pieces of paintable ply wood, 1/4 inch thick. (These are also known as “project panels”)
  •  1 5/8″ and 2 1/2″ screws
  •  paint
  •  paintable caulk
  •  wood putty
  •  nails
  • sanding discs for sander



  • paint brush
  • drill
  • nail gun
  • level
  • speed square
  • compound miter saw
  • table saw
  • sander
  • caulk gun
  • stud finder


To start out,  you will cut up the project panel on a table saw. If you do not have access to a table saw and/or a compound miter saw, you can have your pieces cut at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Your project panel should look like this:

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If you’re making 2 shelves like I did, you’ll need to cut 4- 30″ x 12″ panels for the tops and bottoms, 2- 30 1/4″x 2″ panels for the fronts, and 2- 11 3/4″x 2″ panels for the sides (you will need 4 of these if both of the sides will be exposed…..I only needed 2, since my shelves are sitting in a corner).

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Next, cut the furring strips using a compound miter saw.  You will need 4- 30″ long strips and 8- 10 1/4″ strips.

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We originally planned for three shelves, so there are more pieces in this picture, but this is what your furring strips will look like once cut.

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After your furring strips are cut, you are going to use them to assemble the shelf frame. I took my furring strips and laid them out like this to make a frame.

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Starting with the first 10 1/4″ piece flush against the two 30″ pieces, lay the 10 1/4″ pieces in between your two long pieces every 10 inches on center. “On center” means that you put the center of the furring strip on the 10 inch line.
Furring strips have a tendency to crack, so pre-drill all holes and use a counter sink bit so that the screws will lay flush with the board.
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Before screwing the frame together, check to make sure all of the cross pieces are square using a speed square. Use the 1 5/8″ screws to assemble the shelf frame.
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After the shelf frames are screwed together, you will want to make sure your walls have had all prep-work done. For me, this included filling in holes and giving the wall a fresh coat of paint (Silver Drop by Behr).

After the wall is prepped, it is time to decide what height you want to hang your shelves. We hung our lowest shelf at the same height the towel bar had previously been. Using a level, draw a straight line on the wall at your chosen height.  Next, use a stud finder to find the studs in the wall. (You will need to make sure to attach the shelf to studs.) Lay your shelf frame on the wall, and mark the frame where the studs are so you can pre-drill your holes (we don’t want those furring strips to crack!). Then attach the shelf frames to the wall using the 2 1/2″ screws.

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As you attach the frame, periodically check to make sure the shelf is level.  This step may seem tedious, but believe me, you’d be pretty upset if you finished your shelf only to realize that it wasn’t level.

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Once your shelf frames are attached you will add the project panel pieces to it.

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First add the top…make sure to nail it into the frame!

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Next attach the bottom. You will attach the front and side trim pieces last to give it a finished look.


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After attaching the trim pieces, its time to fill all those nail holes with wood putty! I also filled the joints with wood putty to make sure that once I painted, they wouldn’t be visible.

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Then sand down your shelves and caulk along the edges by the wall. Finally! You are ready to paint.
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For paint, I used White on White by Glidden (semi-gloss), Floetrol (to help the paint flatten so I didn’t have brush marks), and a high quality angled brush.  If you choose to do white as I did, you will need about three coats of paint. Now step back, and admire your hard work!
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I can’t believe the difference a little bit of paint and some shelves make.  I look forward to sharing the rest of our bathroom makeover on my blog The Aqua House.

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Thanks for reading!

Sara Birch


sara blog contributor

Check out Sara’s blog HERE, her Facebook page HERE, and her Pinterest Boards HERE.


Did you catch the home improvement bug? Try your hand at these fun home improvement tutorials:
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Filed under Featured, Guest Contributor Sara, Home Decor, Home Improvement, No Sew


10 Responses to “DIY Floating Shelves……a great storage solution!”
  1. 1
    Kristin says:

    Sara, your shelves are adorable! And I love the way you styled the bathroom…the basket is such a cute way to store your towels and I love the shower curtain. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2

    What a great tutorial!

  3. 3
    seamsewfine says:

    I just love these! They do make a big difference and they are so neat. You did an amazing job with the instructions for this also, very clear and pics are a big help. I have one question, do you have an idea of about how much weight these would hold. I only ask because these would be great in my room for all my sewing and crafting books. And since I have collected almost as many books as i have fabrics I have a lot,lol. Thanks again for such a great idea and tutorial!

    • 3.1
      Sara says:

      Since these shelves were made to attach right to your studs, they can hold quite a bit of weight. It will also depend on how many screws you use to attach your shelf and how big your shelf is. My shelves could easily hold over 25 pounds each…if not more. Good luck organizing your craft room!

  4. 4
    Betty819 says:

    Thanks for this tuitorial..I’ve always wondered how to install floating shelves without brackets..Now I know but they still look like they are suspended in mid-air and my brain keeps telling me that these shelves need brackets to hold them up. LOL!

    • 4.1
      Ashley says:

      Haha…..I know, it’s kinda tricky to the brain. But it’s so neat and clean, I love them! Sara did a great job!! :)

  5. 5
    Sarah says:

    Great! I wondered how to do this and now I just might give it a try. Thanks!

  6. 6
    christine says:

    Would love to make these! Curious though, how would you go about removing the shelves if you decided you no longer wanted them there? Thanks!

  7. 7

    Great job! The floating shelves are lovely! Thumbs up! Greetings, Storage Northolt Ltd.