Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Make your own Floating Shelves!

Hello again!

I was hoping to have a blog post up about a new project by now, but life just gets in the way sometimes...  I promise, my project in the works is pretty cool, and has been well documented so far. ;)

Luckily, I have a few good finished projects left in the arsenal.  This is a fun one- floating shelves that you can build yourself.  

This is one of those projects that I decided to tackle simply because of the cost difference.  My shelves are 4 feet long, and to buy these in the store was going to cost about $50 a piece!  There was just no way I could justify 6 shelves at that price.  So, hubby and I went to work.

Let me just say off the bat that these shelves are not bookshelves.  They are decorative shelves.  While I think that they could hold a decent amount of weight, if you load them up with books or dishes, they will likely fall off the wall, or worse, take part of the wall with it.  This will be the case for any floating shelf, regardless of whether you make it or buy it. 

The concept of these shelves is pretty simple.  The shelves are a box with the back missing, which gets attached to a cleat on the wall.

... need a little more?

You will need:
-Plywood or MDF, no thicker than 1/2".  The lighter, the better.
-Wooden trim
-2x2 board, or something similar
-Finishing nails
-Wood glue

Step 1: Size up your shelves
The nice thing about making shelves yourself is that you can scale them to exactly what you need.  A few things to consider:
-You want to be able to attach these to the walls at a stud, so unless they are only holding one picture frame or something, try to make them long enough to hit a stud or two.
-You should keep the depth to about 6-9".

Step 2: Find your trim
The exposed sides of these shelves are covered in household trim.  Find one you like, in a width that works for your shelves (about 3").

Step 3: Build your box
Use the plywood or MDF to build a box for your shelf.  The box should be the approximate length and depth of your desired shelf (taking into account the thickness of your trim if those dimensions are critical to you).  Also, the height of the box should be the height of your trim.  Do NOT make a back for the box (the side that will sit against the wall).

Step 4: Attach your trim
Carefully cut your trim to length, with 45 degree corners.  Glue and nail the trim to your box using finishing nails.

Step 5: Paint your shelf
Pick your favorite color, and paint it up!

Step 6: Attach the cleat to the wall
Take your 2x2, make sure it will fit inside your box, and if not, trim it down to size.  It doesn't have to be a snug fit, the box just needs to be slipped over it later.  Choose the location for your shelf, find some studs, and screw the cleat into the studs.

Step 7: Attach the box(shelf) to the cleat.
Fit the box over the cleat, and drive screws through the top of the shelf into the cleat.  Fill your holes and touch up the paint.  Or do it my way, promise yourself that you will do it later, and then don't.  My picture frames cover up the screws anyway, right?

Step 8: Decorate! (and re-decorate?!)
The shelf is now ready for your favorite semi-lightweight things!

well, you get the idea.  One day I will settle on an arrangement for my living room... I hope. :)

Total time: about a weekend
Total cost: ~$100