how to install diy floating shelves
10 Aug, 2021, 3:02 AM

Easy to install and budget friendly, DIY floating shelves are an amazing add on for any wall in your house. Floating shelves offer practical and attractive storage space for storing bric-a-brac, art, books, and more and do not take long to complete.

DIY for Added Functionality

Though there are many kits for floating shelves, like those containing rod-type brackets, including DIY floating shelves offers you additional freedom to mount shelves based on the room’s layout rather than the wall studs’ location, helping you maximize both style and storage. Add one shelf, multiple shelves, vertically aligned ones — or stagger. Your handyman capabilities is the only limit with DIY floating shelves!

How to Make The Floating Shelves

1. Think about materials.

stack of wooden planks

You can custom-make furniture and floating shelves from wood or inexpensive medium density fiberboard. MDF is easy to work with and cheap, but it must be painted and finished and painted post construction. Wood costs a bit more but will last longer and look nicer. You can go natural or stain it, or depending on how you wish to use the shelf. If you’d like ideas and help with your shelves, take a look at our post on what a handyman can do for your home.

2. Determine where you’d like to set up shelves, and check for studs.

Decide the preferred placement and number of shelves you’d like to add. Check your wall with a stud finder to locate where studs are available. These will be your best option, but not your only one, for secure shelving. If you believe you’ve located a usable stud, check it by driving in a test nail. You’re in drywall if the nail goes right through. You’ve hit a stud (or plaster), if it meets resistance. You can also use anchors in case studs are not conveniently located where you would like to add shelves.

3. Determine the right anchor for the job if there are no studs.

You’ll need butterfly anchors hollow wall anchors for drywall and for plaster respectively. Always select an anchor rated to hold MORE than the combined weight of the shelf and items you are thinking to place on it. If you might later use the shelves to keep other and heavier items consider upping the ante. (Note: You don’t need anchors if installing studs.)

floating kitchen shelves

4. Gather equipment.

  • Wood/MDF
  • Tape measure
  • Floating shelf support brackets (one third longer than shelf width)
  • Level
  • Power drill
  • Suitable wall anchors
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver

5. Install your floating shelves.

Lightly mark with pencil where the shelves will be installed.

For attaching points measure and mark boards, marking one point a couple of inches from each end. Long shelves, heavy shelves, and shelves holding a lot of weight need one directly in their center.

handyman using power drill

Hold up the shelf, and mark the pilot holes for each anchor on the wall. With your shelves and a friend’s help, use a level to ensure shelf stability and proper weight distribution.

Use a power drill to drill the pilot holes, keeping the drill square. Ensure that you select the right size bit.

To finish up..

Insert anchors following instructions on their package.

Line-up shelf brackets with anchors and install the latter with a screwdriver in the pilot holes.

Repeat this process for each shelf.

Slide the floating shelves on to the brackets and check with the level.

Install under the shelf lighting. Include functional lighting in busy work areas, or include dramatic spotlighting to collectibles or artwork with battery operated or wired LED under-shelf lighting in puck, strip, or bar style varieties.

Enjoy your handiwork after decorating/stocking your shelves!

Always feel free to ask for the affordable handy services of Universal Tradesman if you need a helping hand!

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