How to Build Long DIY Floating Shelves (the Easy Way)
Make these long DIY floating shelves easily and for cheap to add extra storage to any space
Is there anything better than extra storage?
That first sip of coffee in the morning is a close second but honestly I need extra storage just as badly…
This Children’s Ministry classroom renovation is coming to a close but I was still missing one giant necessity over on the rainbow wall, floating shelves.
The wall is super long, 168″ to be exact, and buying premade floating shelves would have exceeded the budget 3x.
So I decided to DIY my own long floating shelves and I thought I would share this super simple method for building your own shelving.
DIY Long Floating Shelves
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Floating Shelf Supplies:
How to Make your Own Floating Shelves
Before you start actually building the floating shelves you need to decide what size boards you need and how many.
The wall we built our floating shelves on is 168″ which means we would have needed two 16′ boards for two shelves to run all the way across the wall.
The hassle of figuring out how to transport two 16′ boards was something I didn’t want to take on, instead I bought (4) 8′ boards.
This is also a good time to figure out how thick or thin you want the floating shelves to be.
I like the thick floating shelf look so I went with 2″ but if you prefer thin floating shelves a 1″ board would work great.
Prepping the Floating Shelf Boards
Once you have your measurements figured out and floating shelf boards bought, cut them down to size.
If you are trying to save money with this project you can get the cheaper wood boards like we did, but they do require some sanding.
After I sanded down the floating shelf boards with 120 then 220 grit sandpaper I applied a white wash.
This is the same technique I used for the built-in cabinets countertop and I wanted them to match.
Distance Between Floating Shelves and Countertop
Now that the floating shelves are prepped and ready to be hung it’s time to figure out the hanging measurements.
The distance we chose for the space between the countertop and first shelf is 18″.
Anywhere between 18″ and 24″ is a good space between a floating shelf and countertop though.
Next, I marked the distance I wanted between the floating shelves, I chose 19″ but anywhere between 15″ and 24″ will work fine.
Installing Floating Shelf Brackets
There are a few different ways to hang floating shelves but the easiest by far is to use floating shelf brackets.
These brackets saved us a ton of time and still created the look we wanted.
You can also use concealed brackets but you will have to drill into the shelf and a little more planning and work goes into that.
Once you are ready to instal the brackets, mark the studs using a stud finder.
I marked every other stud which gave us a good amount of spacing in-between the floating shelf brackets.
Half the bracket can be installed directly into the studs and for the other half we used drywall anchors.
The floating shelf brackets we bought came with drywall anchors, but I wish I would have used the anchors I normally use, they are a lot more sturdy.
This was our process for installing the floating shelf brackets:
- Use a level to draw a line 18″ up from the countertop
- Level the bracket on the wall, making sure half the bracket was on a stud
- Use a pencil to mark the center of the four bracket holes
- Remove the bracket and insert the drywall anchors
- Place the bracket back over the anchors and marks (check level again)
- Screw the bracket into the wall
We installed the rest of the brackets the same way, using a long level to check that the new bracket was level with the bracket next to it.
Once we got our system down installing the floating shelf brackets went pretty smoothly.
Attaching the Floating Shelves
After the floating shelf brackets were hung, attaching the shelves was easy!
We slid the shelves onto the brackets and attached them with screws from the bracket into bottom of the shelf.
If your brackets are not 100% perfect don’t panic, you can use small shims level the shelves if you need to.
DIY Floating Shelves Reveal
This DIY floating shelf project took us a day and a half total and the majority of that time was just waiting on the white wash to dry!
I am so happy with how easily and quickly this extra storage project was.
Having all that extra storage space will be a game changer in this classroom and it looks pretty too.
Here is the cost breakdown for these long floating shelves:
Floating Shelf Brackets (12 brackets) $60
Floating Shelf Boards $45
Total Cost of DIY Long Floating Shelves = $105
I am shocked that we were able to build these long floating shelves for just over $100!
That’s officially a wrap on the rainbow storage wall, we have a few other small projects to finish up and then this classroom will be ready for the big reveal.
Let me know what you think about this easy DIY storage project and where you desperately need to add extra storage.
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