How to make DIY floating shelves

We’ve had a giant bookshelf in our daughter’s room for a while which we thought was a great thing – we love books so why not have tons of options all the time?

The biggest issue we’ve found with this, is that with the bookshelf crammed, we wound up reading the same books over and over again, and not picking up something new. Turns out, kids are easily overwhelmed, just like adults.

You know the feeling – you walk into a room that’s cluttered, crap everywhere and you just go “ugh” and walk away? Same concept.

So, what we are implementing moving forward, is a smaller space to hold LESS books at a time and we’ll rotate the books out weekly. This way it’s easier to see the choices we have and will be more likely to read different books.

I hit up Pinterest and found this tutorial. I was looking for something pretty, simple to do and basic enough to use up some of the wood I have in the garage (wood prices are outrageous right now).

Materials Used:

  • 1×6
  • 1×4
  • 1×3
  • Wood Glue – Titebond Premium
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Miter saw
  • Clamps
  • Power Sander
  • Wood Stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Brush & a rag

I measured out my boards to 36″ and made all the cuts at once. Then I took my sander and smoothed out a lot of the roughness of the boards.

I laid the back piece on top of two chairs and ran a bead of glue along the bottom edge where I was going to attach the bottom of the shelf. I laid the bottom of the shelf on the bead of glue, then ran glue along that piece to attach the front of the shelf too. Once the pieces are glued/laid out, I clamped them down (gently) and then secured them with 1 1/4 nails. (A Brad nailer would have made this process faster, but ours ate shit a while back so good ol’ hammer and nails it is).

Set them up to dry and waited 24 hours.

Just kidding. I’m too impatient to wait the entire 24 hours. I took the clamps off and applied the first coat of stain. After I let it dry, it wasn’t quite the color I was after so I switched to a Red Mahogany for the second coat.

After I let the stain dry for about 8 hours, I added the first coat of Polyurethane with a brush. Let that dry – I sanded lightly with a 240 grit piece of sandpaper. Then I cleaned the shelves to make sure all the dust was off before applying the second coat of Polyurethane.

After letting the shelves dry for about 6 hours, they were ready to go up in Charlotte’s room. We screwed through the shelves directly into the studs in the wall to make sure they’re secured well.

Here’s the before & after!

Uninviting, stressful, hard to pick through
Easy to see what we have and inviting!

We hung the shelves about 14″ apart to allow for some large books on the bottom shelf – they’re pretty low to the ground as well so the kids can reach them easily.

We’re hoping this will prove to be more manageable & inviting for our kids (and ourselves) to peruse through when we sit down to read.