These floating picture shelves are super simple to make and literally cost $150 or more at other stores that rhyme with “smottery smarn”.
You can make these floating shelves yourself for under $20, and they will look just as good!
Not only are these shelves very inexpensive to make, they are very easy to put together.
As a matter of fact, we made 6 different sets of shelves to give to family and friends as gifts.
Everyone that we gave these floating shelves to, really loved them.
If you need a quick, easy, and affordable gift idea, these floating picture shelves are it!
Bringing these shelves as a gift to a house warming party, will blow your friends and family away.
They’ll notice that you put the time and effort in to make something for their new home.
Our friends actually surprised us with a rustic console table when we bought our first home.
This console table means so much to us because we knew a lot of time and thought went into making such a beautiful and sturdy table.
Shopping list/Cut list
- 1 – 1×4 common board @ 8 feet (cut in half 2 – 4 foot 1×4 pieces)
- 1 – 1×3 common board @ 8 feet (cut in half 2 – 4 foot 1×3 pieces)
- 1 – 1×2 common board @ 8 feet (cut in half 2 – 4 foot 1×2 pieces)
Purchasing the Wood
When I say common board, it can be any type of wood you want to display. I usually choose pine, which is a softer wood, but cheaper.
If you’re new to wood working, a 1×4 or 1×3 or 1×2 is not truly 1 inch by 4 inches or 1 inch by 3 inches, etc. The “true” size of a 1×4, as an example, will actually be closer to .75 inches by 3 ½ inches.
Once you have your 8 foot pieces cut in half, the boards will be put together with wood glue and nails.
The 1×4 will be the back piece that attaches to the wall.
The 1×3 will be the shelf, and the 1×2 will be the front lip of the shelf.
To put it together I used a 16-gauge nail gun with brad nails.
The nail gun made putting the shelves together a breeze and I would strongly recommend a nail gun.
If you do not have a nail gun, these shelves can be also be put together using basic finish nails.
Start by laying the 1×3 on the floor, with the 1 inch part on the ground, as you prepare to attach the 1×2 to it.
Next, put the wood glue on the edge of the 1×3 then put the 1×2 on top of it.
Make sure to realign it as you go, so that the bottom is as flush as possible.
I started on one end with the nail gun and worked my way down, ending with about 6 or 8 nails in it.
After the 1×2 is attached to the 1×3, I flipped it over and then did the same thing with the 1×4 on the other side.
I wiped up any excess glue then waited for it to dry before staining or painting.
How to Stain the Shelves
To stain I started by sanding then used an old t-shirt and Varathane Stain and Poly in Kona Semi-Gloss.
This Varathane Stain and Poly already had a clear coat built into the stain, so no need to apply a clear topcoat.
Sand the entire shelf with a light to medium grit sandpaper.
If you start with a medium grit sandpaper, you will want to finish with a finer sandpaper to smooth the surface.
I decided to use medium grit sandpaper because there were miscellaneous grooves and splintering in the wood.
You do not have to sand this a ton, just enough to smooth the surface.
Next take a rag and wipe down the shelves and table to make sure all the sand on the table has been removed.
Now that the table has been wiped clean, you can begin staining.
Grab an old t-shirt or a brush and apply a thin coat of stain in the same direction of the grain of the wood.
Let the stain sit for a few seconds then lightly wipe the stain with a t-shirt or rag.
Since the stain is oil based it has a strong odor.
So, make sure you wear a mask, work in a ventilated area, and wear gloves.
Also, do not forget to place a drop cloth under your work space to prevent any dripping.
Apply as many coats as you need to achieve the color you prefer.
Wait at least an hour in between coats, so the stain applies evenly.
Once you have achieved the look you are going for, you are done with the staining.
Again, the Varathane Stain and Poly already had a clear coat built into the stain, so no need to apply a clear topcoat.
Hanging it Up
To adhere these floating picture shelves to the wall, I used 2 ½ inch dry wall screws, a stud finder, and level as well.
Given that these shelves are 4 feet long, I was able to attach this shelf to 3 studs.
Start by finding the location where you want to hang the shelves, then find 3 studs that span that area.
I pre-drilled a hole right through the shelf and into the center stud and then screwed in the dry wall screw.
From that point, I was able to adjust it to make it level then drill in the other screws.
Add black and white pictures to the floating picture shelves to create a timeless, classy look.
Easy step by step directions to install a modern painted accent wall for any space in your home. This modern accent wall can be customized to fit into a small or large space, and will instantly update your bedroom, nursery, bathroom, or living room.
I can browse the bathmat isle for at least 20 minutes at Home Goods trying to carefully select the correct mat. I have a lot to consider in this isle and my husband doesn’t understand the thought process that goes into selecting such a simple item.
Sign up here to learn more about some of the basic paint types and their usage. I give you some tips and tricks as well as some things to avoid. Do not make some of these mistakes or you will end up repainting!
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