It’s been a long time coming, but I FINALLY attacked our kitchen nook and built the floating shelves to finish the space. When we moved in this nook had an upper cabinet in it which we took down along with the rest of the upper cabinets in our kitchen. In that process we also added a range hood which meant our microwave needed a new home. So we decided the nook was the place.
These floating shelves are nothing revolutionary or even innovative. There are lots of tutorials all over the internet for them, but I wanted to do my best to provide step by step instructions and a complete lists of all the materials we used. So here we go!
- 1/4″ Birch Plywood
- 1×2 wood
- 2″ Construction Screws
- 1 1/4″ Construction Screws
- 1 1/2″ Finish Nails
- Drywall Anchors
- Nail Gun
- Wood Filler
- Wood Conditioner
STEP 1: INSTALL THE BACK CLEAT
For the first step you will want to measure the length of your back wall and cut your board to size. Then attach it using 2-3″ wood tapping screws into studs if possible. If you do not have enough studs in the correct. places, use heavy duty drywall anchors.
To place drywall anchors, while holding the board in place, predrill holes, making sure to go through the board and into the drywall. Remove the board, screw drywall anchors into the wall in the drill marks.
For our shelves we used 1×2 boards. These will create a narrow shelf. However, we had three sided support. If you are placing your shelves where there is no way to support them on the sides, you will want to use larger boards to increase the sturdiness.
STEP 2: INSTALL SIDE CLEATS
Measure and cut the side cleats so together with the back cleat they equal the shelf depth you want to achieve.
Using a Kreg Jig, create pocket holes to attach the side cleats to the back cleat. Then using the same process as above, screw the side cleats into the wall.
STEP 3: ADD BRACES
Measure and cut braces so that combined with the back cleat and the front brace they will equal your shelf depth. (In our case we built 18″ shelves, minus 3/4″ for the back cleat, minus 3/4″ for the front brace, leaving us with braces that were 16.5″ long).
Using a Kreg Jig, create pocket holes to attach the braces to the back cleat.
STEP 4: ADD FRONT BRACE
Measure and cut your front brace to fit inside the two side cleats.
Using a Kreg Jig, create pocket holes to attach the brace to the side cleats.
Then screw the front brace into the interior braces using 1.5″ screws. We used our Kreg clamps to hold the interior braces flush with the front brace while securing them together.
STEP 5: ADD TOP, BOTTOM AND SIDE PIECES
Measure and cut plywood to fit your shelf depth and width. One piece for the top, a matching piece for the bottom, and a front face piece that will finish off the shelf. Attach using finish nails with a nail gun. We used 1 1/4″ brad nails.
We used 1/4″ birch plywood for this. Birch plywood has a nicer finish than the cheaper alternatives. If you are building shelves not supported on the sides you may want to use 1/2″ to 3/4″ plywood for strength.
STEP 6: FILL HOLES AND SMOOTH PLYWOOD EDGE
For the front face piece, we ripped our 1/4″ plywood to fit. Plywood has a raw edge, but since ours was so thin we were able to cover the raw edge with wood filler. If you are using thicker plywood for your top and bottom pieces, you may want to use a 1×3″ piece of wood as your front face piece to eliminate an exposed raw edge.
Use wood filler to fill nail holes and smooth raw plywood edge. Then sand to prep for staining.
STEP 7: STAIN
Tape off your shelves to protect the walls, then use wood conditioner to prep your shelves for staining. This is optional, but we find it helps to achieve an even, blotch free stain application.
Apply two coats of stain using a brush or cloth. Remove tape while stain is wet. Allow to dry overnight.