Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Floating Shelves Tutorial

Do you love the look of floating shelves?
I do!

They are just so darn expensive! Even at IKEA they are more than I am willing to spend.

So I decided to make some myself. I did a bunch of research to find the easiest and cheapest way to do it. I kept coming across one way,
Make them from a Door. Really, a door?!

My parents were in town for Christmas so I decided to use my Dad's help.
He is a cabinet maker after all!

So here we go!

Finished product. I just threw some stuff on it to take the picture.
Next Christmas will be MUCH better!

Empty...Sad ;(

I started with a plain door. I got mine at Home Depot. We decided to go with a 28"inch wide door. It was about $20 bucks. I will be able to get three full length shelves out of one door. Or I can cut them into smaller lengths.
THOUGHT: If you are going to cut smaller shelves you will need to get some decorative molding to cover the open ends of your door. Just glue or tack them on.

Home Depot will not cut doors, we begged but they refused, so we were going to have to do it ourselves. I do not have a table saw so we improvised. We got a 1x4 to use as a straight edge, clamped it down and used the circular saw to make a straight cut. This was a two person job, one to hold the door down and one to make the cut.

Here it is after we cut it. Inside of door and outside of door.
Sorry about the fire extinguisher in the pic. Safety First!

This is my Dad. Love him! We used a chisel to clean up the inside of the door. In these cheap doors the only thing inside is cardboard. It was super easy to break the cardboard out and create a space to slide the brace in. If you don't have a chisel a bread knife would do the same thing.

Here is my Dad pushing the cardboard in to create space. He also scraped away some of the glue that was holding the cardboard in place.

A bit of sanding to clean that cut edge up. Now it is ready for paint. I used a high quality black semi gloss spray paint. I sprayed about three coats to create a glossy finish. Sorry no pics!

These are the braces that the door will slide onto. My Dad cut these on the table saw at his house before he came to Vegas. He made them exactly the same size as the inside of the door, 1 3/16". That way the door slides perfectly onto them. If my Dad had not been able to do it before hand I would have got a 2x2 post and had Home depot cut it down to 1 3/16". Make sense?

This is hard to see but it is showing that we have measured, leveled and pre drilled holes in the walls where we want to attach the brace board. We went into studs only. Better safe than sorry!

Measure, level, draw level line.

We pre sunk our screws, you don't have to. Just make sure your screw is long enough to go through your brace, the dry wall and into the stud. About 2 1/2 or 3" screws. You will need a fully charged drill to do this. It took a lot of strength for my dad to get these screws through so many layers. I suggest you get some man muscle to help you out for this step.

Slide on the shelf. You can add some wood glue if you like. I didn't because we rent and I want to take this shelf with me when we move. Screw some tiny flat head screws to attach the shelf to the bracket.

My shelf is high enough that I am not going to worry so much about covering them.


I can't wait to decorate it for the seasons!

Thanks for the help Dad! Love you!


  1. k i have a question, what is the finished size on these? is it the full length of the door or the width of the door? this is a great idea and I would love to make some but i dont know if they would be too long for my wall. TIA :)

  2. Great idea using a door! They look great! Thanks for linking up!

  3. Gosh.. reminds me of the days when my father in law would come over and do projects ~ I realllly miss those days.
    Great job on the shelf.

  4. Your shelf looks great! Thanks for linking up to Fantabulous Friday!

  5. this concept is great, your end result looks amazing! :)

  6. Oh that is awesome! Can I borrow your dad??
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!


You want to leave a comment?! Thanks! You must have good taste!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.