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20 DIY Floating Shelf Plans You Can Build Today

Last Updated on August 8, 2020

Floating Shelf Plans

Floating shelves are an elegant and stylish way to store some of your items and make them look fashionable. But just because it looks good doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. In fact, if you have just a little bit of DIY know-how and enthusiasm, you could easily build some floating shelves for yourself.

If you’re not intimidated by the idea of making a little sawdust while creating your very own floating shelf, then the following 20 DIY floating shelf plans will show the steps you need to take to get there. Pick one and get started. Before you know it, you’ll be taking a new fashionable Instagram pic of your own to show off your chic new floating shelves that you personally hand made.

1. DIY Floating Shelves by Sawdust Sisters

1. DIY Floating Shelves by Sawdust Sisters

These Free DIY Floating Shelf Plans by Sawdust Sisters will help you build a heavy-duty set of floating shelves for a very low cost. They have a rustic look if left unpainted, or a more modern look if you opt to paint them once they’re finished.

These shelves aren’t terribly difficult to build, but you’re going to need to know your way around several power tools, including drills, saws, and a nail gun.

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Build: 1-3 hours

Tools Needed: Miter Saw, Pocket Hole Jig, Wood Glue, Pocket Hole Screws, Wood Screws, Drill/Driver, Brad Nailer with 1¼” brad nails, Level, Stud Finder, Wood Stain


2. Simple Floating Shelf by Rogue Engineer

2. Simple Floating Shelf by Rogue Engineer

These free plans for a Simple Floating Shelf come from the Rogue Engineer. They’re relatively simple, though the end result looks awesome. They have a rustic look with accentuated wood grain.

You’ll need a miter saw to finish this project, but only minimal skills or experience are necessary. It’s a great project for beginners to take on because it’s very simple and short.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Pocket Hole Jig, Drillm, Miter Saw, Stud Finder, Tape Measure, Pencil, Safety Glasses, Hearing Protection


3. The Best Floating Shelves by Ana White

3. The Best Floating Shelves by Ana White

A lot of these projects require a pocket hole jig, which is a small, specialized tool for drilling holes to join wood together. But the Best Floating Shelves by Ana White don’t require you to have any specialized equipment. You’ll need a drill and brad nailer, but no pocket jig.

These shelves are simple and solid. They’re easy to install and quick to build. Plus, they look great when painted, so they can be painted to match any colors you currently have in your home.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 2-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Tape Measure, Pencil, Safety Glasses, Ear Protection, Drill, Circular Saw, Brad Nailer, Sander, Level


4. DIY Wood Floating Shelf by DIY Projects With Pete

4. DIY Wood Floating Shelf by DIY Projects With Pete

One major reason to build your own floating shelves is to avoid the expensive cost of purchasing pre-built shelves. Well, if you build this DIY Wood Floating Shelf by DIY Projects With Pete, you’ll be able to build some high-quality shelves for less than $10 that look like they’re from a designer brand.

For the shelf, you’ll need a 2X4 and some cedar pickets, that’s it. It’s a very simple project that can be completed in an hour by someone with just a little DIY experience and a few tools.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-2 Hours

Tools Needed: Circular Saw or Miter Saw, Table Saw, Drill, Kreg Jig, Orbital Sander, Nail Gun, Tape Measure, Straight Edge, Pencil, Ear and Eye Protection


5. Easy DIY Floating Shelves, No Bracket by DIY Creators

These Easy DIY Floating Shelves with No Bracket by DIY Creators are thinner than many of the other shelves on this list, but they also have one of the most elegant finished looks. They’re made from some simple 2X8 lumber with a few dowel rods. The finished product is stained to give it the elegant appearance.

This project only requires a few basic power tools. However, it is a bit more in-depth than some of the other projects. Because the shelves are stained, it also has longer drying times. That said you could opt to leave off the staining step and mount your shelves right away as raw wood. But basic 2X lumber isn’t the most attractive, so you may think twice before doing so!

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Build: 2 days because of drying time

Tools Needed: Mini Miter Box and Saw, Circular Saw, Orbital Sander, Level, Drill and bit, Speed Square, Tape Measure, Stud Finder, Countersink Drill Bit, Dead Blow Mallet, Drywall Screw Anchor (for mounting)


6. Long Wood Floating Shelf by Apartment Therapy

6. Long Wood Floating Shelf by Apartment Therapy

If you want to build a floating shelf but you need it to cover a long distance without sagging, then check out the Long Wood Floating Shelf by Apartment Therapy. It’s made from some common boards that you can easily find at your local home improvement store for a low cost.

The final product has a rustic look, but you can make it turn out however you like by changing the stain you use. These plans build a long, sturdy, and simple shelf, and the only specialty tool you’ll need is a pocket hole jig.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Pocket Hole Jig, Drill, Miter Saw, Stud Finder, Tape Measure, Pencil


7. DIY Floating Shelves by The Home Depot Blog

7. DIY Floating Shelves by The Home Depot Blog

Once painted, you can’t even tell that these DIY Floating Shelves by The Home Depot Blog were homemade and not purchased from a big box store. They’re simple shelves that can easily be altered to any size.

These plans are simple and quick to build, though they’ll take two days because you’ll have to wait for the wood glue to dry. They’re still a great choice for beginners since the instructions are very thorough and easy to follow.

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Build: 2 Days Due to Drying Time

Tools Needed: Circular Saw, Clamps, Screwdriver, Drill, Brad Nailer, Level, Stud Finder, Paint Brush, Painter’s Tape, Wood Glue


8. DIY Floating Shelves by Simply Designing

8. DIY Floating Shelves by Simply Designing

With a sleek modern-rustic appearance that will fit with nearly any decor, these DIY Floating Shelves by Simply Designing are an easy project with an awesome outcome.

These shelves are essentially built in place, instead of being built and then mounted like other similar DIY floating shelves. This might make it easier for some, especially if you’re building in a tight space between two walls.

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Complete: 1-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Drill/Driver, Kreg Jig, Electric Sander, Compound Miter Saw, Table Saw, Brad Nailer, Level, Stud Finder, Tape Measure


9. How to Build a Floating Shelf by Family Handyman

9. How to Build a Floating Shelf by Family Handyman

Do you love to repurpose old materials and give them new life as something useful once more? If so, then you’ll want to learn How to Build a Floating Shelf by the Family Handyman. These shelves are built out of an old hollow core dore and a 2×4, that’s it. They’re dead simple and they make good use of an old door that was probably about to help fill up a landfill.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Circular Saw, Glue, Hammer, Level, Socket/Ratchet Set, Straight Edge, Stud Finder, Table Saw, Tape Measure, Wood Chisel


10. Easy DIY Floating Shelves by Shanty 2 Chic

10. Easy DIY Floating Shelves by Shanty 2 Chic

Shanty 2 Chic shows you how to build a set of inexpensive but excellent looking Easy DIY Floating Shelves. These shelves are made from 1X4, 2X3, and some plywood, all easy to find at your local home improvement or hardware store.

If you make them the same size as the author of the plans, you’ll be able to make three floating shelves for under $50. You’ll never find a deal like that at Ikea!

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Build: 2-4 Hours

Tools Needed: Brad Nailer, Kreg Jig, Pocket Hole Screws, Wood Screws, Wood Glue


11. Build a Floating Shelf for Less Than $10 by Man Made DIY

11. Build a Floating Shelf for Less Than $10 by Man Made DIY

If going the DIY route for your floating shelves isn’t already cheap enough, then you may like these plans to Build a Floating Shelf For Less Than $10 by Man Made DIY. A 2X4 is used to build the frame and a piece of 1X10 makes up the panels. It looks surprisingly good for such a cheap shelf and you’d never guess that it cost so little.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-2 Hours

Tools Needed: Wood Glue, Drill/Driver, Sander, Nail Gun, Clamps, Level, Table Saw or Circular Saw, Miter Saw or Circular Saw, Pocket Hole Kreg Jig


12. DIY Floating Shelves by Real Simple

12. DIY Floating Shelves by Real Simple

These beautiful but simple DIY Floating Shelves from Real Simple are made from a single piece of 2X10 wood. It’s hard to get much simpler than that. You’ll need a few tools to prepare that piece of wood for mounting though. What’s great about this shelf is how easily you can change it to fit the decor in your home by simply using a different stain when it’s time to finish the shelves.

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Complete: 2 days due to drying times

Tools Needed: Miter Saw or Circular Saw, Hand or Bench Router and Dado Bit, Drill Bits, Sandpaper, Stain or Paint, Polyurethane (Optional), Paintbrush, Invisible Support Brackets, Pencil, Drill, Level


13. Quick, Easy, and Cheap DIY Floating Shelves by Southern Revivals

13. Quick, Easy, and Cheap DIY Floating Shelves by Southern Revivals

These Quick, Easy, and Cheap DIY Floating Shelves by Southern Revivals are everything that you’d hope from a DIY floating shelf project. That is, their quick, easy, and cheap to build, but they still look great! The hallmark of a good DIY project is that other people won’t know it’s DIY, and these shelves look so good that others will never guess you made them yourself!

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Drill, Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System, Saw, Sandpaper, Stain, Sealer


14. How to Build Floating Shelves by Popular Mechanics

14. How to Build Floating Shelves by Popular Mechanics

If you’re looking for simple to build DIY floating shelves that look professional, then let Popular Mechanics show you How to Build Floating Shelves. The only materials you’ll need are a 2X4 and some plywood with a couple of dowels. It’s a dead-simple design, but the instructions aren’t as thorough as some of the others we’ve suggested.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Drill/Driver. Saw, Tape Measure, Pencil, Brad Nailer


15. How to Build Seamless Floating Shelves by Woodshop Diaries

15. How to Build Seamless Floating Shelves by Woodshop Diaries

These Seamless Floating Shelves by Woodshop Diaries look like they’re made from a single large piece of lumber. In truth, they’re lightweight hollow boxes that are made to look like solid pieces of wood! But it’s not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, you can make some just like this! They’re very easy to build and require minimal materials.

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Build: 2-4 Hours

Tools Needed: Drill, Miter Saw, Table Saw, Nail Gun, Orbital Sander, Wood Glue, Brad Nailer, Clamps, Wood Putty


16. DIY Floating Shelves by Living to DIY with Rachel Metz

Many of the floating shelf plans on this list are for shorter shelves that don’t span a large distance. But if you have a much bigger area that you want some floating shelves to reach across, then you might check out these DIY Floating Shelves by Living to DIY with Rachel Metz.

These shelves are framed out of 2X4s and covered with thin plywood. You can find this wood anywhere locally, as well as the few tools that you’ll need to complete the project.

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Build: 2 days due to drying time

Tools Needed: Speed Square, Stud Finder, Wood Glue, Measuring Tape, Wood Putty, Drill/Driver, Nail Gun, Drill Bits, Saw


17. DIY Floating Shelf Project Tutorial by House One

With $20 and just three hours of your time, you could build this DIY Floating Shelf from House One. It’s a simple shelf that looks good anywhere. It can be painted any color you choose, though the example shelf was painted white. If you don’t have a pocket kreg jig, then this is the project for you since it’s one of the few floating shelf designs that doesn’t require a kreg jig to build.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: Under 3 Hours

Tools Needed: Drill/Driver, Orbital Sander, Miter Saw, Wood Glue, Tape Measure, Pencil


18. Firewood Floating Shelves by Fix This Build That

18. Firewood Floating Shelves by Fix This Build That

If you like rustic looking furniture and repurposed materials living a second life, then you’ll love these Firewood Floating Shelves by Fix This Build That. As the name suggests, they’re built from an old piece of firewood that was repurposed as an elegant way to hold some decorative pieces.

The final result of this project is unique and elegant. Each one will look special since they’re made from natural woods. Of course, you may have to go on a few hikes to find some eligible wood pieces!

Project Difficulty: Advanced

Time to Build: 2-4 Hours

Tools Needed: Bandsaw, Jointer, Planer, Sander, Drill/Driver, Forstner Bits, Spade Bits, Drill Bits


19. Easiest DIY Floating Shelves by Bitter Root DIY

19. Easiest DIY Floating Shelves by Bitter Root DIY

Short and simple, the Easiest DIY Floating Shelves by Bitter Root DIY can be built out of just a few pieces of lumber ripped down on a table saw. While they are very simple plans, we don’t think they’re quite the easiest ones out there! Still, the end result looks great and they can be easily assembled in a few hours with just a little bit of DIY know-how.

Project Difficulty: Intermediate

Time to Build: 1-3 Hours

Tools Needed: Miter Saw, Brad Nailer, Orbital Sander, Tape Measure, Clamps, Wood Glue, Level, Speed Square, Pencil, Safety Glasses, Ear Protection


20. Fast, Easy, and Cheap DIY Floating Shelf by The Wonder Forest Blog

20. Fast, Easy, and Cheap DIY Floating Shelf by The Wonder Forest Blog

This Fast, Easy, and Cheap DIY Floating Shelf by The Wonder Forest Blog can be built in an afternoon for a minimal investment. You’ll be surprised at just how attractive of a shelf you can build for just a few bucks! If you don’t have many tools to work with, this is the floating shelf project to choose. You’ll only need a couple of very basic tools to complete it, so it’s definitely beginner-friendly.

Project Difficulty: Easy

Time to Build: 1-2 Hours

Tools Needed: Drill with Bit, Wood Screws


Featured image credit: KathrinPie, Pixabay

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!