Build Simple Floating Wall Shelves

What You'll Need
Hollow core door
Measuring tape
Pencil and stud finder
Electric saw
220 grit sandpaper
Flathead screws
Brad nails and nail gun
Sand paper or sander
Wood glue

Floating wall shelves may be ideal to store small items and light books, but they are not suitable for heavy objects. The floating shelves don’t have visible brackets or supports. The shelves are made up of a supporting strip, typically made of lumber and a piece that you obtain from a hollow core door. To make the shelves more resistant, you should attach the shelves to the studs.

Step 1 -- Establish the Size and Number of Shelves

Establish the size and the number of the shelves you need. Find a wall where these floating shelves will fit.

Step 2 – Locate the Studs

Attaching the shelves on the studs will make them more resistant and able to hold more weight. Locate the studs using a stud finder, which will beep or flash when it is on the studs. If you don’t have a stud finder, knock on your wall and see when the sound is more solid than hollow; this is where your wall studs are. Mark the studs you find so you will be able to establish where to attach the shelves.

Step 3 – Cut the Lumber and Hollow Core Door

Using a saw, cut the hollow core door into the sizes you need for your shelves. You should cut a hollow core door lengthwise.

Cut the lumber, which will be the support for the shelves. Make sure the lumber is completely dry and straight. Measure the empty space between the veneers of the door (length and width), so that you know the size of the lumber pieces you cut.

A table saw may be best for this job, especially if you are inexperienced, as it will give you a cleaner cut. Sand the edges with a 220 grit sandpaper, if needed. You may also have the wood cut for you if you don’t have a saw. Some hardware stores also sell ready cut plywood shelves and lumber supports.

Step 4 – Attach the Lumber to the Wall

Put the lumber piece on the wall, on the position marked when you located the studs. Make sure the piece is at the same height at both ends; use a level for this purpose. Screw the lumber on the wall, directly on the studs. Use flathead screws.

Step 5 – Attach the Shelf

The blank area in pieces of cut hollow core door should fit perfectly over the pieces of lumber. If needed, you may sand the lumber or the door to make the shelves fit. Glue the shelves on to the lumber.

Step 6 - Fasten the Shelf

Using brad nails, fasten the shelf on to the lumber support. Use a brad nail gun to make the job easier. Insert a nail at every 4 inches, or every 2 inches if the shelf is smaller. Insert nails both at the top and the bottom of the shelf.