How to Construct Suspended Shelves

Suspended shelves are a simple yet smart idea for your home. The shelves are attached to the wall in such a way that the support brackets are not visible. This makes them appear to float against the wall. They make a great display area in a room. Below is a guide to enable you to build the shelves.

Materials Needed

  • Hollow-core door, 18 inch width
  • 2 by 4 board
  • Painter’s tape
  • 4 foot level
  • Sawhorses
  • Straight edge
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Table saw
  • Electric drill, with ¼ inch and 1/8 inch drill bits
  • Lag screws, ¼ inch by 3 ½ inch
  • Wrench
  • Bread knife
  • Block plane
  • Paintbrush
  • Carpenter’s glue
  • Hammer
  • Brad nails, 1 inch

Step 1 – Locate Studs

Decide where you want your shelves installed. Slide your stud finder across the wall to locate the studs. Run painter’s tape along each stud located.

Step 2 – Mark Location of Shelves

Use a 4 foot level to trace 2 lines across the studs for both shelves. Allow 1 ½ feet in between the lines.

Step 3 – Cut the Shelves               

Place the door on 2 sawhorses. Mark the center position along the width. Clamp a straight edge on the door to allow you to make a smooth cut with a circular saw.

Step 4 – Cut Cleats

Measure the gap between the outer veneers of the door and the distance, lengthwise, along the cut edge of the door. Use a table saw to cut 2 cleats from the 2 by 4 board.

Step 5 – Predrill Holes into Cleats

Hold a cleat against the bottom line on the wall. Mark the position of studs along the length of the cleat. Do the same for the other cleat, against the top line. Mark each cleat to be sure of the line it will occupy. Place the cleats on a flat site. Drill holes through each of the marked points with a ¼ inch drill bit.

Step 6 – Attach Cleats to Studs

Remove the ¼ drill bit and replace with 1/8 inch bit. Place a cleat along its respective line and drill into the studs. Drive lag screws, ¼ inch by 3 ½ inches, through the cleat into the studs and tighten with a wrench. Do the same for the other cleat. Remove the painter’s tape.

Step 7 – Clear the Inside of the Door

Use a bread knife to remove the corrugated cardboard and adhesive from inside the door. Remove at least 2 inches inwards from the door edge.

Step 8 – Fit the Shelf

Take the bottom shelf and fit the open part over the bottom cleat. Fit the other shelf over the top cleat. If the shelves fail to fit, use a block plane to clear some material to allow a tight fit.

Step 9 – Attach Shelves

Use a thin paintbrush to apply glue along the inside lower edge of the bottom shelf. Apply glue on the top of the bottom cleat as well. Slide the shelf onto the cleat. Attach the top shelf in the same way.

Step 10 – Nailing

Begin at the center and work towards one end, then another. Drive in 1-inch brad nails from the top of the shelf, through the cleat, at intervals of 8 inches. Do the same for the top shelf.