How to Create Rustic Floating Shelves

How to Create Rustic Floating ShelvesAre you looking for an easy, trendy DIY project for your home? Rustic floating shelves are the perfect use of free wall space to give your home a more rustic feel and create some extra shelf space. These hover shelves are so modern but simple, and the perfect way to give your home new shelf life. Not only will you gain a chic, new shelves, but a basic understanding of woodworking you can use for those other DIY projects you've been craving to do.

Supplies Needed

Minwax Gel Stain

Minwax Pre- Stain Wood Conditioner

2in X 8in X 8ft Southern yellow (You can use larger or smaller lumber)

1/2in dowel (36in rod)

(3) 1in wood screw for safety

(6) 3in wood screw to mount wall

Minwax Spay on polyurethane

Spray paint Grip

Optional Supplies:

Mini miter box and saw

Circular Saw

Orbital sander


Drill bit

Speed Square

Tape measure

Stud finder

Material Support Stand

Countersink drill bit set

Dead Blow Mallet

Chest Vest

Drywall Screw Anchor

Step by Step Instructions

Starting materials include:
1 piece of 2" x 8" x 8' piece of pine wood
1 36" oak dowel rod

To begin, use a ruler and pencil to divide and mark your piece of wood into thirds if you are using an actual 8' long segment, this should give you 3 sections roughly 32" in length.

Before you start cutting, use a clamp to place a piece of support under the wood, this will catch your cut pieces.

Set the depth of the circular saw blade so you will not cut the support, your depth should be enough to cut through the piece of wood and barely graze the top of the support.

Now, cut the two lines you've marked, it is helpful to use a speed square to help keep your cuts straight.

Take your dowel, use a tape measure and a pencil to divide and mark it out into 4" segments. This should give you 9 pieces, or 3 for each shelf.

To cut the dowels, place the dowel in a smallholder and use a flush cut reversing backsaw to cut at each mark.

Clamp the three shelves together, so they are pressed together lengthwise and standing on the 2" section.

Then, use a tape measure and a pencil to mark the middle of the shelves and then 2 sections on end, about 2" from each edge of the wood. You can draw a line, so you're marking all three shelves at once. This is where the dowels will go.

Next, on each shelf, mark the center point of each of the three lines.

Now you're going to take a 1/2" drill bit and align one of the dowel pieces with it. Use tape to mark where on the upper part of the drill bit the dowel ends. This will ensure you do not drill too deep within the shelves.

Next drill the center of each marked line, this should give you 9 holes. Remember to drill up until you marked the tape on the drill bit. It is essential to keep the shelves clamped together during this process to ensure that all the holes line up. While the shelves are still clamped, go ahead and sand them.

Now you're going to break out the circular saw again. You can use the ruler that comes with most saws to set it to 1.5", place one of the shelves flat and line up the saw so you will cut the side where you just drilled the holes. With a circular saw be sure to hold on to the side to keep the cut straight.

After the cut, be sure to mark where the pieces align, marking each side with a pencil. Then mark which piece they are (i.e. #1, #2, #3). Repeat for each shelf.

Next, we need to sand down the dowels, because both the dowels and the drill bit were 1/2" meaning the dowels will not fit correctly.

First, stand the dowel up against the cut part of the shelf at the hole. Mark where the dowel would fit into the hole, and you will sand the other part of it, this should be the larger 2/3 of the dowel.

Then place the dowel in the drill and run sandpaper along the side marked for sanding. Don't sand it too much, just enough to slide in and out of the hole easily.

Repeat for all dowels.

Next, use a sander to sand down all sides of all the shelves.

Now line up the cut piece with its shelf, so all holes are aligned. Place a dowel in each hole and use a soft mallet to hammer the dowels all the way in. The dowels should be set into the cut piece, but slide in and out of the shelves.

Repeat for all shelves.

To start giving your shelves their rustic look, first coast each piece with pre-stain conditioner. This ensures the wood will take the stain and it will not appear uneven.

Next, apply the stain by wiping it on with a paper towel an then removing it with a rag.

Finally, add a polyurethane top coat. The spray-on version is most straightforward to apply. It is best to use this 2-3 times, sanding in between each application.

Now you're ready to mount the shelves! Take the cut piece and line it up against the wall you want to install it. Use a stud finder to find where the studs are on the wall, mark this on the shelf and on the wall. If you do not have a stud finder, you can use screw-in wall anchors.

Line up all cut pieces and draw a line to transfer the markings to all sections.

Place cross markings in the center of each line on each piece, then drill about a 1/2" in using a 1/2" spade bit.

You are ready to install! Line up and place the cut shelf piece over the markings you made on the wall, then drill a screw into the wall at each marked area (should be 2-3).

Now insert the rest of the shelf onto the dowel pieces sticking out from the cut shelf.

Next, you want to lock the shelves into place. With the shelf already installed, use the drill to make a hole in the middle underside, about 2" from the edge touching the wall. This hole should fall right where the central dowel is.

Use the drill to put a screw into the hole you just made. One screw in the middle for each shelf should be sufficient.

Repeat for all shelves.

This is an easy DIY woodwork project finished within 1-2 days. This project is relatively straightforward, and the end product will be vintage-style shelves that hover on your wall. These trendy, shelves will give your home the pop you've been longing for. Hang anything from decorations to photos to books and see them hover every time you walk by. Take a rainy day and give this project a try!

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