DIY easy “floating” shelves


  • 1×2 common board

  • wider common board (we used 1×8 and 1×12 for ours, but sizes will vary depending on how deep you want your shelve

For tools, you’re going to want a nail gun, and a saw (we love our miter saw, but you could get away with any saw, really).

Measure and cut your boards to size

The shelf boards are straight cuts that will be cut at the length you want your shelves to be. You’ll need enough to accommodate however many shelves you want to make.

The shelf bracket 1x2s are a little bit trickier.

  1. Cut them to the depth of your shelf,

  2. Measure to the midpoint of your 1×2.

  3. Cut a 45 degree angle on the end from the midpoint.

You’ll need two of these pieces for each shelf.

Bracket piece with 45 degree angle cut from the midpoint.

The last piece you need to cut is another 1×2 that will be the same length as your shelf. This is a finishing piece that will help pull the “floating” look off.

Nail the first bracket in

Now to the fun part! Start by measuring your where you want your bracket to me, check to see that it’s level, and nail it up on the wall.

Slide the shelf board in

No fancy method here. Slide the board in, rest it on top of the bracket that’s already hung, and tap it into place. Make sure it’s level. It’s generally easier to tap it town rather than push it up, so be careful when you’re getting close. Little taps seem to work pretty well to nudge it into place.

Hang the other bracket

Since your shelf is level already, just slide the other bracket in and nail it to the wall. Easy peasy. We also nailed a couple of holes on top of our shelf board just to hold it in place and make sure it’s not going anywhere.

The last step is adding the finishing piece

The is your 1×2 that is cut to the same length as the shelves. Nail it to the front of the shelf so the top is flush with the shelf board. Your 45 degree cuts on the brackets should line up to the lip of the 1×2 front piece.

When you look at it straight on, the shelves almost look like floating shelves. They will be surprisingly sturdy for how few materials were needed, but if you need extra support, putting another 1×2 at the back of the shelf is a great option.

So what do you think of these super simple shelves? Are you scanning your house to see where you can add them? I know I’m trying to squeeze a few more into our home.

This post was written for the  Collected Eclectic blog.

Collected Eclectic was a passion project focused on recording the process as Grace and Michael van Meurer transformed their builder grade home in to something special.

124 blog posts were published between 2018 and 2021. Explore the complete Collected Eclectic archive here

Learn more about the project here

Suggested Reading