Friday, December 21, 2012

Bathroom Floating Shelves

This is not a full tutorial, but a simple overview of how I built 10 ft. of floating corner shelves for empty wall space in my small bathroom.  This project was fairly simple to build, but was tricky to install.

I looked at a few different ways to build and install floating shelves, but I eventually decided to try this design by Ron Hazleton because he provides two videos on his website using this method.  Videos are most helpful to me and my confidence was built when I saw Hazleton and his client sit on a shelf to demonstrate its sturdiness.

The shelves I built certainly are sturdy as they are; I laid the long shelves on top of each other and stood on them and they solidly held me up.  However, I had quite a bit of trouble screwing my shelves into the cleats on the wall while trying to level them.  I'll conduct some simple weight stress tests on them in 2013, as I've learned that even though the shelves are tough, the strength of their connection to the wall determines how strong the shelves are as a floating installation.

Here's my experience:


4 - 1x2x8' $16
3 - 1/2" plywood cut into 8" x 48" strips (Directions say 1/2," but they used 1/4" in the video) $10
11' 2" wide trim molding (Purchased 1 ft. extra, for miter cuts) $9

Pocket hole jig, 1 1/4" pocket hole screws, 2" wood screws, 3" wood screws, wall anchors, level, nails, nail set, wood glue, wood filler, sanding supplies, finishing supplies $15 for wood screws, wood filler, Danish oil in espresso.

The amount I paid is based on pricing in Hawai'i. 

I paid $50 to have these shelves, but also received the satisfaction of creating them and experience building them, which has no price tag for me. :)


1.  Cut 1x2s per your dimensions and allow space for a 1x2 cleat at the back of the shelf, roughly 1" in.  Cut 1x2 vertical inner supports for shelves longer than 2 feet. Secure with nails and wood glue or pocket holes and pocket hole screws.

2.  Cut 1/2" plywood to fit squarely over the frame.  Glue, hammer finish nail into 1x2 vertical supports and use a nail set to counter sink nail heads into wood.  Apply wood filler and sand and repeat process when dry.

 3.  Test fit floating shelves to ensure that they are square and even. Sand or use a block plane to even the shelf edges before finishing.

4.  Mark level lines on wall of choice.  Use painter's tape to help you line up 1x2s.  Test fit shelves on wall and mark on painter's tape where shelves and cleats should be.  Use 3" screws to screw cleats into studs.  Use wall anchors to screw cleats into areas without studs.  Take your time in doing this.  Check and double check measurements before screwing anything in.

5.  Paint, stain, and/or seal shelving before slipping shelves onto cleats and using 2" screws to screw the top of the shelf into the cleat roughly every 8 inches of shelving.

6.  A "finished' shot of the floating shelves in our bathroom.  Once shelves were level and installed, (which took me the longest because I started with screws that were too short) I measured and cut trim with mitered corners, stained, and attached them to the fronts of the shelves with construction adhesive.

Happy shelf building!  I'd love to know what method you used and how it went for you.  :)


  1. Wow, this shelf looks great in the corner :)

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. It was my first wood working project. We'll be revising our bathroom this year. :)


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