Build and Install a Floating Shelf

Build and Install a Floating Shelf

One of our awesome community members, Cody C., recently built a beautiful Hard Maple floating shelf unit using our hardwood! Gather the materials and follow these simple instructions to build and install your very own floating shelf.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Wood Glue
  • Mineral Oil
  • 2 Screws
  • 2 Drywall Anchors
  • Table Saw
  • Drill

Step 1: Cut wood to size

2 vertical pieces: 1” x 1.5” x 24”

2 horizontal pieces: 1” x 1.5” x 6”

2 shelves: 1” x 5” x 16”

Step 2: Plane & Sand all wood pieces

To keep your joints square, be sure not to round over the ends of the boards when sanding. Wipe boards off with a tack cloth to remove dust.

Step 3: Cut Dados

On both of the 24 inch pieces, make a pencil mark at 8 inches and 16 inches. The pencil mark will be the center of the 1 inch dado. Cut the dado a little less than 1 inch wide and slowly make it bigger until the shelf slides into it. The dado will be a little less than half way into the board.

If the dado is too wide then the shelf will be slightly wobbly when it’s assembled.

Step 4: Cut Stopped Laps

On both of the short horizontal pieces (1” x 1.5” x 6”), either make a pencil mark at the 1 inch mark (on both sides) or line up the vertical piece and make a pencil mark where it ends (second method would be more accurate). Then cut the lap a little more than half way up.

Be sure to cut inside the pencil mark and slowly make the lap joint wider while testing the fit after each cut so the final joint lines up properly.

Step 5: Drill holes for screws

In one of the vertical pieces (1” x 1.5” x 24”), drill holes for screws in the center of the dados. This will allow the screws to be hidden when the shelf is installed.

Step 6: Dry fit

Use clamps to assemble the 2 vertical pieces to the 2 horizontal pieces and slide the two shelf pieces into the dados.

This step isn’t 100% necessary, but it’s helpful to determine if you need to make any adjustments before glueing up.

Step 7: Glue up

Apply glue to the laps of the short horizontal pieces and assemble the shelf. Use clamps to hold it together until the glue dries.

Step 8: Apply Finish

Mineral oil was used to finish this project, but feel free to use the finish of your choice.

Step 9: Install shelf

Since the shelf wasn’t going to hit a stud I used drywall anchors to attach it to the wall. I also used screws with a flat top so they wouldn’t interfere when the shelf pieces were slid into the dados.

To follow along Cody's woodworking journey, check our her Instagram page

1 comment

  • Barry Hauck

    My first time making dados. I cut them a little too deep, end product looks great.

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