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Easy DIY Floating Shelf with Brackets

Easy DIY floating shelf with brackets on wall

On the main wall in our living room, we added an easy DIY floating shelf with brackets. It was one of my favorite projects in our modern rustic living room makeover and is a major focal point in the room! This project was super easy and you only need one piece of wood and a set of brackets!

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In the past I’ve made a DIY floating shelf with no brackets for my office makeover. But this time I wanted to keep things more simple and use hidden, heavy duty steel brackets.

The advantages to using these steel brackets were that I could use them with solid wood (that’s 1.5″ thick) and they were easy to install and they are easy to remove (if needed in the future). Also, I love that they are hidden which provides a more modern floating shelf look!

Note, these brackets are about 1/8″ wider than a 2×8 (which is 1.5″ wide). However, once hung on the wall it’s really hard to tell unless you get up close. I decided to go with them because they are heavy duty and I only needed to buy two of them to support my longer shelf with heavier items. But, there are other floating shelf brackets available that are less wide if you prefer!

Update: After making shelves again for our new home, I would recommend better quality wall anchors than what comes with the brackets. Further, for really heavy and wider shelves (closer to 12″ wide), I would only use these brackets if you can secure them to the wall studs instead of drywall.

How to Make an Easy DIY floating shelf with brackets

Materials:

Tools:

*Update: Originally, I used a 7/8″ drill bit which works, but after making these again, I used a 13/16″ drill bit instead which is just 1/16″ bigger than the 3/4″ bracket rod.

1.  Cut wood to size

First, determine how long your floating shelf needs to be. I made my floating shelf 55″ long so it was about 2/3 the size of our couch since I was installing it over the couch. If you need to make it longer than that you may need to get more than one set of brackets.

Use a miter saw and cut your 2×8 to size. Or have your home improvement store make the cut for you.

 

2.  Sand and stain floating shelf

At this point I found it was easiest to go ahead and sand and stain my floating shelf. I used Provincial by Minwax for my stain color. I skipped the top coat since I wanted a very matte look and didn’t need a sealant since the shelf is just for decor.

 

3.  Hang brackets on the wall

First use a studfinder and determine where the wall studs are where you want to hang your floating shelf. Your brackets will need to be spread out enough to distribute the weight of your shelf.

Ideally you really want to hang the brackets on the wall studs. However, if the studs don’t fall where you need the brackets to be then you will need to drill into drywall and use  heavy duty anchors with the brackets. We ended up having to drill into drywall.

Hold the first bracket up to wall where you want to install it. Make sure the bracket is level, then mark the holes with a pencil.

Holding a level on floating shelf bracket

marking holes for steel bracket screws on wall

Drill pilot holes over the pencil marks. Then, tap the wall anchors into the holes with a hammer.

drilling pilot holes on wall for floating shelf brackets

tapping the wall anchors into the holes with a hammer

Next, install the bracket using the provided screws and drilling them into the wall anchors.

installing the first bracket using screws and drilling them into the wall anchors

After installing the first floating shelf bracket, hold the second bracket up to wall where you want to install it. Make sure the bracket is level with the first bracket, then mark the holes with a pencil and repeat the same steps used above for installing the first bracket.

two heavy duty steel floating shelf brackets hung on the wall

 

4.  Drill bracket holes in DIY floating shelf

Place your floating shelf on top of the wall brackets exactly how you want it to be once installed. Mark with a pencil the center point over the bracket. Then, mark the center point of this location on the shelf edge where the holes will be drilled.

Marking floating shelf where bracket centerpoint is located

You want to drill your bracket holes about 6″ – 6 1/4″ deep to properly fit the brackets. Drill the bracket hole with the 13/16″ drill bit and use a tape measure to enure it’s at least 6 inches deep.

Update: Originally, I used a 7/8″ drill bit which works, but after making these again, I used a 13/16″ drill bit instead which is just 1/16″ bigger than the 3/4″ bracket rod.

drilling hole for floating shelf bracket

drilling hole for floating shelf bracket

drilling hole for floating shelf bracket

 

5.  Install easy DIY floating shelf on wall

Carefully slide the floating shelf onto the wall brackets. And that’s it! Now it’s time to decorate it and enjoy!

easy DIY floating shelf with two holes before installing on wall

Instaling easy DIY floating shelf on wall brackets

I love how our floating shelf looks over the couch in our living room! It’s so fun to decorate with the changing seasons!

Easy DIY floating shelf made out of solid wood

I couldn’t decide if I preferred decorating the floating shelf with pink azaleas or white hydrangeas! Which do you like better?!

Easy DIY floating shelf with brackets

Easy DIY floating shelf with hydrangeas in two vases

Hope this easy DIY floating shelf with brackets tutorial has been helpful! Follow along on my latest projects and sneak peaks on Instagram and Pinterest!

 

 

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KaSandra

Wednesday 25th of March 2020

I have a question do you think it would hold for kitchen shelves? I love the way yours turned out!

Angela Marie Made

Thursday 26th of March 2020

Thank you! So I want to update what I said last week. We were going to use these for our kitchen floating shelves but our wood was really heavy (2" thick white oak), I could barely lift it. We were unable to get the brackets into all studs because there was only 1 stud where we wanted to hang the shelves. Unfortunately, without getting both brackets into the studs, it just wasn't enough support, even with using heavy duty toggle bolts for drywall. So, I would only recommend them for really heavy shelves, like the kitchen shelves, if you can get them into studs only, not drywall.

Bob

Monday 2nd of December 2019

A shelf that heavy should only ever have brackets bolted onto studs; wall anchors into drywall won't be enough.

Angela Marie Made

Wednesday 4th of December 2019

We made sure to use the heavy duty anchors that came with the shelf which had a max weight of 110 lbs. There are other heavy duty drywall anchors that can be purchased as well.

marvin

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Hi Heather - You might for local sawmills. Wood may be fresh cut or dried and will be much cheaper than the big box stores. The only lumber I buy from them is plywood.

Heather

Sunday 28th of July 2019

Hi Angela - I am in the process of buying the materials for this project and have a question. I was at Home Depot and the weight of the wood was heavy. Is there a specific wood type you used? I'm assuming there was no issues with the weight of the wood and items? I was a little concerned that it might not hold but it looks like you had no issues. Thanks!

Angela Marie Made

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

I used the 2x8 pine from the framing lumber department which is heavier. I didn't have any issues with the weight of the wood and items on it because the brackets I used could support up to 100lbs which was more than enough for what I had on it and the wood itself. If you do want to use a lighter wood, I would recommend using cedar wood because it is much more light weight. But, you may need to get it from a lumber yard if you want to buy 2x8 cedar wood since Home Depot and Lowes usually only carry 1x8 cedar.

Marvin's Tiny Wood Shop

Thursday 18th of July 2019

Hi again - I should have said I use the FREE pine stickers I get at Lowes for the supports on the floating shelves. Lowes has a huge supply of the FREE stickers. I buy lumber from small local saw mills.

Lauren

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

Where did you get the vases and flowers from? Thanks!!

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