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How to Install Floating Shelves

Carter Oosterhouse shows how to build and hang functional, beautiful floating shelves.

More in Home Improvement

Step 1: Cut the Plywood

Start off by cutting down six of the 3/4-inch plywood to 36 by 8-inches. (For this project we used formaldehyde free plywood, eliminating the use of toxins usually found in most regular forms of plywood.)

Step 2: Create a Square Frame

Cut down the centerpieces for the shelves. Make a square frame at 34-1/4 by 6-1/4 inches. Set this frame in between the two plywood pieces, 7/8-inch in from each edge. Attach it using 1-1/4 inch brads.

Step 3: Apply the Peel Stick Edge Banding

Apply peel stick edge banding over the edges of the shelf pieces that will be exposed.

Step 4: Take Off the Excess Edges

Use a roller to firmly press the banding down. Once the banding is on, use a trimmer to take off the excess edges and clip the end.

Step 5: Create the First Tier

For the first tier of vertical pieces, cut the plywood to 3 by 14-1/2 inches, then trim it with the framing so the total piece comes to 4 by 15-1/2 inches.

Step 6: Create the Second Tier

For the second tier, cut the plywood to 5 by 20-1/2 inches, then place the framing around to bring the total size to 6 by 16-1/2 inches. Paint the pieces desired color.

Step 7: Attach the Pieces

To attach the pieces, use a rafter's square to make sure everything is aligned. Start with the bottom of the shelf. Place the 6-inch wide vertical pieces 6-inches in from each side of the horizontal piece. Nail together at an angle at the bottom.

Step 8: Place the Pieces

Place the second horizontal beam on top of the two vertical pieces, again nailing to attach. Now, place the two 4-inch wide pieces 12-inches from each end. After attaching them to the second horizontal piece, place the top horizontal piece over the two vertical pieces and nail together.

Step 9: Attach the Shelf to the Wall

To attach the shelf to the wall, make ledgers that fit into the inset space of the top and bottom horizontal pieces. Measure the distance between the two and attach the ledgers the same distance to the wall. Use a laser level to make sure everything's level.

Step 10: Screw the Shelf Into the Ledger

Screw the shelf into the ledger from the top edge and the bottom edge.

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