How We Built a Floating Shelf

DIY floating shelf

When I first imagined making a floating shelf for our kitchen, I thought, Oh, this is going to be so easy! Why haven’t I done this before? Of course, once I began the project, it ended up being more intimidating than I had thought, so when my dad offered to take over this project, I enthusiastically said yes, please! A number of people on Instagram have asked about the process we used, so I thought I would share the details here. There are ways this can be done which would be more accessible to the average DIYer, but my dad is a retired manufacturing engineer with loads of fancy tools and skills, so fair warning: This process is probably more complex than what the majority of DIYers are able to do on their own.

Step One: Make the Shelf

I edge-glued pieces of 2×6 poplar boards to create the body of my shelf, then sanded, primed, wet sanded, and painted the shelf. If you want to stain your wood rather than paint, I would not recommend poplar as a wood species because of its uneven coloring. But it’s a great wood for painting! The reason I chose poplar over pine is because of its density. Pine is soft and easily dents, not to mention is typically full of knots and seeping tree sap. If you don’t want to shell out money for wood that will just be painted, you could try your hand at building the shelf with inexpensive pine or composite wood on the inside and then cover it with 1/4″ birch plywood on the top, bottom, and front edge. It would be more labor intensive to build a shelf this way, but less expensive. Keep in mind, however, that wood composites like particle board are typically heavier than a material like pine or poplar, so you’ll need to factor in the extra load when you decide how you’ll mount the shelf to your wall.

DIY floating shelf

Step Two: Router out space on the back of your shelf to inset your mounting hardware.

This is where things got a bit complicated for my skill level. It would’ve been a great learning opportunity if I didn’t have one million other projects to do in our home! The way you router out the back of your board will depend on what mounting hardware to use. Initially I thought I would just need to router or chisel out small rectangular sections for the individual blind shelf supports I had purchased on Amazon. But my dad had the idea to connect each of the rods to one long piece of steel.

DIY floating shelf

Why did we use one long piece of steel rather than individual pieces? Because our shelf could support more weight, and also because my dad knew where to source inexpensive pieces of cold rolled steel in the width we needed and he also has the tools to thread the holes where the rods I purchased on Amazon could be screwed into place. We were able to use 5 rods to support the shelf that was mounted where there were only two studs in the wall. This meant the steel was sturdily mounted to two studs, but it held 5 linked brackets rather than only one individual bracket per stud. We could have mounted individual brackets where there were no studs by using toggle bolts, but my dad seemed to think this was a better idea because all of the rods would for sure be in a perfect line and be perfectly spaced to match the holes in the shelf. A bonus of using the steel plate is that after you’ve threaded the holes for where you’ll attach the metal rods, the steel plate makes the perfect jig to match up where your holes should be drilled into the shelf!

drilling into tile

Step Three: Mount your Shelf to the Wall

One of the most nerve wracking aspects of this job, for me, was drilling into tile. Basically because I’ve never done it before, and I know how brittle the tile is because I installed the tile myself, and had to throw away a lot of chipped pieces! So I felt a little silly when I learned how simple it is. You just need a glass and tile drill bit, and lubricate it periodically during the drilling of each hole. We just had a cup of water to dip the drill in every few seconds. Easy peasy!

DIY floating shelf

After mounting the steel bracket, we used a level to make sure the rods were level, which they weren’t, probably because of choosing to mount the bracket right along the grout line. So we used feeler stock as shims behind the bottom of the steel plate to lift up the rods a bit. You can’t use wood shims in this instance because the wood is too soft and can’t stand up to the weight and pressure behind the steel.

DIY floating shelf

DIY floating shelf

Step Four: Slide the Shelf onto the Mounting Hardware

This part is also nerve-wracking, because if your holes are perfectly matching the rods, this is a no-go scenario. Thankfully my dad is as much of a perfectionist as myself (probably moreso, actually), so they were a perfect match! He used a wax candle to lubricate the rods, making it much easier to slide the shelf into place.

Floating kitchen shelf

The shelves are super sturdy, and I don’t feel limited as to how much weight I can put on it, thanks to Dad’s steel plate idea! You can also buy welded steel plate and rod brackets on Etsy and other places, if you’re not comfortable sourcing parts to make this yourself. It will be more expensive, but considering the labor involved, I’d say it’s worth it!

I’m so glad I decided to create a floating shelf rather than using shelf brackets in this kitchen, because it allows the modern tiled wall to stand out and become a predominant element in my moderately minimal kitchen design.

modern farmhouse kitchen

If you all have any questions about the shelves, my dad and I are happy to answer them in the comments below! Thanks as always for following along. It’s much more fun being about to share these home renovations with you guys.

Product Sources

Blind shelf supports: Amazon
Feeler stock / steel shims: Amazon
Wall paint: Benjamin Moore’s Super White
Outlets and switches: Legrand Radiant
Cabinet paint: Annie Sloan’s Pure White
Lighting: Hinkley Congress collection
Wall tile: Home Depot
Tile grout: TEC Silverado
Pink sink: Thermocast
Faucet: Kraus from Home Depot
Island butcher block: Lumber Liquidators sealed with Waterlox
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators maple engineered wood
Knobs: eBay
Stove: KitchenAid from Home Depot
Dishwasher: KitchenAid from Home Depot
Coffee maker: KitchenAid
Island stools: The Classy Home
Rug: vintage Turkish kilim from Etsy

Kitchen Shelving + Holiday Table Decor

DIY open shelving wall

At long last, I’m ready to share the full tutorial+tips for building this wall of shelving! I built this entire thing completely by myself, and yes, you can too! I was able to use construction-grade pine lumber, but a lot of elbow grease and a few tricks helped make them look much nicer. I shared the entire process at A Beautiful Mess, so head on over to check it out if you’re keen!

Another fun project I shared at A Beautiful Mess this week is this fun mandarin tower table centerpiece. This craft was a huge hit at our house, as Lucy was able to make one without any help from me (shocked my socks off!), and the girls loved plucking mandarins from the tree to have for a snack.

fruit tower table decor

fruit tower table decor

We’re hosting a gathering on New Year’s Eve, and I think we’ll make a couple more towers for decorating our snack spread. They look so fancy, but they’re simple and economical to make.

open wood shelves kitchen

Same for my shelving system! Well, okay, so it’s not exactly simple. But as far as woodworking goes, this is pretty straight forward. If you end up building something similar in your own home, I’d love for you to share it with me!

We’re very eager to finish up the last details of the kitchen project, which seems to be dragging on and on. It’s so tricky when you’re working on two spaces at once. We also have just finished up the living room completely (!!!!) and I’m sooo excited to share that with you very soon. Home renovations are exciting, but man, they are all-consuming. I’m ready to finally decorate for the holidays and take a little breather from all the drywall dust everywhere!

DIY shelving system

DIY open shelving wall

Hinkley Lighting Giveaway!

Hinkley lighting giveaway

UPDATE: The giveaway had now ended! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to enter! A big congratulations goes to Wendy, whose comment number was randomly selected as a winner. I will be in contact with Wendy to award the prize.

When it came to selecting new light fixtures for our home, I couldn’t have been more particular! My goal was to find light fixtures that would blend together a variety of styles I enjoy: 70s funk, Bauhaus simplicity, and timeless traditional. I spent hours (embarrassingly that is NOT an exaggeration) scrolling through pages and pages of light fixtures on every major retailer’s website until I found “the one.” Fortunately the style of chandelier I liked for the dining area of our kitchen also had matching pendants (and other matching fixtures as well), which was important since the two spaces are so close together.

I still continued looking at other light fixtures to make sure I truly had found my favorite option, and I couldn’t find anything that compared to the sophisticated grooviness of the Hinkley Congress collection. After learning more about the company, I discovered Hinkley is actually a local Northeast Ohio manufacturer, so I reached out to them to see if they wanted to partner up! Well, now here we are months later, lights installed, plaster around the pendants still needing patched, but ready to host a giveaway for you lovely readers!

Hinkley lighting giveaway

Hinkley lighting giveaway

Check out the entire line of Hinkley lighting at Lightology to select the light fixtures you’d love to get with your $1,000 prize, then comment below with your favorites. There are a lot of styles and types to choose from, so I guarantee you’ll find something to love. I rounded up some of my favorite Hinkley chandeliers to get you started.

  1. Moxie chandelier in sunset gold
  2. Congress chandlier in chrome
  3. Spectra chandelier in black
  4. Solstice chandelier in polished chrome
  5. Boyer chandelier in aged zinc
  6. Karma chandelier in champagne

Your comment will count as an entry, and a winner will be randomly selected on Sunday evening, November 26th. Any duplicate entries will be deleted so that everyone has an equal change to win.


Hinkley lighting giveaway

We’re so in love with our new Hinkley lights! They fit so well with everything else we have going on, style-wise, and if you ask me, they’re the glue that holds my kitchen design together!

I still have to patch the textured plaster on the ceiling where the drywall was patched during the pendant light installation. I was thinking it would make a good blog post, so stay tuned to see how successful I am at fixing it up!

In the meantime, best of luck to you on this giveaway, and I’ll be back on Sunday to edit this post with the announcement of a winner.

Hinkley lighting giveaway