These floating shelves are amazing! They are sturdy, chunky, and you can either paint OR stain them! I made some of these in my previous house so I knew I wanted to build some for our new home. I didn’t even think about doing them by my fireplace until I realized I couldn’t do the actual enclosed built-in upper shelves because the way my mantle wraps around. Anyways, I follow Shanty 2 Chic’s tutorial on Easy DIY floating shelves. I made a couple of modifications for my space and of course I decided to paint mine white ;).
First off get your supplies:
1/4″ plywood for the bottoms of the shelves cut to 9 1/4″ wide x desired length
1×10 pine board
1×4 pine board (I used select pine)
3″ wood screws
2 1/2″ pocket hole screws
Paintable/Stainable wood filler
Paintable/Tinted (if staining) Caulk
Before you cut your 2×3 boards (these will be the bones of the shelves) measure how long you will want them. My space was 59 1/4″ so I did them full size to fill the full area. Once you have your desired length cut the 2×3 boards to that size; this means to supports as well. You will need 2+ depending on how long your shelf is, I needed four. Each of these supports need to be cut to 7 3/4″ in length.
I opted to do six shelves (three on each side of the fireplace) so I needed 6 backs and 24 supports.
Cut your 1×10 and yout 1/4″ plywood to your measured length as well
While I was cutting all of the wood, I decided to get all of my pocket holes drilled. This is where my Kreg Jig came in handy. The. Best. Tool. EVER. Seriously, if you don’t have one invest in one (not an affiliate)!! That numbers you see on the side is how thick the wood is. Mine is 1 1/2″ thick so we are going to drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes. This is SO important to not forget this step, as well as changing your drill bit to the right length. If you don’t do either of these, your pocket holes won’t be correct and you will have to start over.
So after that was done, it was time to attach the back supports to the wall.
**Note, I opt to drill my supports onto the back supports AFTER I attach the backs to the wall. I have found that this is easier for me; however, you can attach them beforehand also.
Find the studs with the stud finder and mark them. That way when you put your boards up, you can easily drill the screes into them. When the board is held up on the wall, make sure it is level and drill them into the studs with the 3″ wood screws. I like to buy self-drilling screws so that it eliminates the step of pre-drilling. You may get others, but you will have to pre-drill your holes.
Once all of the backs are up attach all of the supports
Once this is done attach the top (1×10 boards cut to size) and the bottom (1/4″ plywood) with a brad nailer to your 2×3 supports.
Now you have to put the trim pieces on with the 1/4 boards. Now, for my space, on the left side of my fireplace there was a spot on all of my shelves that would be seen, so I have to put trim work on those as well. If your goes wall to wall you won’t need to worry about the sides; however, if you are building them without any walls, you will need to attach trim to both sides. Since, I only needed the left side done, I only cut 3 pieces to 9 1/4″ long and attached them to the sides first. Once those side pieces are on measure the front of your shelves and cut the 1×4 pine board accordingly and attach them with a brad nailer.
The fill all the holes with wood filler, caulk the seams, and paint/stain :). Happy building!