DIY Floating Shelf

Floating Shelf for Family Images-03

Confession: for some reason, I am terrible at committing to putting things on my walls. It feels so permanent and it stresses me out. I finally decided that it was time to put something up on the walls in our living room. After spending forever Pinterest-ing “décor above living room couch”, I settled on building a floating shelf. Even though a shelf would ultimately = holes in my wall, I was content with this idea because I knew I could always change out what was on the shelf, making it feel not so permanent.

I’m actually really pleased with how it turned out! Here is how we did it:

Supplies Needed:

  • 1×2 (pine wood) 
  • 1×3 (pine wood) 
  • 1×4 (pine wood)
  • Nails & nail gun 
  • Wood filler 
  • Sand paper 
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Impact driver 
  • Wood stain or paint (optional)


Start with a long 1×2, 1×3 and 1×4.

We used a finished pine so that the boards were already mostly smooth. 

You obviously want them to all be the same length, so we used a miter saw to cut the boards to equal length.

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Making of Floating Shelf for Family Images-12

Sand each board to make sure all are smooth

Use a nail gun (with 1 1/2″ sized nails) to connect the 1×2 to the 1×3. The 1×3 is the bottom board where the frames will sit. We did not use any wood glue, but you could use wood glue in addition to the nails for extra reinforcement.
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Making of Floating Shelf for Family Images-09
Making of Floating Shelf for Family Images-08
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Making of Floating Shelf for Family Images-07

Next, the 1×4 will be connected to the opposite side of the 1×3. The 1×4 is the board that will be attached to the wall. Use the 1 1/2″ sized nails with the nail gun to attach the boards. 



Once assembled, use natural wood filler to fill the nail holes, while still maintaining the natural look of the wood. (You could also use painter’s caulk). We chose not to stain or paint our ledge, but you definitely could!



Once dried, sand the holes for a flush finish.


Before installing to the wall use a tack cloth to remove any debris from the sanding


Mark on your wall where you want to place your shelf


Once finished, find and mark the studs along the length of the shelf using a stud finder. 

STEP 10:

Use an impact driver to drill 2 1/2″ nails through the shelf, into the studs


STEP 11:

Use plastic wood filler to fill in the holes.

Once it dries, sand and clean for a smooth finish!

STEP 12:



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Floating Shelf for Family Image02

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