Modern Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a great way to add some visual style to an empty space in your home, while looking effortless. They are also inexpensive and pretty simple to make. Here is a step-by-step tutorial and video to make floating shelves yourself!



4ftx4ft @ 1/2″ berch or maple ply (better quality when painted)

DAP Wood filler

3″ SPAX Screws (mounting french cleats)

Paint (if you dont use laquer paint, use primer first)



First, glue the pieces together. I like to use TITEBOND III. I don’t use it for the waterproof strength as much as for the longer assembly time before the glue starts to settle.


Keep a damp rag near by to wipe off any excess glue because it can get messy.


Make sure to leave a 1/2″ gap on the back to house the french cleat.


Now that the top and bottom is on, use wood putty to fill in the exposed plywood layers so you don’t have any gaps. Once the putty dries, sand down to 180

Next, mount the french cleat to the wall via 3″ screws into the studs through the wall.


Roll on paint using milk paint. It’s simple, beautiful and durable.


Finally, decorate the shelves.


January 10, 2017

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  • I’ve always avoided French cleats for hanging things that will stick out further than they are tall. I’ve just been worried about the leverage if someone leans on the outside edge. Do you think this worry is unfounded? Did your shelves turn out stable enough to handle the occasional bump from passers-by?

    I’d like to use cleats like this for their flexibility, so I’d appreciate any advice you can share.