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How to create a floating bookshelf

Floating book shelves are excellent options for displaying souvenirs, photos, books and all other kinds of collectibles. Here is a simple method that can help you create floating shelves with ease.

Step 1: mark the intended position of the shelf on the wall

Before you begin making the floating shelves, you need to use a chalk and a measuring tape to mark out the position of the shelf on the wall. This will give you a better idea of how much space a shelf will occupy on the wall. Using a 4 feet level as your guide, you can lightly press masking tape over the location and mark it using a stud finder.

Step 2: Cut the door blank

Clamp a straightedge guide to the door blank and cut it down the length. For a smooth cut, a carbide blade with 40-teeth is recommended.

Step 3: determine cleat thickness by measuring

Measure how much space is there between the door’s outer veneers. You would need to cut the cleats to 2×4 thick from this measurement. For cleats, straight, dry lumber no less than 1-3/32 thick is recommended.

Step 4: mount the cleats to the wall

Drill in a quarter inch diameter holes in the stud locations you have already marked out. Use a 1/8-inch bit to drill into the stud when you hold the cleat to the line marked on the wall. Install a lag screw into each stud and tighten using a wrench.


Step 5: Scrape the cardboard

Cut the cardboard core to one and a half inch from the edge. Scrape glue from the cardboard without scratching the wooden surface.

Step 6: test the shelf for fit

Before yanking the shelf on with glue, you need to test fit the shelf. For a tight fit, you may need to remove the material from the back edge with a sander or block plane.

Step 7: Installing the shelf

To install the shelf, you would need to apply glue to the door blank’s inside bottom edge as well as the top of the cleat. Then you would need to neatly slide the prepared shelf over the cleat. Using a square as your guide, you would need to nail the shelf to the cleat.


Floating shelves can be made using store bought kits or shelves. These shelves are strong yet look fragile when they appear to float midair upon the wall.