How to Build a Long Wood Floating Shelf (That Won't Sag in the Middle)

How to Build a Long Wood Floating Shelf (That Won't Sag in the Middle)

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Ashley Poskin
May 23, 2016
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

All this week we're talking about bathroom renovations, starting with Ashley's recent remodel, and following up with tons of helpful posts about the process!

Floating shelves are fantastic, and I knew I wanted one above the tub in my new bathroom. We searched high and low for a floating shelf that not only looked good, but could hold a lot of weight without sagging —especially because the wall is pretty long. We stumbled across these plans from Whitney, and decided to make a custom shelf ourself that would fit perfectly in the space.

What You Need

Materials

Pine, Common Boards:

  • 2 1/2" Pocket Hole Screws from Home Depot
  • 1 1/4" Pocket Hole Screws from Home Depot
  • 3 1/2" Wood Screws from Home Depot
  • 1 1/2" Wood Screws from Home Depot
  • Wood glue (optional)
  • Stain or paint (optional)
  • Wood putty (optional)
  • Sealer (optional)

Tools

  • Pocket Hole Jig
  • Drill
  • Miter Saw
  • Stud Finder
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Cut list:

  • From the 1 x 6 x 96" board cut: (2) 11-1/4" pieces, you will be left with a 73" cut.
  • From one 2 x 4 x 96" board cut: (6) 9-3/4" pieces
  • From the other 2 x 4 x 96" board cut one 71-1/2" piece

The 1 x 2 x 72" boards do not need to be cut.

Instructions

Assemble the inside frame:

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. Drill two 1 1/2" pocket holes into one end of the 9-3/4" cut pieces of 2 x 4".

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Repeat Step 1 with the 5 remaining cuts.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Space out the six 2 x 4" cuts evenly along the 71 1/2" cut and attach with 2 1/2" pocket hole screws.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. For an extra secure hold, run a line of wood glue underneath each piece before drilling through. Your finished frame will look this:

Assemble the box/shelf cover:

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. Drill pocket holes into each 1" x 12" board. You'll need at least two holes on each end and anywhere from 5-7 holes drilled along the sides. We set our jig to 3/4" to drill, and used 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Once all the holes are drilled, attach the 1 x 12" to the 73" 1 x 6" using 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. Repeat this step with the remaining 1" x 12" to attach the bottom side of the shelf.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Next, attach the sides ( 1 x 6 x 11-1/4" pieces) with the 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Your box/shelf cover will end up looking like this. We wanted a nice tight fit in the corner, so we left one end off. If both ends of your shelf are exposed, you want to attach both sides instead of one.

Install:

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. Using a stud finder, locate the studs in your wall and mark the spots lightly with a pencil. Hold the frame in place and mark the areas that lay over the studs. Level out the frame and install it to the studs using 3 1/2" wood screws.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Slide the box over the frame. It will be a nice, snug fit so be sure to get assistance for this step.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Pre-drill holes along the back, sides, and areas over the braces of the box to install 1 1/2" wood screws to the frame. If you want to hide the screws, use a countersink bit first, then fill the holes with wood putty later. (This is what we did.)

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Stain or paint as you like. We waited to stain our shelf until it was installed but you can most definitely paint or stain it before installing.

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