So my wife and I just moved in to our new house, and you know what that means?! Tons of new DIY projects! No, like seriously… the list is almost too much for me! Luckily for the both of us though, there will be plenty of new ‘How-To’ posts!
Now, one of the projects she’s been dying for are new floating bedside shelves. She saw them on Pinterest somewhere, with obviously no directions or plans on how to make them, so I decided to make a How-To. Let’s get this going,shall we? How to make shabby chic floating bedside shelves / tables!
DIY – How to Make Floating Bedside Shelves / Tables
Tools Needed for this Project:
If you don’t already have some lying around the shop, you’ll only need two of the following wood boards:
Other goodies you can pull from around your shop (if you don’t have them already) are:
Life Made Simple – Cut List
Time to make your life easier, with a newly added addition… the Cut List! Here I’ll list all the cuts you need to make, so you can get them all out of the way at once. #winning. So, in order:
For starters, we’ll take our two 1″ x 12″ x 6′ boards, and make the following cuts:
With the remaining wood from your 1″ x 12″ x 6′ board, rip the board into two 4.40″ halves. From there, make the following last cut, which will serve as the backs of the shelves:
Ok, simple enough. You’ll have enough wood cut to make TWO shabby chic inspired floating bedside tables / shelves.
Step One – Back To The Basics
If you’ve ever done one of our DIY projects, you’ll come to notice that a lot of the techniques used are very repetitious. Same basic lumber dimensions, same tools used and same joinery. For this build, there isn’t anything ‘new’ that we haven’t done in previous builds.
Assuming you’ve made all your cuts from the list above, we’re going to start with our rabbet joints on the four (4) 1″ x 12″ x 6″ boards. These rabbet joints will run vertically to the pieces of wood, and will serve as reinforcement for the top and bottom of the shelves themselves.
Now, as I’ve mentioned in the past before, you can cut these joints a number of ways: dado blades on your table saw, router bit, on your sliding miter saw, heck even by hand if you’re talented enough! Whatever the case, you’ll need to cut four rabbet joints 0.375″ x 0.75″ vertically on your 6″ pieces of wood. Seethe picture below for details.
Step Two – Hole-y Moley
I suppose this step is optional, but if you already have a speed hole set, it doesn’t really make sense to skip it. Here we’ll be drilling a 1.75″ hole in each of the four boards (two tops and two bottoms) to allow for cables to be neatly kept together.
As I don’t have a drill press (please, email my wife and beg her permission for me!), I had to drill all four holes using a hand drill. In order to keep all four holes aligned, I clamped each board on top of each other, and just went to town. My mark for the center of the hole was 2-inches in from both the top and the side. Once each hole was drilled out, I removed the board and continued my way through. If you prefer, you can always make a simple jig to make sure the hole is lined up each time, but I figured it was easy enough to do free
hand. Totally up to you and your comfort level.
Step Three – Always Think Ahead!
Not going to lie, this part almost always gets me. But not this time! Because, I thought ahead!
As we’ll be making ENCLOSED floating shelves, it’s important to remember that the inside of the shelves needs to be painted or finished to your liking PRIOR TO sealing the shelved box together. No bigger ‘opps’ you can do in this project than nailing and gluing everything together, only to realize that you forgot to paint or stain the inside, then trying to do that once it’s all together. I’ve been there before, and trust me… not fun! Worse than being an undocumented immigrant at a Donald Trump rally!
You’ll want to first sand with 60 then 220 grit, then paint or stain to your liking. As I’m not a big trendy chalk paint type of person, I prefer just simple white ceiling paint. It’s like $20 for a gallon at Home Depot and will last you a LONG Time. A couple coats of that, with some fine sanding in between, and you should be good!
PRO TIP: Make sure you’re sanding and painting on the SAME SIDE of the rabbet joints, as that will be the interior-facing sides of your shelves.
Step Four – Glue, Clamp and Nail (if necessary)
Assuming your measurements, cuts and joints are all 100% PERFECT, you won’t need to nail or screw your box together. However, as none of us are perfect, and Sam Adams just goes down soooo smoothly when making a project like this (Legal Release: I, Dan, of ActiviDIY, do NOT promote drinking and operating of heavy tools, as it may result in injury or death. #dontsueme), it’s likely you might need one small screw or nail, just keep the everything tight. If so, this will be the time do that.
Apply your wood glue to the four rabbet joints you cut earlier, as well as to the top and bottom of the two (2) back pieces of your 1″ x 4.40″ x 20″ cuts. Once glued, put each of your shelves together and clamp all around. Most wood glue recommends 30 minutes minimum to dry, while further suggesting not to add stress to the joints for at least 24 hours. Take that advice as you will, as you don’t want the shelves falling apart because the glue didn’t dry enough.
Also, as I prefer to kill two birds with one stone, I decided to use my wood filler on the joints at this time. This way the wood filler and glue all dried at once, meaning there was less time I had to wait.
Step Five – It’s an Art, not a Science
With the boxes all painted inside, and glued together, we just have to work on finishing the top and sides. Unfortunately though, this is probably hardest part to explain, as the ‘rustic’ look I did on the top was just of freehand, with no instructions.
Feel free to go crazy here. You can stain dark if that’s your preference and go with the room, or you can paint all white, or try some crazy looking thing like I did. Totally up to you. Heck, if you do something different, let me know and I’ll put it up here in the instructions. As I’m definitely not an expert, and far from artistically-inclined, I’d be interested in seeing what people with real talent can do!
Whichever the case, for the design on the top, I used some white ceiling paint, a small quart of Behr Tropical Waterfall in Eggshell, and a dab of Valspar Antique Glaze. Start light with all three, then just apply more of each color as needed to get the finish you’re looking for. Just remember that you need no more than a quarter-size amount of Valspar Glaze to do the entire top. A little bit goes a long way with that stuff!
Step Six – Top Coat and Sand
Now that your fancy shabby-chic design is all done of the top, you can apply a few coats of your Minwax Polycrylic Finish. Allow two hours for each coat to dry, and sand with 220+ grit sandpaper in between; as reference, I used 400 grit. Apply at least two coats, but three is recommended.
Step Seven – The Install and Mounting on the Wall
If you haven’t done already, now would be a good time to check out my article on the Best Stud Finder for Less Than $8, as you’ll need it for mounting it on the wall. Seriously… I can’t stress enough how awesome that little $8 stud finder is!
Anyways, back to mounting the floating shelves on the wall. You’ll want to drill two 3/16-inch pilot holes sixteen inches apart from each other in the back of the box wall. If your studs are only twelve inches apart, drill the pilot holes twelve inches apart (pretty self explanatory). Using your awesome stud finder, find where you want to mount the floating shelves, line up your pilot hole with the stud and screw in your two mounting screws right into the studs. This will ensure that you have the proper support should you put a heavy lamp or decoration on the floating shelves / tables.
Step Eight – That’s a Wrap, Jack!
At this point, you should be all done! Box should be together, shabby chic finish should be done on the top, and the floating shelves / tables should be mounted securely on your wall. I hope all of that’s accurate, or I didn’t do my job in describing how to make these floating shelves!
Step Nine – Share, Like, Comment, Purchase
Please share, like, comment to let your friends know about this post.
If you found this DIY project to be too difficult, or don’t have enough time to complete it, feel free to purchase it from our Etsy shop! I mean, we’ll eventually run out of room in our house if we keep everything we make, so it’s win/win!