floating shelf

How to Build a Floating Shelf or Mantel – Simple Tutorial

Floating Shelf/Mantel - How to Build One

I wanted to show you guys how to make a simple floating shelf or fireplace mantel, so here it is! This was in an old home of ours. I did have a sort of floating shelf, but I wanted a more beam look. 

floating shelf

Materials for Floating Shelf

1X8 wood (any kind you want, also if you want it bigger or smaller you can do that) 
1X6 wood (same as above)
3 inch screws (concrete if doing a mantel)
chop saw
measuring tape
dap plastic wood filler
stud finder
brad nails
wood glue

Step 1 - Make Your Frame

Cut a 2X4 in the length that you want your shelf or mantel. 

Then, cut a 2X4 board 1 1/2 inches shorter than the depth of your shelf that you wanted.

Make sure you don’t put your smaller pieces where the studs are in the wall. I put the back of my frame up on the wall and found the studs, then made marks were they were. 

You will screw the shorter pieces onto the long piece.  Make sure to use a drill bit and pre-drill the holes, the wood might crack if you don’t. 

floating shelf

Step 2 - Put the Frame on the Wall

It is time for the frame to go on the wall. Make sure to screw them into the studs and to use a level. 


Step 3 - Cover the Frame

First, you will put the top and bottom pieces on. Make sure they are sanded before you put them up. I used a brad nail gun and nails. Also, I used wood glue to hold it together better. 

*** I used a 1X8 piece, but you can use whatever size you want. 

floating shelf

Trim a piece of wood to fit the sides and front of your shelf/mantel. Put that on with wood glue and a nail gun. 

*** I used a 1X6 and trimmed it to 5 1/6 inch. 

floating shelf

Step 4 - Fill in Cracks

Fill in the cracks with stainable wood filler. I used dap plastic wood filler. 

After it dries, you can sand it down. 

wood filler

Step 5 - Stain

Tape the area and stain your wood. I used Varathane Special Walnut Stain.  


Floating Shelf After

floating shelf

I hope you guys like how it turned out. This, plus adding the shiplap, made this kitchen feel more warm and inviting. Here is another place I used this type of shelf but for a mantel. 

If you love it, you can pin it

floating shelf
Scroll to Top