I wanted chunky shelves in the closet. Building small decorative shelves is generally an easy task. You build the shelf, install a cleat and hang the shelf. Done. Not these shelves. These corner floating shelves are in a small closet, hanging on three adjoining walls. The shelves are fairly deep so they have to be well supported. They had to be built and installed piece by piece.
How to build corner floating shelves
- 2×2 lumber
- 1/2″ plywood (top of shelf)
- 1/4″ plywood (underside of shelf)
- 1/4″ beadboard for walls
- 1×3 poplar (for shelf face)
* I ripped my own 2×2 out of 2×4 and 2×6 lumber because I couldn’t find 2×2’s that were straight enough for my liking. If you don’t have a good table saw spend a lot of time picking out the straightest 2×2’s you can find. You’ll be glad you did.
1. Mark your studs on the wall
2. Attach 2×2 cleats to the studs on the wall
-I marked my studs on all walls and used 3″ wood screws to secure the 2×2 to the walls. I spaced my shelves about 16-18″ apart.
Next, I determined the depth of my shelves. The bottom two are deeper at 14″ and the rest are 12″ deep. I also left a space at the bottom on the left side where I could store my vacuum and cleaning supplies that are tall so the bottom shelves are only L-shaped, not U-shaped like the top three shelves.
3. Build shelf skeleton with more 2×2’s
I used more 2×2’s to create the “skeleton” of the shelves. These I secured with 2 1/2″ wood screws, driven in at angles to secure them to the initial 2×2 cleats. I filled in the shelf skeleton with 2×2 support braces about every 18″.
I covered the walls with beadboard and it’s easier to paint the beadboard before it’s installed. If you aren’t adding beadboard skip ahead.
Then I cut my beadboard into strips to piece in between the 2×2 cleats.
*It would have been 100 times easier to cover the entire closet with beadboard BEFORE I started installing the shelves but I had a bunch of scraps cluttering up my workshop so I decided to make my life difficult and use them up to save some money. (And to be honest I didn’t think it would be quite as big of a pain as it ended up being piecing it together.) I would not do it that way again.
4. Cover 2×2 skeleton with plywood and hardwood
Next I cut 1/2″ plywood to size and nailed it on top of my braces. Each U-shaped shelf uses 3 pieces of plywood. I made the seems as tight as possible and added glue to the seem to keep it secure long-term.
I used 1/4″ plywood on the bottom and nailed it to the 2×2’s. Not worrying too much about making the seams perfect. Wood putty and caulk are my best friends with a painted project.
I framed the front edge of the shelves with 1×3 poplar. Filled all the nail holes and sanded.
Then used lots and lots of caulk!
Once everything is painted and caulked, it looks awesome and was worth every minute of the week and a half it took me to knock it out.
That’s all there is too installing U-shaped floating shelves. Easy as pie! NOT. But definitely worth it!
See Hall Closet Reveal pictures here!