Sleekly Stacked: Timber Used For Chic Shelving Systems

Sleekly Stacked: Timber Used For Chic Shelving Systems

Shelving That Stacks Up

Without a doubt, the most important component of our workshop will be – scratch that, is – the ability for heavy-duty storage. For almost two years, our workshop has been a mess. We’ve been tripping over power tools and our bulky air compressor, wading through paint cans and digging through cardboard boxes, all to find the fine grit sandpaper. It’s a miracle anything was ever accomplished in this house at all.

Finally, we have some shelves. Some really big, really hunky, really strong DIY floating shelves. After making a list of all the easy access items we’d like to store in the workshop vs. what’ll end up going in the garage, we calculated and re-calculated how many shelves we’d need, how high they’d go, and how much space they’ll allow. We measured our big bins, the height of two paint cans, and checked inventory on all the glues, tapes, and things that allow us to complete any given project. The prep and planning was a good week’s worth of work alone. And then we got to work.

For anyone who wants to take on this same project, your shopping list will vary depending on the width of your shelves, but here’s what we bought for four 6-foot wall-to-wall DIY floating shelves. First, we took a minute to locate the studs behind our drywall. We needed to ensure that our shelves are strong, so we needed to build a support system that we would ultimately hide beneath the plywood sheets. We cut our 2x4s to the widths of our wall – two per shelf. To create a ladder-like support structure, we also made 14 cuts from the remaining 2x4s, which was enough for 7 supports end to end.

Hiding the Handiwork

To save time and avoid needing to make any pocket holes, we used 25 wood screws to create 3 sides of our internal structure, with about 12 between each support. Note: Measure each shelf independently, as drywall is rarely, if ever, square. For example, some of our wall widths varied by a 1/2-inch. The more precise your cuts, the better your outcome.

We attached our ladder support system to the wall, putting two 4-inch screws into each and every stud along the way. The level became our best friend at this point, and as is typical with inexpensive 2x4s, we did have some less-than-perfect twists in the wood. A good tug while keeping things level was necessary to get our support in place, and a right-angle drill adapter was used for the studs to the left and right of the main wall – it was a tight squeeze. The remaining 24-inches was screwed on to the front, and again, we made sure to level, level, level.

We continued up the wall, allowing for different heights between the shelves, starting with 18-inches at the bottom, two at 16-inches, and one at 14-inches. These shelves aren’t going anywhere. I added a light coat of our wall color along the 2x4s, but only where the 2x4s meet with the wall. My thought was more preventative than anything – any imperfect cuts in our plywood would hopefully blend into the wall.

Covering the Carpentry

Now let’s talk about those plywood sheets. We had all four sheets cut down to 17-inch strips at the hardware store, which was the perfect depth to skin our ladder supports. Think 15 1/4-inch (24-inch support) + 1/4-inch (14-inch support) = 15 1/2-inch. This meant that we only needed to use the circular saw to cut down the 6-foot widths. The edges got a gentle sanding, and I stained everything using Special Walnut. We opted to nix polyurethane altogether since these shelves will be holding All the Things that’ll just scratch it up. It feels less precious this way, somehow.

Once the plywood was ready to go, a mallet helped to ease the boards into place – top and bottom – and we used a nail gun to secure the sheets along the ladder support. With everything in place so far, we had a height of exactly 4-inches for each shelf. Although we initially planned on using the leftover 14-inch plywood to create the false fronts, we figured that for the amount of work we’d already put into these shelves, we should make it count. And so we picked up 16-inch aspen planks, ripped them down to 4-inches on the table saw, stained them, and finally popped them on with our nail gun. It was absolutely worth it.

You guys, we love them. The project turned out way better than we imagined it would, and we both joked that they were too nice for the workshop. In any case, the goal was to make them super strong (check) and durable (check), and we can’t wait to load them up. We have a few more finishing touches for the room that we’d like to finish up this week, but it’s so close to being complete. These DIY floating shelves will change the way we’re able to use the space. And once we’re organized in the workshop, maybe – maybe – we might be able to finish the kitchen. Word on the street is that our back door will be here mid-May. I say as I knock on wood.

Sleek, Sturdy, and Stylish

The shelves are stunning. You are right that they are much too nice for a workshop, but it will make the room much more useful. I was hoping to see them all loaded up with tools.

Building the shelves left no time for wrangling the tools this weekend. We’re hoping to tackle a little at a time over this week.

I looove that pocket door. This looks amazing. Wish I had a nook I could do this in. I love the stain. Senger’s

I love how this room is turning out. They look fantastic. These are INSANELY awesome guys. Wow. This just looks amazing. Also, are you guys constantly on B12? Because I do NOT know how you have this much energy.

Ha, I could USE some B12. Excuse us while we nap.

NEVER in a million years would I have imagined that these shelves were made with plywood. They look soo good. The Kentucky Gent

These are gorgeous. I covet your workshop like whoa, and I just love that it’s off the kitchen – and so so pretty. It really is the heart of our home. It just looked TERRIBLE until about a month ago, ha.

At the end of this post, I actually said aloud “those are some sexy shelves”. Nicely done. Hubba hubba.

Those shelves are lovely. Man, when we get a new house, I want your help. Kim, the room and shelves look great. I don’t know how you have the time to do all the projects you have accomplished thus far.

It’s a mystery to us too. Hi, mom.

Looking good. When I saw your teaser on Instagram, I definitely thought the colored socks and feet belonged to Kim.

These look great. Would you mind sharing how long you let the Special Walnut stain sit and how many coats you used?

Hi Abby, I only used one coat on the plywood and I put two on the aspen planks to match as close as possible. We allowed it to sit for a couple hours before installing, but I’ll admit they were slightly tacky upon installation. By Monday evening, they were dry and ready for loading up.

Oh, you make it look so easy. Well done.

Love these. Just wondering if you could give a ballpark for your total wood cost.

Sure thing. We did choose a slightly pricier aspen plank for the front edges, but 2x4s could also do this trick. For these 4 shelves at 6-feet each, we came in around $100-$125.

That price includes the 4 wood screws we picked up too.

I have an odd nook which I put wire shelves, but am going to change that as I need something that will cover the linens in there. This will look great there. Thanks.

The shelves are amazing, and I want them in my family room, but I also want that paint to go with them. Any chance you remember the brand and name of it? These are just gorgeous.

Hi Donna, it’s Stratton Blue by Ben Moore.

I really like the look of these shelves, and I’m thinking about doing something similar. However, my space doesn’t allow me to have three walls – do you think these would be strong enough for lots of books if only attached to two walls?

Hi Cade, this would definitely work if only attached to 2 walls, but I’d keep the length and depth to a minimum. The ladder structure we’ve hidden beneath the surface is super strong, but I wouldn’t load a ton of paint cans on it if it was only on 2 walls. What are you hoping to stack on the shelves? How much depth will you need? Keep these things in mind before building.

These are amazing. Thanks for posting step-by-step. I might just attempt something similar.

I really have a clear vision for how I wanted to build the shelves. In the end, I went with the Yellow Brick Home method of building the shelves and wrapping them. I ran to Home Depot, finalized my plan whilst in the…

Just made these last night for a couple of corner floating shelves, and they were super easy. Thank you for the tutorial.

“Big, Hunky and Strong” Shelves. Without a doubt, the most important component of our workshop will be – scratch that, is – the ability for heavy-duty storage. For almost two years, we’ve been tripping over power tools and our bulky air compressor, wading through paint cans, only to realize the can we need is at the bottom of a via Yellow Brick Home.

Love, love your floating shelves. I’m planning on doing some in my kitchen, and you have the best plans I have come across. Thanks so much for all the instructions, and the shelves are just beautiful.

Shelves look great. Any idea what the wall color is?

Thanks, it’s Stratton Blue by Ben Moore.

Question: How do you account for a wall that is not perfectly straight? I want to build something similar to this, but I am worried that the wall it will be going up against is not totally straight. Is it easy to get the veneer to be flush against a wall that isn’t so straight?

Hi Mike, our walls are the farthest thing from straight. We measured each and every shelf individually – from the ladder-brackets to the veneer. Some veneers had to be longer than others, but with such a short depth, it really won’t make a huge visual difference. Especially when you load the shelves up with whatever you’re planning – you won’t even notice.

Option 1, Option 2, Option 3

What is the wall color in this room? I have been looking for a color for my master bedroom, and I think this is the one. Thanks.

Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore.

DIY Floating Wood Shelves

Just finished my floating shelves, and they turned out great. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

Awesome. Enjoy your handiwork.

DIY Floating Wood Shelves

These are INSANELY awesome guys. Wow. This just looks amazing. Also, are you guys constantly on B12? Because I do NOT know how you have this much energy.

Ha, I could USE some B12. Excuse us while we nap.


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