How to Build Small Square Floating Shelves

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Small square floating shelves are a great way to add shelf space to your room without installing a large wall cabinet or set of shelves. They are great for single items, such as one picture or one vase. The shelves require very few supplies, and the supplies you will need should be inexpensive assuming you already own the power tools. Not including drying time for the paint or stain, the shelf should only take you about an hour to make. The individual steps are simple enough that it would be easy to make several shelves at the same time.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood one half inch thick at least 12-inches by 18-inches
  • Ruler
  • Jigsaw
  • Sand paper
  • Primer and paint or stain
  • Paint brush
  • Hammer
  • Nails or nail gun
  • Cut out five pieces of wood that measure 6 inches by 6 inches. Each piece should be a perfect square with 90 degree angles.

  • Sand down all the edges on each piece so they are smooth and splinter free. Although you can use an electric sander for this job, it is just as easy to sand them with sand paper. It will only take a couple minutes.

  • Paint or stain each piece completely and leave in a cool dry place until they are completely dry. If you are choosing to paint the wood, you should paint with a primer first and let that dry. Once the primer is completely dry you can paint the wood the color you want.

  • Lay the first piece of wood down on a flat work surface. Stand up the second piece of wood so the bottom front is pressed up against the edge of the first piece. The two pieces should create a 90 degree angle. Nail the two pieces together in this position.

  • Rotate the wood so that the second piece is now laying flat and repeat Step 4 when attaching the third piece.

  • Rotate the wood again so the third piece is now laying flat. Repeat Step four to attach the fourth piece of wood to the third piece of wood. When you are done, nail the first piece into the other side of the fourth piece so you create a square. All the corners should create 90 degree angles.

  • Stand the square of wood on end, and nail the fifth piece of wood you cut to the top. This should create a box with one open side. When you hang the shelf on the wall, the open side should be up against the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can make the shelves larger or smaller depending on your preference. Just make sure each piece is a perfect square and the finished product will create a square.
  • If you decide to use an electric sander to sand the wood, your best option would be a belt sander. The pieces are small enough that if you try to hold the wood and the sander you are likely to hit your hand and hurt yourself. A belt sander can be stationary on your work surface so you are only holding the wood.

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