How to Build a Floating Bookshelf in 9 Easy Steps

Things You'll Need

  • Hardbound book with dust jacket, approximately 6"x9"
  • 2 L-brackets, 4"x4"
  • #10 x 1-1/4" flat head screws
  • #10 x 1-1/4" plastic anchors
  • Level
  • Drill with 1/4" drill bit
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Hobby knife

Tip

  • This shelf is for a standard 6"x9" book; for larger books, use a 6"x6" L-bracket instead.

    Instead of using drywall anchors, look for studs on the wall and attach the L-brackets with wood screws alone.

Warning

  • Do not place bookshelves above beds, as books may fall during earthquakes.

Floating book shelf
Floating book shelf (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Are you looking for a creative bookshelf solution for your wall? Here's an "invisible" bookshelf that is both fun and functional. Books appear to be floating on the wall without a shelf, but the shelf is actually the bottom book. And bibliophiles will be happy to know that this project is created without damaging the actual book. What a novel idea!

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Step 1

Indicate where holes will be drilled
Indicate where holes will be drilled (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Place one 4"x4" L-bracket on the wall where you would like the bookshelf. Use a level to ensure it is perfectly vertical, and make a pencil mark in the top and bottom holes. (Note: This shelf is for a standard 6"x9" book; for larger books, use a 6"x6" L-bracket instead.)

Step 2

Mark two points 4-1/2" from the first marks
Mark two points 4-1/2" from the first marks (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Measure 4-1/2" to the right of the two pencil marks and make two more marks. Use a ruler and a level to help. This is where the second L-bracket will go.

Step 3

Drill holes
Drill holes (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Using a 1/4" drill bit, drill holes at the four pencil marks.

Step 4

Insert drywall anchors
Insert drywall anchors (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Hammer drywall anchors into the holes. (Note: Instead of using drywall anchors, look for studs on the wall and attach the L-brackets with wood screws alone.)

Step 5

Secure L-brackets with screws
Secure L-brackets with screws (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Position the holes in the L-brackets on top of the anchors and screw in flathead screws to secure the brackets.

Step 6

Cut two slits in dust cover
Cut two slits in dust cover (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Remove the dust jacket from the book. With a ruler and hobby knife, cut two 2" slits in the dust jacket fold where the back cover meets the back flap. The slits should be about an inch from the top and bottom edges of the dust jacket.

Step 7

Slide the two slits into the L-brackets
Slide the two slits into the L-brackets (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Slide the two slits of the dust cover into the two L-brackets.

Step 8

Wrap dust jacket around the book
Wrap dust jacket around the book (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Rest the book on the two L-brackets with the spine facing you. Lift the book's front cover and pages, and fold the back flap of the dust jacket over the inside back cover.

Step 9

Hide the L-brackets with the dust jacket
Hide the L-brackets with the dust jacket (Image: Jonathan Fong)

Put the front cover and pages back down, and wrap the dust jacket over the rest of the book. Now when you look underneath the book, the dust jacket has covered the L-brackets so it looks like the book is floating. Stack books on top of this shelf, being sure not to exceed the weight limits of the drywall anchors.

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