You voted and chose option 2!
I was secretly hoping you’d pick 2 or 3 and it was really close! I took your advice and went with option 2. This option is nice because the shelves are staggered and I’m not much of a straight lines person. I also liked that the shelves lined up nicely with the studs. Option 3 was a close contender, but the top shelves would have been so long that I would have had to buy 2 more brackets. So option 2 it was!
The shelves are up!
After a lot of struggles and plenty of fails, the Floating Shelves are up! But they aren’t without flaws… and let me just tell you, this was definitely NOT one of my easiest DIY projects…. not by a long shot. This project is also not DONE done. I still need to stain the shelves.
These shelves really gave me a run for my money. So I’m just going to start off by saying, you might not want to do it the way I did. You live and you learn right? But I’m still going to tell you the steps I took to get the shelves up to surround my stove hood.
The First Step
The first step that I took about a month ago was ordering floating shelf hardware from Etsy. I looked all over on different online shops, and couldn’t find any price or quality that beat this store called CsonkasCustomRustics. I ordered 4 sets because I’m planning on putting 4 shelves up. Two on each side of my stove hood.
*I should note here that I considered building the floating shelf mounts myself… there are tutorials out there on how to do this, without having to buy hardware, but I wanted my shelves to be fairly thin, and the homemade mounts made it hard to make them as thin and strong as I wanted. Now that I’ve done this once, I would probably try to build my own mounts next time and just deal with the shelves being a little thicker.
Mapping it out
Yesterday I spent some time measuring the area of the wall that I would be using for the shelves so that I could buy the wood I needed. I basically measured each section and made an estimate of how much wood I would need. I overestimated a little, just to make sure I would have enough. Then, I measured how far I wanted the shelves to stick out. With the brackets I bought, the shelf had to be at least 7 inches long. After some measuring, visualizing, measuring the plates and glasses I’d be putting on the shelf, and picturing the final outcome, I decided to go with somewhere between 7 and 8 inches.
Trip to Lowe’s
Next, I went to Lowe’s. Since I had the screws and hardware I would need, I only needed to get the wood. I grabbed a cart and headed toward the lumber section of the store. Near the back of the store, I found the 2x8x10 pieces of pine. I spent some time examining the wood and making sure the pieces I wanted were nice and straight. I really only needed 1 piece, but since the wood was so cheap I ended up buying 2 pieces (and I’m glad I did… wait until you see all of the pieces I messed up!)
Anyway, I knew the 2x8x10 pieces probably wouldn’t fit in my car, so I asked someone at Lowes to cut a 2.5′ section off of each board. I had him cut off the ends that were less than perfect so that I could use them as practice pieces. If you want to attempt any kind of DIY project and don’t have a saw, you can still do it! Ask the nice people at lowes to cut it for you. Their measurements seem to be very accurate, but their saw sometimes leaves the wood a little rough at the end. If I use their cuts, I just make sure to sand the wood a lot at the ends.
Measure Twice Cut Once
Once I got the wood home I started doing a lot of measurements to see exactly where the studs were. The studs are only every 16 inches or so depending how exact your home is, so you don’t have a lot of choice in where to put the brackets. I used a stud finder to help me find the studs and made sure to go up and down the wall with the stud finder, and knock on the wall, to make sure it was an actual stud. I made a HUGE mistake with a stud finder this summer… but that story is for another day. Just be extremely careful that you are screwing into a stud and nothing else🙄
After marking my studs lightly with a pencil I measured the exact positions where I wanted to my shelves to go. I made sure that they were an equal distance from the stove hood on each side I also made sure that the shelves on the right were the same length as each other as were the shelves on the left. Once everything was marked and ready to go, I marked the wood and cut it with my miter saw. Next, it was time for the brackets.
This is where things got a little tricky. I knew that the brackets had screw holes drilled in them that were too wide for the stud. If I used the little pre-drilled holes in the brackets, my screws would completely miss the stud. These brackets are probably better for people who have mapped out their floating shelves before putting drywall up and put a 2×4 horizontally behind the wall. We did not do this. So, we had to drill some new holes so that they would hit the stud.
I marked the new holes and handed the brackets off to Bryan so he could drill the new holes. The new holes were great, but I would have to be extremely careful while screwing them to the wall. If the placement of the brackets wasn’t exact, the screws would miss the studs.
I also realized, when I was mapping out the studs, that 2 of the studs on the left side of the stove hood would give me some problems. The placement of the studs was JUST at the very edge of my floating shelf, so I’d have to have Bryan cut off the side of 2 of the brackets to make it so they wouldn’t stick out.
So. Much. Work.
Anyway, the brackets were fixed, so I started lining them up and screwing them in carefully while holding my breath that they’d hit the studs. Luckily my stud finder proved to be pretty accurate (this time) and they mostly lined up well. There was one screw that seemed to hit the stud and then come out at the end, but I figured the other screw was holding tight, so I’d let it be. A few screws went in beautifully, and then I started hitting some problems. For some reason, the screws I bought just did not seem to like the studs, and they were REALLY hard to screw in. I broke one drill bit and stripped a few of the screws, but luckily seemed to get all of the brackets tight, just in time.
When all the brackets were finally up, they were pretty solid and sturdy. Once that part was finished, I was pretty excited, but then I realized the next part would be really tricky. How the heck was I supposed to drill out the holes in the wood to make sure the shelves would be straight?? I thought about this (worried about it) for about a week, and then decided to just go for it.
Getting the Holes Level
The first step was marking the place where the brackets would go inside the wood. I did this by placing each shelf on top of the bracket where it would go. I made sure to line it up so it was exactly in the right place. Then, I used a pen to mark each side of the bracket. Then I transferred the mark to the side of the wood that I would be drilling in, with my square.
Next, I wanted to find a place where I could drill the holes while keeping the wood level. This was no easy task, but what Bryan finally decided is that we should clamp a few pieces of wood together to steady the piece we were drilling and just try to get it as level as possible. We tried to use a square to help us keep it straight, but it just seemed to do more harm than good.
Here is where the project got even more tricky. The pieces of pipe on the brackets were 5/8 inch, and the drill bits we already had were either 5/8 or 13/16. We tried the 5/8 drill bit just to see if it would fit, even though we figured it would be too small and we were right. The hole was just too small for the pipe to fit through. We tried the 13/16 drill bit next and it was way too big. Eventually, I decided just to go to Lowes to pick up a $4 11/16 drill bit. It ended up being a perfect size, BUT it wasn’t long enough. Luckily Bryan had an extender piece that helped me drill the whole length of the bracket pipe.
So Many Fails
My first few practices did not go well. I tried to eye it and drill straight, but I drilled crooked and the drill bit started coming right out of the piece of wood. Finally, I got the hang of it and noticed that I was always leaning the same way just a little too much with the drill. So after 2 more successful practices, I tried drilling a real piece. The top right.
I was actually shaking. I was so excited and nervous that I was going to mess up on my good piece of wood… and…I DID. It was awful. It started well, but when I was almost at the bottom of the piece of wood the drill bit started coming right out of the wood. I tried to fix it, but it was too late. UGH.
I took a couple minute break, cut a new piece of wood (thank goodness I got those extra pieces!) and got to work drilling again. This time it worked out perfectly! I took it into the kitchen and it amazingly slid right onto the brackets! It was nice and level.
I continued drilling pieces of wood, making a ridiculous amount of mistakes, cutting new wood, and moving forward. Eventually, I had all of my holes drilled and a nice pile of mistake wood. The relief I felt when I got finished was wonderful.
They Are Up!
So, in the end, I got it done. Bryan helped with the brackets, and I did the cutting and drilling. There were quite a few moments where I thought I would have to start over and that the shelves would never fit right and be level, but somehow we got it done!
My next step is staining the shelves, but I’ll talk about that in my next post! I’m hoping to stain them tomorrow if it is warm enough.
Didn’t I scare you off yet? You STILL want to put up Floating Shelves?
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Brackets from CsonkasCustomRustics
- A drill bit for metal to drill extra holes in your brackets
- A drill and driver (I like to use this Milwaukee drill and driver set here)
- Miter Saw (you can get away without using a miter saw if you have the people at Lowes cut some pieces for you)
- 2x8x10 pieces of wood
- 2.5-inch cabinet mounting screws like this
- Measuring Tape
- 11/16 drill bit
- hex drive extension (we used this so that our drill bit would reach the length of our brackets)
Steps You Need To Take:
- Find out where your studs are using a stud finder. Use a pencil to mark down the wall where the stud is.
- Map out your shelves using Powerpoint (seen in this post!)
- Measure the exact length and place you would like your shelves to go
- Buy the wood and have it cut to size if you want
- Cut your wood with the Miter Saw
- Mark and drill 2 extra holes in your brackets so that they will not miss the studs
- Mark exactly where your brackets will go
- Hold your brackets up and start screwing your first screw into place. repeat with each bracket and screw. Remember, if you mess up, this section will be covered with your shelves eventually!
- When the brackets are up, lay your shelves on top making sure to put them in exactly the right place. Carefully mark where the brackets line up with the wood underneath
- Transfer this mark to the side of your wood where you will drill with a square and pen
- Use a clamp to clamp at least 3 pieces of wood together to keep your wood stable
- Put your 11/16 drill bit on your drill and start drilling some practice holes in your scrap wood
- Go to town on your REAL piece of wood! Remember if you make mistakes, it is just wood, and you can buy more until you get it just right!
- Put the wood on your brackets carefully and make sure it is level
- Take your wood off and stain, then put it back on
- Admire your hard work!!
This project easily could have turned into a DIY nightmare, but that’s why it’s so important not to give up on projects like this!
What was one of the hardest DIY projects you ever tackled??