Build your own floating shelf – floating shelf with tree edge

DIY floating shelf
floating shelf

Do you want to build your own floating shelf? Here you will find instructions for building a floating shelf or a suspended shelf with a tree edge. In addition, I will show you how you can optionally insert a metal strip into the shelf as an inlay.

Required tool

  • cordless screwdriver
  • router* (optional)
  • random orbit sander
  • drilling aid

Required material

[3 pc.] 60x40x1000mm square timber oak*
[2 pc.] Shelf support*
Aluminum flat bar 1000x15x2mm*
Sandpaper Set*
15mm grooving cutter* (optional)
30mm Forstner bit*
10mm wood drill*
12mm wood drill*
Antique wax for surface treatment*

Build your own floating shelf – preparations

There you can get the oak squared timber in the dimensions 60x40mm. On request it is also possible to obtain offcuts with a wane. You can also easily specify a desired size. The shop provides an extra input field for this purpose.

Edit tree edge

First you should work on the edge of the tree and, if necessary, remove the bark residue with a chisel* and then sand it down in several passes. The edging piece I used looked like this to start with. The next picture is the result after sanding.

You can sand away the rough heels with a random orbit sander and coarse sandpaper (40 grit). After that, you should gradually work your way up to finer grits. I sanded my tree edge to 320 grit.

Glue squared timber

After you have sanded down the edge of the tree, you can glue the three squared oak timbers together. When pressing the squared timber with the edge of the tree, it is best to stretch a wooden wedge between the screw clamp and the edge of the tree to compensate for the incline. If you don’t do this, it can happen that the screw clamp slips away when you clamp it.

sand the surface

In order to get a smooth and pleasant surface on your DIY floating shelf, you can sand the surface with the eccentric sander* in several passes up to grit 320* .

Build a DIY floating shelf yourself

Optional – incorporate aluminum strip

As a visual highlight, I wanted to embed an aluminum strip in this self-built floating shelf. All of this is of course optional. A 15mm wide groove must be milled into the floating shelf for the 15mm aluminum strip* . So that the groove is milled cleanly, I recommend working with a parallel stop. You can use a rip fence for the router* , but it’s actually not necessary. It is completely sufficient if you tighten a wooden strip on the floating shelf and use it as a guide.

With the router* you can now mill out the groove in one step. The linked aluminum flat bar is 2mm thick. I deliberately set the milling cutter a little deeper than 2mm so that the metal inlay is not scratched so quickly later when objects are on the shelf. The aluminum bar sits slightly deeper in the wood.

Carefully insert the strip into the groove without gluing it directly. The aluminum strip* will probably protrude at the ends of the shelf. You can simply saw off the protruding part with a conventional hacksaw* . 

Brackets for wall mounting – install shelf supports

It is best to sink two shelf supports* on the back of the floating shelf as wall brackets . The sinking is necessary so that the floating shelf later lies flush against the wall. If you do without a countersunk installation, a gap will later appear between the wall and the shelf.

After you have made rough markings for the positions of the shelf supports on the back of the shelf, you can use a 30mm Forstner bit* to drill four indentations next to each other in the shelf. The indentation should be 12-13mm so that the fastening rail of the shelf supports disappears completely in it.

Build your own floating shelf – the surface treatment

Finally, as always, comes the surface treatment. This time I wanted to try a new finish. I chose neither the hardwax oil nor the linseed oil varnish. Instead, this time I’m going to use antique wax* . This wax does not burn too much and creates a pleasant feel. The surface feels even softer than when using hardwax oil. As always, the same applies here: apply in the direction of the grain. At the end wipe it over again and let it soak in for a while. It is best to do two or three passes.