DIY Primitive Floating Shelves

Pic 1

Repeat after me: warmer weather is just around the corner. We’ve got something that will brighten up your space as well as your spirit during this cold spell and won’t leave your wallet empty. Lately, I’ve been finding myself staring at this small, blank wall in my living room and unsure of what to do with it. Do I add a large picture? No. What about some sort of metal art décor? I can’t seem to find any of those I like either. Then what? What other option could there possibly be if I’m being so picky about this?! Ah-hah! Floating shelves!

I didn’t want just any floating shelves though. I also didn’t want to spend much. If I can get anything for a next-to-nothing price, sign me up. Shopping around online didn’t help much. Sure, there were/are beautiful chunky primitive-styled shelves that look exactly like what I’d want for my living room, but not at the price I was willing to pay. So my next option was to create my own. For just under $40, I created 3 primitive floating shelves that complement the rest of the décor in my home. I’d love to show you how so that you, too, can do this yourself in a matter of 2-3 hours.

I chose to create 4 ft. long shelves for this project so in order to achieve a smaller or larger look, the cost and materials of your project may vary.

For each shelf, I used the following pine lumber:

Two 1×6 @ 48” each

One 1×4 @ 49.5”

Two 1×4 @ 5.5” each

One 2×2 @ 48”

Three 2×2 @ 3” each

Other materials used/needed:

Miter Saw

Nail gun



Painter’s tape


Stud finder

Wood glue (optional)

#10 2 1/2” wood screws (at least 25 to allow for any errors)

1 ¼” finish nails (18 gauge)

Wood stain of your choice (I chose to use MinWax Provincial)


I started this project by using painter’s tape to adjust the position and size of how long I would want my shelves/where the placement would be/etc. It’s more for visual aid purposes, but for someone like me, I wasn’t sure initially just how long I wanted them to be or how high up the wall I wanted them to go. I also used a stud finder and marked on the tape where each stud was located to assist with assembly later on. From this point, I know that I want the additional shelves to go below where I marked with a 15” gap of space between each one. I would note, though, that these should be at a height that small children cannot reach. They will be secure on these anchors, but I’d hate for a little one to pull enough to bring the whole shelf down on top of them.

Next, the 2×2 pieces of wood were cut, with the 3” pieces attached on the left, center, and right section of each 12” 2×2 piece. Secure each 12” 2×2 to any available studs for additional support. Each 3” piece located on the ends of your 12” will need to be flush. Any sort of overhang will prohibit your floating shelf from securely attaching to the anchor you’re creating. If your 3” pegs are loose enough, you may be able to spin them in order to find a side that might be flusher and allow for a secure fit later on.

Pic 3












After each anchor was created, I assembled the shelves. I would like to mention that before I assembled each box, I ensured that the edges of my boards were smooth by using a small amount of sandpaper. The 1×4 @ 5.5” will be the side pieces for each box, while the remaining 1×4 is used as a front piece. I say “front” because the top and bottom pieces are both 1×6 and the backside of this box is open and is to be fit onto the anchor. I chose to assemble each box with 1 ¼” finish nails and a nail gun, but I suppose wood glue or whatever adhesive you have in mind would also do. However, I noticed that some of my shelves fit a little more snug on the anchors which caused slight separation in a few spots on my shelves. It was such a small issue that I was able to lightly hammer the spots where I had nailed and they popped right back into place, leaving no gaps or spaces between any of my boards.


After everything was installed, all touch-ups were made, and the staining process was complete, I was happy to finally sit back and admire this once blank space. It is now home to 3 beautiful primitive floating shelves that would’ve cost me a fortune elsewhere, plus I still would’ve had to install them myself!

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