Pinup DIY! Installing a floating shelf step by step

Have you got a good shoe collection? And excess of hat boxes? Need a place to display your collection of ceramic cats? In this post I am going to take you through an easy “DIY” project that requires minimal time and tools and is an inexpensive way to create more space for storage and display! Not only to these “floating” shelves create a pretty display, they are great for creating a practical little shelf space pretty much anywhere, and are especially handy for those little thought of areas – like above doorways and closets, above beds and wall mounted TVs. I also love how they add depth and texture to a wall arrangement and allow you to show small collectables and interesting objects alongside framed art.

Here are some of the different kinds available and different ways they can be used! They come in many colours, styles and sizes and could even be custom painted in any colour.

In my lounge, there are some to display old books (these are a metal bracket but are installed exactly the same way)  and shelf in a crown moulding style above the TV “wall” for family photos (Yes I love colour, and yes I have a lot of stuff!)

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I have put one up next to my daughter’s top bunk since a bedside table would be impossible! And of course, in my room I have quite a few for shoes 🙂


P1010327Above my closet is a great spot since they make an out of the way display and I can see my favourites! I also have one as you walk in the front door as a landing pad for lipsticks, keys and other easily lost bits and pieces.

This is the shelf I am going to put up, on my side of the bed! Since I decided to re-arrange our bedroom and move the bed against the wall to accommodate more of my vintage obsessions…as a trade off, I got stuck with the wall side – fair enough! So, with the lack of a bedside table, a wall mounted shelf is the perfect solution. I have decided to go for a corner shelf in this instance, here it isP1010319

It cost $22 from Mitre10, and comes with all the necessary hardware to put it up.


Here is the view from the back, which shows how this “floating” business is accomplished! The 2 wooden “installation blocks” attached to the wall, and the decorative shelf fits onto them, with some small hidden screws on top to hold it firmly in place. Simple and brilliant! Because it is hollow, the shelf is also light weight.


With the shelf comes the 4 long screws to mount the blocks to the wall (as well as 4 wall anchors if needed), 2 small wood screws and 2 matching shelf coloured stickers to conceal the screws from the top.

As well you will need

P1010318Necessary –
Tape measure or ruler
Phillips screwdriver(s)

Nice to have-
Drill with correct size drill bits for both the large screws and wall anchors
Rubber mallet to tap the wall anchors into place
Stud finder (To find your wall studs… I wish this did something more exciting!)

Important! If you are attaching your shelf to your average “gib” wall, you will NEED to anchor it with wall anchors, otherwise it will fall off! If you have a stud finder or know where your wall studs are located – great! But unless blessed by some divine intervention, not all of your screws are going to line up with studs anyway. The ones included with this shelf require a drill. BUT if you don’t have one, don’t despair 🙂 You can buy these cheaply at a hardware store
20141023_100959These simply screw into the wall and don’t require any drilling. They DO make a rather large hole in the wall however, so make sure that’s where you really want that shelf or there will be some serious patching required! If you are going to use this method, just select the size that fit’s the screws provided with your shelf, and make sure you have a Phillips screwdriver for both the large mounting and small wood screws.


1. Decide where you would like to place your shelf and hold it up against the wall. Using a pencil, lightly mark at both ends, and both sides for a corner shelf.

2. Using your level (I couldn’t find my small one so have used this simple picture hanging tool), lightly draw draw a line between your marks, just a few mm below (so your fitted shelf covers the pencil lines)

3. These floating type shelves are designed so the block is shorter than the space it fits into, to allow you to position it to maximise stud positions. Mark the position of the space at the back of your shelf along your ruled line using the tape measure so you can position the block within that space. If there is a stud available in that space, you won’t need the wall anchor. Otherwise, just centre the block approximately. Holding the block against the line, mark the screw holes using a this sharp drill bit or screwdriver.

4.  I’d suggest flipping the power off to the room you are working in at your fuse box, just to be safe! Especially if you are drilling into the wall without checking the wiring behind. Electrocution might slow down this quick project! Drill your holes marked with the correct size drill bit for the long wood screws (mine was 5/32″). If you do not hit a wood stud, re-drill with a larger drill bit the size of the wall anchors (mine was 1/4″) – or screw in the non drill wall anchors. Tap in the wall anchors (if needed) with the mallet.

5. Mount block onto the holes using the 4 large screws, using either the electric drill or your Phillips screwdriver. Make sure it is firm against the wall without over tightening.

6. Place the shelf onto the blocks, and attach using the small screws and a small Phillips screwdriver. Cover the screws with the coloured stickers provided.

And that’s it! My kind of DIY… simple and satisfying 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this post, as warmer weather warms my lazy bones I have may more DIY projects coming up I can’t wait to share!

Lorelei Louise xx



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3 thoughts on “Pinup DIY! Installing a floating shelf step by step

  1. Thanks for sharing this great project! 🙂

    I publish blog on DIY Garden Art (Hypertufa) and while this project would be sort of off-topic, I’m still tempted to share this on my blog one of these days.

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