We get tons of questions about installing floating shelves, so I’ve been wanting to make a quick and easy guide for a while. This week as I was installing some shelf samples in the showroom, I thought it would be a great chance to take some pictures of how I approach floating shelves.. While this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide, it should help explain the process and provide some guidance.
Lay out locations of rods. You’ll need to make sure the rods are embedded into studs. In this case, I used two 12” long pieces of ½” diameter allthread for my 3’ long shelf. My general rule of thumb is to use two rods for shelves up to 3’ long, three rods for shelves 3’-6’ long and four rods for shelves 6’-8’ long.
Drill holes in the wall for the rods. I used a 9/16” diameter auger bit and drilled 4” deep — you want to go pretty much all the way through the stud but no deeper.
Drill the rod holes in the back of the shelf. I drilled 9/16” holes and made sure I went about ½” deeper than the distance that the rods stick out from the face of the wall. My rule of thumb is you want the rods embedded about two thirds to three quarters of the depth of the shelf. This is a 12” shelf, so I will have about 8” of rod embedded in the floating shelf. One quick tip: Note the level clamped to the shelf board. I’m using this not as a level but as a straightedge to help me sight the drill bit. You can guage if you are straight side to side as well as if you’re straight up and down. This trick makes drilling a perfectly aligned deep hole in the edge of a board or beam super easy.
Dry fit the whole assembly to make sure the holes line up and the rods aren’t too long.
Glue the rods into the back of the shelf. I used PL3 – a high strength construction adhesive. You want to make sure there are no voids once the rods are in — you should have some adhesive squeeze out of the hole as you seat the rods all the way in. Use gloves when working with glue (I didn’t and my hands were discolored for a couple of days…)
Now inject your adhesive into the holes in the studs.
Install the shelf with rods into the wall holes, checking for level.
Use a temporary prop if necessary to lift one end or the front edge of the shelf to make it level. Remove prop after adhesive sets up fully.
So there you go — a quick and dirty run down of the steps involved in installing a floating shelf.