Many people forget to include easy-to-access storage space in their bathroom design, and out of necessity, bathroom shelves are added as an afterthought. You might have space inside the vanity and the medicine cabinet, but where do you put small things you need right away, such as cosmetics, toiletries, and razors, not to mention decorative items that personalize your space? Until you get some bathroom shelves, you’ll probably have a clutter problem around the sink. To fix this problem, I created a step-by-step tutorial on how to build a simple DIY Bathroom Floating Shelf for your bathroom.
You can buy bathroom shelves, of course. However, building it yourself gives you the ability to make it any size and shape you want.
Time to Complete
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Start with Cutting Two Back Pieces for the Bathroom Shelf
Take 1×8 board and cut two pieces to 64″ in length with a miter saw. The actual width of the 1×8 is 7 1/4″, so when you combine the two boards together you have a 14 ½” wide shelf.
Step 2 – Drill Pocket Holes and Connect Both 1×8 Boards
Using a Kreg Jig, drill pocket holes on the backside of the 1×8 boards. One of the boards will need to have pocket holes on both left and right sides, and the other board only on the right side. See picture. Connect the boards together using wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Use a Kreg Jig clamp to hold the boards together before driving in the screws. This will prevent the boards from shifting and misaligning.
Step 3 – Cut Side Pieces and Attach to the Backboard of the Shelf
Next, take 1×10 board and cut two pieces to the same length as the backboard, which is 64″ in length. These side boards will need to be attached to the sides of the backboard. But before attaching the boards, use a random orbital sander to sand the back and the side boards. It makes the sanding process much easier when the boards are flat on the workbench. Now attach the boards using wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. The pocket hole should be on the backside of the shelf.
Step 4 – Cut Shelf Boards and Trim Pieces
To cut the shelf boards, use a 1×10 board and cut six pieces to 14 1/2″ in length using a miter saw. Then take the shelf board and rip it to 7 3/4″ in width with a table saw. Now you have 7 ¾” shelf board and 1 ½” trim board. The trim board will actually be slightly smaller than 1 ½” because the saw blade cuts off about 1/8” of an inch.
Step 5 – Attach the Bottom and Top Shelf Pieces
One of the shelf boards will be attached at the top of the shelf and one piece at the bottom. Drill four pocket holes on the top shelf and attach it to the shelf with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. The top shelf board should be flush with the top of the shelf. Then attach the trim board at the very top with wood glue and nail gun (1 1/4″ brad nails). Similar to the top board, the bottom board needs to be attached with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, but it needs to be 3/4″ higher from the bottom of the shelf. Then attach the trim piece flush to the bottom of the shelf.
Step 6 – Connect Trim Pieces to the Shelf Boards
Now take the shelves and attach the trim pieces to the front of each shelf board using wood glue and a nail gun. Then drill four pocket holes at the bottom of each shelf board. To make the sanding and staining process easier, these shelves will be attached later once everything is stained.
Step 7 – Prepare and Stain the Wood
Use a random orbital sander to sand any boards that have not been sanded yet. To prevent the stain from blotchiness, first, apply a coat of pre-stain. Then apply stain with a brush and wipe it off with a clean cloth. After the stain completely dries, apply a coat of polyurethane for protection. For better protection, you may want to apply a second layer of polyurethane.
Step 8 – Secure the Shelf Boards to the Main Frame
Now that the wood is stained and protected with polyurethane, measure and mark the equal distance between the shelf boards. Then attach the shelf boards to the frame with 1 ¼” pocket hole screws.
Step 9 – Find Studs in the Wall for the Shelf
I wanted this shelf to be attached to the wall floating about 12” from the ground. To attach the shelf to the wall, first, you need to find the studs inside the wall using a stud finder. This shelf is too heavy to be attached to drywall by itself. After finding the studs make a small pencil mark on the wall.
Step 10 – Attach the Floating Shelf to the Wall
Typically the studs in the wall are 16” apart so most likely you would need to attach the shelf only to one stud. Raise and hold the shelf against the wall. Then either use wood screws or 2” finish nails to attach the shelf to the wall. Make sure that you are attaching to the studs inside the wall. Use a level to check if the shelf is perfectly straight. You are done with this DIY bathroom floating shelf.