DIY Faux Floating Shelves

Installing DIY faux floating shelves made from old barn wood in a small bathroom.

Add a rustic touch to a small bathroom by installing DIY faux floating shelves over the toilet for much needed storage.

Slowly but surely I’m making progress in the bathroom. The painting is done, the vanity is in, the new lights and new mirror are up. We’ve also added a couple of faux floating shelves for some much needed storage.

I’d like to give equal time to every project (and stall for time while I finish up the vanity 😉 ), so we’ll focus on the faux floating shelves today.

I wanted something on the wall over the toilet, and I needed some storage (this bathroom is teeny tiny), so shelves were the right call. Budget is always a consideration when I do a project and this one was no different. After looking at several options, we ditched the idea of buying pre-made shelves and went with something we could DIY.

DIY Faux Floating Barn Wood Shelves

I had a couple of scrap pieces of old barn wood leftover from our Illinois kitchen remodel, so we decided to use that. The biggest issue we had was how to attach the wood to the wall so that they would be sturdy enough to hold decor and bathroom necessities.

My first thought was to use shelf brackets but the studs were in odd places behind the sheetrock, and we needed to hit them in order to keep the shelves from falling down. We had no idea what to use so the project stalled until I found these aluminum flat bars. It was the perfect size and it gave us just enough room to add holes so we could attach the shelf to the wall, and hit 2 studs.

aluminum rod from The Home Depot

The Home Depot

One $11 strip was all we needed for both shelves, making this project come in way under budget.

aluminum rod from The Home Depot
It probably took us longer to measure everything. We had to be certain we knew where the studs were so we could drill the holes in the strip.

How to make floating shelves…

Once all the measurements were taken and we knew where the studs were, it was time to get the shelves ready to hang.

To attach the aluminum strip to our precut wood, we drilled 3 holes in the strip and 3 holes in the wood, evenly spaced. Then we drilled the 2 holes in the strip that lined up with the studs, so that the screws would hit the studs.

Adding DIY faux floating shelves over the toilet in a small bathroom.

Once all the holes were drilled into the strip, we attached it to the wood. We did this by lining up the 3 holes across the wood with the 3 holes in the strip. Once the strip was attached to the wood, the shelf was ready to be attached to the wall.

All that measuring (and…let’s be honest…a little bit of arguing) paid off. We were able to get them up, level and secure on the first shot.

It sounds complicated but it wasn’t, and it actually worked very well. I wouldn’t put anything super heavy on the shelf, but they are very sturdy.

Adding DIY faux floating shelves over the toilet in a small bathroom for or much needed storage.

There is just enough space to add a little bit of decor among a few necessities. I also love that the old wood adds some warmth to the room.

How to add a rustic touch to a small bathroom by installing a couple of DIY faux floating shelves over the toilet for much needed storage.

How to add a rustic touch to a small bathroom by installing DIY faux floating shelves over the toilet for much needed storage.

Hope your week is a good one!

We also added industrial barn wood shelves to a guest bedroom in our Illinois house. It’s one of my most pinned projects on Pinterest.

barn wood shelves pinterest 4DIY Barn Wood Industrial Shelves

And I added a set of shelves in our new kitchen for under $50.

Adding DIY wood shelves to a kitchen for under $50, using old barn wood and shelf brackets from Home Depot.DIY Kitchen Shelves for Under $50

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  1. Monday,November 14, 2016 / 4:16 pm

    Looks awesome dear! You guys did a great job!

    • Kristi
      Tuesday,November 15, 2016 / 2:53 am

      Thanks Vel, I’m thrilled with the way they turned out.

  2. Tuesday,November 15, 2016 / 6:54 am

    This is great, I’ve never seen the floating style done with reclaimed wood before.

    • Kristi
      Thursday,November 17, 2016 / 3:31 am

      Thanks so much, Tracey. I’ll find any excuse to reclaimed wood in a project. 😉

  3. Debbie H
    Tuesday,November 15, 2016 / 8:52 pm

    Great idea and look good too.

    • Kristi
      Thursday,November 17, 2016 / 3:34 am

      Thanks Debbie. Hope you’re doing well, my friend.

  4. Tuesday,November 15, 2016 / 11:37 pm

    I had no idea that was how the floating shelves were done. It makes for all kinds of possibilities ! They look great in your bathroom. Looking forward to seeing the whole room done.

    • Kristi
      Thursday,November 17, 2016 / 3:37 am

      Thanks Leigh! I think floating shelves are done a little bit differently than my version, but I really wanted to use that wood (and not spend a lot of money), so we had to improvise. 😉

    • Kristi
      Monday,November 21, 2016 / 4:56 am

      Thanks so much, Sam, I really appreciate it! 🙂

    • Kristi
      Monday,November 21, 2016 / 4:57 am

      Thanks so much!

  5. Tuesday,November 22, 2016 / 9:52 am

    Great idea! and it looks great too.

    • Kristi
      Wednesday,November 23, 2016 / 2:40 am

      Thanks so much, Liz, I love the way they turned out. 🙂

  6. Saturday,December 3, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing at the Monday Funday Party. – Emily

    • Kristi
      Sunday,December 4, 2016 / 12:35 am

      Thanks so much, Emily! 🙂

  7. Mary
    Saturday,February 25, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    Ian having trouble seeing how you attached the flat bar to the wood. Do you have any photos of that part?

    • Kristi
      Monday,February 27, 2017 / 4:45 am

      I’m sorry Mary, I don’t. I couldn’t get a clear closeup of the hubs drilling the holes. We just took the measurement of the length of the board and divided it into three. Then we drilled three holes in the wood, evenly spaced, and three holes in the aluminum strip, so they line up. Then we drilled 2 different holes in the strip where the studs would fall. That’s where we would screw it onto the wall, into the studs. If you look at the one pic with the strap on the wood, you can see the hole for the stud screws and the hole with the screw in it to attach the strap to the wood.

      Hope all this makes sense. It sounds complicated but it’s really not. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  8. lorena diaz
    Saturday,February 25, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    The is AMAZING and awesome good job

    • Kristi
      Monday,February 27, 2017 / 4:47 am

      Thanks Lorena, I really appreciate it! 🙂

  9. Jo
    Sunday,February 26, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Awesome job! Are those bars anything like french cleats? Or did you drill through the bars to hang? Thanks!

    • Kristi
      Monday,February 27, 2017 / 4:49 am

      Thanks so much, Jo. We talked about using french cleats but did this instead (it was easier). So, no french cleats. We just drilled through the aluminum strap and screwed the shelf into the wall studs. They’re very secure. Hope that helps.

  10. Carie
    Friday,July 7, 2017 / 10:46 pm

    Maybe I missed it but how did you cut the aluminum to size?

    • Kristi
      Friday,July 7, 2017 / 11:05 pm

      Hi Carie. We used a hacksaw to cut the aluminum to size. Very easy to do. Hope that helps.

  11. Friday,November 24, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    Very cute & rustic, which I love!

    • Kristi
      Sunday,November 26, 2017 / 1:40 am

      Thanks so much Florence! It’s amazing how old, rustic wood is “in” but I do love it. 🙂

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