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DIY Floating Corner Shelves For The Pantry

My plan for my pantry includes four L-shaped shelves, and I got the first one built yesterday. I was uncertain how floating shelves would work in a pantry where I want to store heavy items like dinnerware, but these DIY floating corner shelves turned out to be very strong. I have no doubt they’ll hold whatever I need to store on them.

Here’s how my first shelf turned out…

DIY floating corner shelves in my pantry

Obviously, it still needs to be primed and painted, but I’ll wait and do that after all four shelves are built. The shelves and upper wall will all be painted the same white, so I’ll just do it all at the same time.

DIY Floating Corner Shelves Step-By-Step:

1. Measure and cut back support piece for one side.

I started on the side wall since it has support on each end (i.e., the cabinet and the wall) and would be the easiest to build. I measured the width for the shelf…

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Build DIY floating corner shelves - step 1 - take measurements

…and then I cut a piece of 1″ x 2″ lumber that same width. I had marked the location of the studs on the wall, so I transferred those same marks to this piece of lumber.

DIY floating corner shelves - cut 1" x 2" lumber for the back support

2. Cut middle shelf support pieces and attach to back support.

Next I cut three pieces of 2″ x 2″ lumber, cut to 10.5 inches, and spaced them relatively evenly on the 1″ x 2″ board, avoiding the areas were I marked for studs. Then I attached these to the 1″ x 2″ board using wood glue and two 2.5-inch screws per piece screwed through the 1″ x 2″ board and into the ends of the 2″ x 2″ pieces.

DIY floating corner shelves - cut shelf frame pieces and attach to back support

3. Attach assembly to the wall, and attach front frame piece.

With that assembled, I attached it to the wall using 3-inch screws where I had marked for studs. I used little scraps of 1/2-inch plywood as spacers between the tile and the 1 x 2 to allow room for the plywood that would be attached in a later step.

I also cut two additional pieces of 1″ x 2″ lumber, cut to 10.5 inches, and attached one directly to the wall on the left side and the other directly to the cabinet on the right side.

DIY floating corner shelf - attach shelf frame to wall by screwing it into studs

Then I cut another piece of 1″ x 2″ lumber to the width of the shelf and attached it to the front of the framework using wood glue and 1.5-inch 16-gauge nails.

DIY floating shelf - attach the framework to the wall by screwing it into studs.

4. Build another frame to create L-shaped shelf.

Next, I built the framework for the other wall in the same way and attached it to the wall where I had marked for studs…

DIY L-shaped floating shelf - attach the framework to the wall and to the first frame to create the L shape

And just as I had added the end 1″ x 2″ pieces on the first shelf, I added an end 1″ x 2″ piece for this shelf as well, attaching it directly to the front of that side shelf framework.

DIY floating corner shelf - attach framework together to create the L shape

Next, I cut and attached the front 1″ x 2″ piece in the same way as I did for the side shelf.

DIY floating corner shelf - framework installed to create the L shape

In the picture above, you’ll notice two things. First, I don’t have a framework piece on the very end by the window. I couldn’t place one there because of the location of the stud, but I wasn’t worried about that because the trim piece that I’d be attaching later would act as the end support piece as well.

And second, you’ll notice that I also beefed up the support on this end. Not only did I add two additional screws into that end stud, but I also added two additional pocket screws holding that end 2″ x 2″ piece firmly to the back 1″ x 2″ piece. So that end 2″ x 2″ piece not only has the two original screws holding it on, but it also has two pocket screws that I attached after the bracket had been attached to the wall. I just wanted this end to have as much support as possible.

5. Cut 1/2-inch plywood to cover the frame of the floating shelf on top and bottom.

Next, I used my amazingly handy Kreg circular saw rip cut guide to rip some 1/2-inch plywood to fit on top and on bottom of the shelf, which I attached with wood glue and 1.5-inch 16-gauge nails.

DIY floating corner shelf - attach 1/2-inch plywood to top and bottom of shelf frame

And then I repeated that process on the side shelf.

DIY floating corner shelves - framework attached to wall and covered with 1/2-inch plywood on top and bottom

Here’s a peek at the underside of the shelf. I had mentioned earlier that I used little scrap pieces of 1/2-inch plywood as spacers above the tile, and now you can see why. This plywood fit perfectly between the tile and the bottom of the shelf bracket.

DIY floating shelves - framework covered with 1/2-inch plywood on top and bottom

6. Attach trim pieces to the edges of the DIY floating corner shelves.

And the last step of this build was to add trim pieces around the side and front edges of the shelf. I mitered the outside corner, which you can see below, but I didn’t bother mitering that inside corner where the shelves meet. No one will notice on the finished shelf that that’s a butt joint. 🙂

DIY floating corner shelves - attach trim to the edges of the shelves to cover the plywood edges

7. Add the finishing touches — wood filler, sanding, priming, and painting.

With the build done, I started loading up all of the nail holes and cracks with wood filler. And if you’re wondering, this is the wood filler I use now…

waterproof wood filler

I discovered this when I was working on my front porch steps and I needed something really durable to fill nail and screw holes. My experience with using regular wood filler outside hadn’t been good (even though it was labeled interior/exterior), so I went searching for something new. This one isn’t water-soluble, and it smells strongly of acetone (think nail polish remover), but it’s incredibly durable and just as easy to use as the regular water-soluble kind. It’s the only kind I’ll use outside from now on, and I’ve also started using it on my indoor projects. The label is upside down, and you’re supposed to store it upside down, which seems strange, but every time I’ve forgotten to do that, the wood filler is dried out the next time I open it up to use it.

Anyway, I use wood filler very liberally, and I really loaded up that crack where the two pieces of plywood meet on the top and bottom of the shelf. I wanted those to pretty much disappear after it was sanded.

DIY floating corner shelves - fill the cracks with wood filler and then sand

So after a lot of wood filling, sanding, and then caulking where the shelf meets the wall, cabinet and window trim, it was finished and ready for primer and paint.

DIY floating shelf after wood filling and sanding

I still can’t get over how sturdy this DIY floating corner shelf is! I’ll be able to confidently put just about anything I want up there with no issues at all…and no brackets needed.

DIY floaitng corner shelves with cracks filled with wood filler and sanded

So that’s one DIY floating corner shelf down, and just three more to go. 🙂

EDIT: Here’s how the shelves turned out after caulking, priming and painting…

DIY floating corner shelves - the finished pantry shelves holding dishes


UPDATE:

My pantry is finished! Want to see the entire project from start to finish? You can find every single post about the pantry build right here…

Or you can skip to the end and see how it turned out. Here’s a peek of the finished pantry…

Butler's pantry remodel with dark teal lower cabinets, floating corner shelves, and whitewashed wood countertop

You can see more pictures on the before and after post right here…



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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Nancy
    November 9, 2018 at 10:06 am

    These shelves are awesome! They are very sturdy and will look and function beautifully. I must tell you, as you were asking for opinions on colors I never chimed in. I’m probably more conservative in my color choices (for my own home), but ALWAYS love how your color combinations turn out. I wish I was as bold as you are, I guess you could almost say I’m more fearful of color. But let me say I was so wrong in my (unspoken) choice of colors for your tile. The purple pops of color are just what was needed. And although I liked the purple cabinet colors, I’m so glad you went with your favorite teal color-it all comes together so effortlessly! And painting your freezer, WOW, just WOW! I like that idea better than the idea my sweet daughter-in-law had of painting the freezer door with White Board paint…they keep a running tally of what is inside, so they don’t have to keep opening the door. (still a good idea, just not as pretty as yours.) As everyone else has said before, Kristi you are very talented and a wonderful encourager to the rest of us along with overly generous with your tutorials. THANK YOU!

  • Reply
    Susan
    November 9, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Oh my goodness, after every post I become more and more impressed with your craftsmanship. I don’t know if my husband has your talent and he was an industrial arts teacher. I cant wait to see when your pantry is completed although I am enjoying the updates. And yes, your favorite color looks stunning with your tiles.

  • Reply
    Rebecca B
    November 9, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Kristi I think the shelves look spectacular. I can’t believe you got them to hold up! On another note, I was wondering about what you painted under the wall tiles that you installed the other day. Do you put tiles on top of primer?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      November 9, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Yep, just primer. I made sure that I gave it at least 48 hours to dry thoroughly before installing the tiles. That’s not really the best idea. Generally, it’s better to give it much more time before installing tiles over it, but I didn’t have time. 🙂 And two-day-old primer was better than installing tile on bare drywall, which is never recommended.

  • Reply
    Mark Tisdale
    November 9, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Love that style of shelf – thanks for sharing the steps to build it.

    And still enjoying the progress on the pantry. Going to look awesome when it’s done, I’m sure!

  • Reply
    Sue
    November 9, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Those look great and should be very sturdy for a long, long time. Love the look of the open shelving. So much easier to find what you’re looking for.

  • Reply
    Carol
    November 9, 2018 at 11:03 am

    These shelves are great! I’m loving these tutorials! It is so helpful to understand the thinking behind the steps. I do have a question: is there a reason for not cutting the top and bottom flat pieces to be flush with the supports? Looking so good!!!

    • Reply
      Kristi
      November 9, 2018 at 11:16 am

      There’s no GOOD reason. 🙂 I just accidentally set my Kreg circular saw guide to cut 1/8″ wider than my measurement (an oversight on my part – I’ll blame it on the really enthralling podcast I was listening to at the time 😀 ), and rather than taking the pieces back to cut off 1/8″, I decided that once the trim pieces were on, it wouldn’t matter anyway. So I took the easy way out. 😀 But had I set the Kreg guide to the correct measurement, the plywood would have been flush with the front edge of the support.

      • Reply
        Carol
        November 9, 2018 at 1:06 pm

        Ah! Got it. Thanks so much for the reply. I’ve got to say, I love this explanation! For some reason it gives me confidence to dig in and just deal with what comes my way. Thank you!!!!

      • Reply
        Gilmer Gal
        November 10, 2018 at 12:30 pm

        I think the overlapped top and bottom look really nice! Like you did it on purpose. All the others I have seen are flush.

  • Reply
    CathyR
    November 9, 2018 at 11:19 am

    This reminds me of how the Lack shelf from IKEA is installed. It came with a flat metal piece with 3 rods protruding from it. Looked like an E if you stood it on end. Then the shelf had corresponding holes drilled into the shelf and slid right over the rods. Genius! I had never seen anything like that before.
    Yours looks similar but so much more finished, and I’m envious of those perfect mitered corners! Well done 👍👍😉😉

    • Reply
      Kristi
      November 9, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Oh, don’t be fooled. Those mitered corners aren’t perfect. That’s the beauty of wood filler, my friend! 😀 When you lack the skills of a finish carpenter, wood filler and caulk are your best friends. And believe you me, I always have plenty on hand. 😀

      • Reply
        CathyR
        November 9, 2018 at 2:22 pm

        Ah contraire mon ami, your skills are wicked good! You move doorways for heavens sake🤩🤩

  • Reply
    Patty
    November 9, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Love the shelf! I did use decorative brackets on my pantry shelves (the ones I have finished so far) and have been a bit annoyed because the brackets limit what I can put on the shelves. I love the way they look but can’t really put anything very tall at all under where a bracket is. These floating shelves will be so much more functional for you! I am picking up my extra dishwasher for the pantry today and will have it installed next week, then I’ll be ready for your cabinet building tutorial! LOL

  • Reply
    Sewducky
    November 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

    That wood filler reminded me of a trick to soften hardened filler (in case you didn’t know) It’s pretty much add acetone, seal the can and wait then open and stir, until it’s all stirred in. You store it upside down to keep the vapors from slowly leaking out and drying up the filler. There’s an E-how article on it..

    https://www.ehow.com/how_7457336_soften-wood-filler.html.

  • Reply
    Brenda Pawloski
    November 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Now that you’re about to have a pantry to fill, are you still thinking about getting the counter top ice maker that makes Sonic ice? I had to look that up recently because my husband and I were discussing it. Are there any other items of cookware or food prep you’re thinking of now that you’ll have more room?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      November 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      I’m so torn on that ice machine. Sometimes I’m absolutely sure I want it, and other times I think it would be a waste of space. After all, I live a mile from Sonic and go there literally twice a day for tea. Now that I have a big upright freezer with convenient access, it would be so easy to just buy a bag of Sonic ice each week and store it in the freezer. So I’m still not sure about the ice maker. The only other appliance I might want is a bread maker. I found a recipe that’s supposedly the absolute best low carb bread (found it on YouTube), but she used a bread maker instead of the oven. Other than that, I can’t think of anything new I’ll get, but I’m excited to finally have storage room for all of the cookware, china and random kitchen items that have been piled in the corner of my studio for so long now.

      • Reply
        Brenda Pawloski
        November 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        I’m excited for you! Lol, I know someone in Columbus GA who goes to Golden Doughnut every day just to buy a couple big cups of ice! If it’s an addiction surely it’s a benign one!

      • Reply
        Betsy
        November 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm

        Not having any kind of ice maker, for several years now we too have been contemplating getting a countertop ice maker. If you do it Kristi, please let us know how you like it. As for bread machine, I don’t care for them but I do have a Welbilt Dough Maker that I’ve had for many years -and highly recommend- and just love. I think it isn’t made any longer so I knead 😀 to keep mine going for as long as possible because I don’t like the kneading part but I do like to mesh the ingredients, shape it myself, and bake it in the oven.

        • Reply
          Susie
          November 10, 2018 at 7:21 am

          I have a counter top ice maker and LOVE IT! It makes ice very very quickly and can be moved around the house and outdoors depending on where the gathering is. When not in use, it stores in the casserole dish closet. So that’s my two cents for anybody who might be considering a countertop. Hope it helps.

          • Reply
            Betsy
            November 11, 2018 at 7:09 pm

            Thank you for that. Can you tell me what brand you have?

  • Reply
    chiflipper
    November 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial. Question; will your gorgeous tiles be “in shadow” because of the shelf? That would break my heart.

    • Reply
      Kristi
      November 9, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      I’ll be installing some undercounter LED tape lights to shed some light under the bottom shelves.

    • Reply
      Sherre
      November 12, 2018 at 5:21 am

      I’m glad I read the comments because I had just come here to ask the same thing- if you were considering “under-shelf” lighting. I think it’ll pick up the metallics in the tiles nicely!

  • Reply
    Marianne in Mo.
    November 9, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Another great tutorial of your work! And if you ever should find that the shelves need extra support ( not likely) you could reverse the bracket so that the “leg” goes upwards, hence making it appear that the shelves are hanging from brackets. Limits item placement, but avoids drilling into the awesome tiles. It wouldn’t be as strong this way, but it would give extra support. Hope you won’t be working until midnight tonight!

  • Reply
    Kristi C
    November 9, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    You’ve made fantastic progress!!

    Just had to ask — have you considered taking the tiles all the way up to the ceiling or at least to the top shelf? I know that would mean making a ton more tiles but I think that it would look stellar. Or if you want to leave it as an option for the future you might want to space your shelves to be an exact number of tile heights apart. Just a thought!

  • Reply
    Karen
    November 10, 2018 at 5:46 am

    Just a quick note on the bread maker: I bake a lot of bread and always do it in the oven. I’m with the commentor above that good machine for kneading the dough is a great help as it give your wrists a rest, but the oven makes nicer bread as you can experiment with different heat settings and sizes of bread, both options which you don’t really have with a bread maker. All my friends who bought one in recent years have gone back to baking their bread in the regular oven instead – and those (rather expensive) machines sit around idly, gathering dust and occupying valuable space…
    The shelf looks stunning and I will eventually use this tutorial to build my own, as i trust the shelf would carry a lot of weight (as opposed to the ikea flating shelf mentioned above which comes with a very limited weight recommendation…), so thank you for another great tutorial!
    I hope you can enjoy the weekend and take a break, you deserve it!

  • Reply
    Susie
    November 10, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Yet another stellar tutorial. Thank you! And…. You do know that this pantry is going to be totally dreamy. Oh how I wish I had the space for one, too!! Anyhoo….hang in there….you are almost at the beautiful finish line.

  • Reply
    cyd
    November 10, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I scroll through the pictures just so I can admire the tiles over and over. I imagine that’s similar to you walking into the room and going “aaaahhh.” Love the shelves also. Such a clean look.

    • Reply
      Tenney
      November 10, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      I went back up to also scroll through the pictures after this comment, and noted how many outlets you have (so wonderful in a pantry!). So, of course, the thought popped into my head – can you alcohol ink and resin outlet covers to match? Your work is great, and I’m really enjoying watching it all come together. Thanks!

      • Reply
        Kristi
        November 10, 2018 at 1:45 pm

        Already done. 🙂 Well, they’re not actually finished. I did one coat of resin/alcohol inks on them, but they still look a bit “flat” compared to the tiles, which have three coats of resin on them, giving the appearance amazing depth. I probably won’t do three coats on the outlets covers, but I at least want to do one more.

  • Reply
    Val from UK
    November 10, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for the great tutorial!

  • Reply
    Laura Leigh Stroud
    November 10, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Beautiful! You talented MARVEL!
    I know this may sound stupid….but you show pictures of your ‘wood filling….’ but could you show some of us less knowledgeable people some pictures and tips of your ‘caulking skills on your projects’ Please. Thanks for sharing everything you do

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