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How to Upgrade Wire Shelves to Wood Floating Shelves [DIY]

I gave my linen closet a makeover with wood floating shelves that I DIY-ed for under $120.

Wood shelves add warmth and durability to a closet and I can't believe how much better they look than the wire shelving that was there before.

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

wire? no thank you 

Wire shelves come standard in a lot of homes, and frankly they're the worst.

They usually lack durability — hello bending — and aren't very aesthetically pleasing for any design plan.

I recently gave my linen closet a makeover and installed some sturdy and gorgeous floating wood shelves in place of my builder-grade wire ones.

Let's get started with the how-to, but don't forget to pin this post for later.

 

before:

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

  YOU'LL NEED:

DIY Rope Coasters

MATERIALS:

TOOLS:

 

I decided to makeover my linen closet. The whole thing looked like a bomb went off and I'm actually doing a collab with an amazing professional organizer named Whit who is going to help me get my sh*t together — so stay tuned for that reveal.

The first part of this process was upgrading the shelving to uplevel my closet and give Whit a blank slate for organizing.

Measure your closet 

Before you start building shelves, you need to create a design plan for how they'll fit into your space. You want to measure your closet — or nook, these shelves work wherever there are walls on each end to secure them into — and do a little rough sketch to get a visual.

I recommend drawing out both a simple floorplan — looking at it from the top down — and the elevation — looking at it straight on — since accurate measurements are key to getting your shelves to look professional and built-in.

You can see my measurements below:

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

step 01

determine your shelf size

Plan out the vertical and horizontal measurements for your shelves.

Vertical

Each of these floating shelves is 4" wide. I mapped out 4 new shelves using the measurements of my closet and similar spacing to the old shelves I had.

Horizontal

My shelves are the full length of my closet — 64" long — and 16" wide.

The back of my closet was 64 1/4 inches, so I went with 64" for the back of my shelves to give myself a tiny bit of wiggle room.

*The maximum length of shelf you can build with this method is 8ft. unless you add more pieces of plywood

 

My previous wire shelves were 16" wide and I liked the clearance between them and the front of the closet / doors so I stuck with 16"

Planning out some measurements for the frame (pictured above) here's what I did: To get a width of 16", I needed to measure my 2X4's width which is actually 1.5" since that's how lumber is sold.

1.5" + 14.5" = 16"

So I knew I needed my support pieces (perpendicular) to be 14.5" long.

step 02

cut the wood

Cut the seven 2x4s into to this cut list:

  • 4x — 2x4's* that are 64" long
  • 28x — 2x4's* that are 14.5" long

*actual measurements of a 2x4 are 1.5"x3.5"

Cut the 3 pieces of 4'x8' plywood into:

  • 8x — pieces that are 16" wide x 8ft long
  • then cut them down to length — i.e. 16" wide x 64" long

Cut the 4 pieces of 1"x6" into:

  • 4x — pieces that are 4" wide x 64" long

p.s. If you're visual and want the detailed plans that show you exactly how to cut each piece of wood, you can click HERE to download them for free.

After cutting all my pieces, I gave the plywood and 1"x4"x64" pieces a light sanding with my random orbit sander to smooth out the edges where there was a little splintering from the saw and also buff out any uneven or rough areas.

You want to use a high grit (I used 150) sandpaper for this and don't worry about sanding your 2x4 frame pieces — these will be unseen inside your shelves.

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

step 03

stain the outer boards

Stain one side + the edges of the 8x plywood (16" x 64") pieces and 4x 1x6 pieces ( 1"x4"x64")

I used the Briarsmoke stain from Varathane, and applied it using a rag.

Let these dry as you move on to the next step.

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

step 04

build the shelf frames

Space out the 14.5" boards evenly across the 64" board (about 8 3/4" apart) — there should be a board even with each end of the 64" board.

Line them up so that they're square with the edges even and pre-drill two holes for the screws from the back (64" board)

Secure each 14.5" board with 2 screws.

For the sketch above:

A — 1x board that is 2x4* - 64" long

B — 7x boards that are 2x4* - 14.5" long

C — 14x construction screws that are 3" long,  Use 2x per board and 14x total per shelf.

*actual = 1.5"x3.5"

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

step 05

secure the shelf frames to the wall

Before you startFind and mark your studs + mark out the height of each of your shelves in the closet.

Hold your frame against the wall and make sure it's level (it's easiest if you have someone to help you hold)

Once it's lined up, secure it to the wall with screws into the studs.

I used 2x 4.5" construction screws, placing one through my frame and into each side stud in the back of the closet.

I then used some additional 3" screws to secure my frame into the corner studs and on the sides (through my 14.5" boards)

Make sure your shelf spacing is wide enough to fit between your shelves to secure your plywood pieces,

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

step 06

attach the outer boards to the frame

Attaching the plywood boards

Lay the 16"x64" plywood board across the top of the shelf frame.

Secure it in place with the nail gun. I used about 3 nails across each support and 7-10 nails across the back into the back 2x4 board.

You can secure you plywood pieces to your frame with screws, but I prefer a brad nail gun since it makes less noticeable holes.

After your top board is attached, you can add the bottom board the same way, and then move on to attach the plywood pieces to the next frame.

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

Attaching the front boards to the frame

I marked each support stud that's inside the frame on the top and bottom of the plywood boards with a pencil to help me line up my nails when securing.

Hold the 1x4"x64" board up to the front of your frame — make sure it's level and that all the edges of the plywood are covered.

Attach the boards with 2-3 brad nails sunk into each support stud on the edge of the frame.

You'll notice that not all of my studs reach the edge of the plywood. I tried less than 7 support boards at first, but it turned out I needed more boards to keep the shelf fully supported.

TA-DA!!

they're ready to style & organize

GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch
GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch

GRAB THE FREE PLANS & HOW-TO GUIDE!!

Don't forget to pin this post for later!

 

What do you think — are you DIY-ing these floating shelves? How are you customizing them for your space? leave a comment below, or use #neverskipbrunch

p.s. This post may contain affiliate linking. While these links don’t cost extra for you to use, a percentage of all sales made through these links will help fund future Never Skip Brunch content. 

shop things - what you'll need to make this project

pin things - pin images from this post
GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch
GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch
GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch
GENIUS! Replace your ugly wire shelves with DIY Wood floating shelves made from framing lumber! | floating shelves diy easy | floating shelves diy closet | wood floating shelves |  Never Skip Brunch by Cara Newhart | #decor #diy #neverskipbrunch
pin things - pin images from this post

NEVER SKIP BRUNCH by Cara Newhart

I'm Cara, the designer & Chief Creative Enthusiast behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials I want to channel all the good vibes & 'grammable moments of brunch & curate a space that helps you grow your crafty side so you can make like a pro.

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