Tutorial on how to build these SUPER sturdy and adorable Mod Kid's Chairs... a Land of Nod Knock-off! {Sawdust & Embryos}

Building a Floating Shelf in your Toilet Cove!

Happy Monday!!! Nick here and we have an exciting project to share with you.  Not only is it the girls birthday today (TWIN TWO-YEAR-OLDS…AHHHH!), but we are going to share with you our most recent custom shelving project!  These can be whipped up at a fraction the cost of store bought, and it’s always a bonus to see something built go up and into it’s place!

Let’s talk about this space… the cubby shelving has served us well for the last few years, but this IS the entrance to the bathroom.

BEFORE {Sawdust and Embryos}

Nothing about this bathroom says “please come in, pop a squat, relax for a while”. Everything just seems sterile, and all about business. If this isn’t bad enough, the main light is in front of the shower and casts a shadow in the toilet cove. Perfect for someone that likes to take a snooze and a dump at the same time. Multi-tasking at it’s finest! Not so great for a evening toilet seeker with questionable aim.

Sorry, what?

Yeah, so we decided to put up some custom shelving and add a little life to this dungeon cove. To accomplish this, Beth and I sat down and discussed what we wanted.  Fortunately we have been doing this long enough that our styles have started to rub off on each other with less compromises to each others theoretical design.

Our list of must-have’s

  • Full Width
  • Evenly Spaced
  • Not Deeper than the toilet’s tank
  • Chunky
  • Floating
  • White

We got started by taking some measurements of the area that we wanted the shelving to be.  For us it is as follows: Width 42”, Depth 8” Thickness 3”.  Now that we had the measurements, We started cutting the boards to size, subtracting the thickness of the ‘skin’ (more on this below).  We subtracted 1/2” (2 1/2”) in from the thickness and a 1/4” from the overall depth (7 3/4”).  In addition we took off a 1/4” from the width for ease of installation (41 3/4”).

Once you have your front and back boards cut to width (41 3/4”), you will want to cut some cross members.  We used a quantity of 4 evenly spaced.  These will need to be cut to your desired depth (7 3/4”) minus your front and back boards thickness (3/4” + 3/4” = 1 1/2”) (7 3/4” – 1 1/2” = 6 1/4”).  When everything is glued together it will equal your desired depth (8”)

Building Floating Shelves {Sawdust and Embryos}  Building Floating Shelves {Sawdust & Embryos}

* Notice the feather boards in the picture to the right.  Not only is this done to help prevent the board from kicking back by keeping the board in line with the blade and in the event a board is kicked back the feather boards will pin the board against the fence and table, it also allows a more consistent cut by providing even pressure toward the fence and table of the saw.

With a square we laid out where our cross members are going to be, gluing and stapling (1/4” x 1 1/4” crown staples) the cross members to the back board.  Once all the cross members have been stapled in place, we flipped the shelf over, glued, checked the cross members for square, and stapled the front.

Building Custom Floating Shelves {Sawdust and Embryos}

   * We use staples. partially because it is what we have and it allows us to continue working without having to wait for glue dry times.  Any type of fastener would work although I would caution using screws as it will likely split the wood (if you go this route please drill a pilot hole first) or just glue and clamp.

Next we devise a plan on how to make this these shelves truly appear floating. We have done these in the past for the girls’ nursery using a different means but this time I wanted to make them in such a way that they would be easily removable and even possibly adjustable.  We cut strips of wood for the back and sides of each shelf (1/2” X 3/8”) keeping the end grain of the wood parallel with the front face of the strips (giving it strength and keeping it from splitting when installed). Then we used a router to cut a slightly large groove in the shelves (sides and back). You can also use a dado blade and table saw.  Then Check for fit. You want to have a little wiggle room.

If you are not comfortable cutting small strips of wood check your local hobby/hardware stores a lot of times they will have small rectangular or square stock on hand. Probably with the dowels or other craft wood supplies.

Build your own Floating Shelves {Sawdust and Embryos}  Floating Shelves Tutorial (Sawdust & Embryos)

Can you see things starting to take shape?  We took our shelves into the bathroom, measured the locations of where we wanted them leveled the strips out, drilled a pilot hole and nailed them into place. Then we checked the fit of the shelves.  Marking and making additional cuts to improve the fit of each shelf.

Custom Floating Shelves {Sawdust and Embryos}

Now for the fun part.  Using 1/4” birch plywood, we measure and cut the ‘skin’ to size. I clamp a piece of plywood onto my fence when I cut angles to keep the wood from sliding under the fence.

When cutting  plywood there will be some chip-out on the bottom side there are different ways to prevent this some of which I may discuss in  a future post(com’n I can’t give all my secrets in one post). For this project I just made sure these cuts where on the inside of the shelf.

TUTORIAL- Floating Shelves (Sawdust and Embryos)  TUTORIAL- Floating Shelves (Sawdust & Embryos)

With the skins cut, glue the top of the shelf’s skeleton and lay the skin on it.  Start lining up the 45* angle on the front and work your way down stapling(1/4”x5/8” crown staples) every 4-5”.  Then staple the rest spacing your staples 6-8” apart.  Do the same for the back.

Floating Shelves Tutorial {Sawdust & Embryos}

Once I get done with the top and bottom, I measure and cut the front just slightly larger then needed test fit, glue the back and the 45* angle and staple into place.

Building your own Floating Shelves (Sawdust and Embryos)

Lastly, we burnish the edges as we did on our crown moulding tutorial. Then fill the staple indentations with wood filler.

Floating Shelves Tutorial (Sawdust and Embryos)  Wood Putty {Sawdust and Embryos}

Beth sanded, primed, and painted white. Then slid these bad boys into their place in the bathroom!

Floating Shelves over Toilet {Sawdust and Embryos}

We picked up some baskets for storage and some Puck Lights on a whim, and decided that it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE! We love it hardcore.

Floating Shelves above Toilet Cove {Sawdust and Embryos}

As always, feel free to ask any questions at all! And if you missed previous installments of our bathroom saga, please feel free to catch up here!

Extending the Bathroom Vanity {Sawdust and Embryos} TUTORIAL- Simple Instructions for Installing a Vessel Sink Faucet {Sawdust and Embryos}
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blank - Copy (3)

* We’re so honored to be a Lowes Creative Influencer, and would like to thank Lowes for providing a giftcard to help out with the cost of this project. Please consider hopping over to check out some of the other amazing projects and get inspired!

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  • christina @ homemade ocean

    Ohhhh holy whoa! Those look amazing!!! Way to go you two :)

    And a very happy birthday to your girls!

  • Renee

    Love it! I wish I had somewhere to do that! I think you should paint the back wall turquoise to match your backsplash. That white would sure pop off of that! Tell your two sweeties Happy Birthday!

  • Mindy Schaper

    Wow. This looks great! The lights really add a lot. This looks like a hotel. No, this looks NICER than a hotel. Great job!

  • Julie @ Living on the Ledge

    That looks great! Happy birthday to your girls!!

  • Stephanie @ Sandpaper and Glue

    huge difference!! I love the look of built ins :)


  • Broke Ass Home

    That looks beautiful!

    Happy Birthday girlies!

  • LaurenMarie

    That looks really great and functional too! You guys do such good work :)

  • LittleMyoo

    WOW! I thought the first shelf was cute, but this is BAM!!! I love it! And happy birthday to your girls!


  • Kenz @ Interiors By Kenz

    So luxurious! I’m sure the questionable aimers will have NO PROBLEM AT ALL! I love it. It looks fantastic!!!

  • Tyra

    I love those floating shelves, I wish you could fly out and do that to my bathroom.

  • Nine Red

    These look great! Those puck lights are surprisingly bright, great job!

  • Anonymous

    You both never fail to amaze me! I wish you both could come remodel our home! : ) I love it looks amazing!

  • Jenn S

    Love it! It makes the space look SO much bigger!

  • Anonymous

    love this!!!!! Puck lites are awesome!!! not too bright to blind you (for those night trips to the bathroom) but more light than a night lite (so you don’t miss the target)

    glad I got to see it in person!!!

  • Megan eReplacementParts

    WOW! I am seriously impressed. This looks so amazing. Thanks for giving us the daytime and nighttime look too. What a difference a day makes.

  • Lindsay

    I love these! How far apart are the shelves (sorry if you stated it, and I missed it) :)

  • Alanna

    This is exactly what I want to do over the toilet in our master bath. Thank you so much!

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