How to build a floating bench! (Works for floating shelves as well)


(For this tutorial our space was 40” wide, shelf was 10 7/8” deep)

Wood (we used hemlock but any wood of your choice will work)
2x4s for frame
2 1/2” Wood screws
Wood glue
2” 16 gauge finish nails
Wood filler
180 grit sandpaper
Stain of choice

Tools needed:

16 gauge Finish nailer
Table saw
Putty knife

Step 1: Building the frame

Here’s what we’re going to build.

Four wooden beams creating a box-like frame for floating shelves.

We used full 2x4s for the frame for the floating benches.

Find the studs along the rear wall as well as the left and right sides of where your shelf will be.

Secure one of the 2×4’s to the studs on the back wall at your desired height and location with the 2 1/2” wood screws. Make sure it is level and secured to studs. If you cannot find any studs, use heavy-duty toggle bolts. Do not make a bench without the use of studs or toggle bolts as it will not hold someone sitting on it.

Secure the depth pieces to the side walls level with the piece you just secured.

Finally place another 2×4 the same length as the backboard, to the front of the 2x4s.

Step 2: Cutting the shelves

For our shelves, we used 1 x 12 Hemlock. For the top and bottom boards, we will be doing a 45-degree miter cut on just one side of the board.

You will want to cut your boards an 1/8” bigger in-depth than your framework to allow space to put the boards together.

One thick piece of wood in between two smaller ones.
Four pieces of wood perfectly fit together.

For the front of the shelves, we will be making 2 miter cuts lengthwise to fit seamlessly along the edge of the top and bottom shelf.

The 45-degree cuts will be opposite miters.

Step 3 – Assembling the Shelves

We chose to finish nailing our boards for added security. The downside to this is you will leave nail holes that will need to be filled. Some stains will highlight them! Glueing them is a great option if they are more for looks!

Secure the bottom of the shelf to your framing with your finish nailer along the back, sides and front of your framing. Repeat these steps for the top shelf as well.

For the front place a decent amount of wood glue on the mitered edges. Secure the front to the framing for added security with the finish nailer. Wipe off excess glue. Add clamps to let the glue dry.

Clamps used to hold the wood with glue in place for floating bench.

Step 4 – Finishing the bench

We use the technique of rolling the cylinder portion of a screwdriver along the front edges of the shelves. This helps close the gaps if there are any. It also rounds out the sharp edges.

Rolling the cylinder portion of a screwdriver along the edges of the shelves to round them out.

Use the putty knife (or finger) and apply the wood filler to all the holes made from the finish nailer. Let dry for about 30 minutes or longer. Next use your sandpaper to sand around nail holes and along the front edges to make a rounded, smooth look.

Finish off by lightly sanding the shelf in its entirety for an overall smooth feel. If there are any gaps along your mitered edges, fill in with wood putty and resand to the desired look.

Ideally, you will want to stain before building your bench. If you decided to do it after, tape around the perimeter of the entire shelf and apply your stain of choice. We would recommend at least 2 coats for a more uniform look. Once dry caulk around the perimeter of the shelf and remove the tape. Always use a wood sealer as a final coat.

Here’s the final look!

Beautiful complete floating bench accompanied by floating shelves above.

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