DIY live edge shelf rustic floating shelves in kitchen

DIY Design: How to Make A Live-Edge Floating Shelf

Live-edge floating shelves made from textured wood slabs are dominating the design world, but they're not cheap! Making your own DIY version is a far more cost-effective way to nail the look. It's a trendy, sophisticated way to display your colorful houseplants on the wall, complementing their natural beauty with the distinctive look of rustic, raw wood. 


Here's Everything You Need To Make Live-Edge Floating Shelves

The most critical component of your live-edge floating shelf DIY project is, of course, the wood slab. Luckily, you don't need a very big one to make a shelf. Unsure of where to find one? Here are some places to look:

  • Hardware stores
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Local timber companies
  • Etsy or other online artisan markets
  • Or, try procuring your own by cutting a slice from a fallen tree if you've got the necessary equipment and expertise. If you have any friends who know how to wield a chainsaw, why not call in a favor?


In addition to your wood slab, you'll need these supplies to complete your DIY live-edge shelf:

  • Floating shelf brackets and hardware
  • Wall anchors
  • Linseed oil or dewaxed shellac
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Drill
  • 220–300 grit sandpaper
  • Miter saw (optional, to clean up the edge of your wood slab if it's looking a bit too rough). 


floating live edge shelves oldsoulandember IG

Photo by oldsoulandember


How To Make a Live-Edge Floating Shelf In 7 Steps

  1. Smooth the rough edges of your slab with sandpaper. If needed, use a miter saw to clean up any splintering bits jutting out from the edge.
  2. Measure and mark where your drill holes will go so your bracket posts match up. The shelf will conceal the bracket once it's assembled on the wall. For your shelf to fit onto the bracket, it needs to have its holes spaced precisely where the bracket posts sit. This way, the shelf will slide right into place. Depending on your chosen bracket, you may have one large one with multiple posts or 2–3 small ones with single posts; you can space out to your preferred size. Make sure you measure carefully! 
  3. Measure the length of the bracket post and use a drill bit large enough to create a hole of the same depth. Drill your holes into the wood slab, being careful not to splinter the wood. Blow into the hole and give it a tap to remove any sawdust. Slide your shelf onto the bracket posts to double-check that the holes line up. Remove the slab from the posts before you attach the bracket to the wall.
  4. Using a level, draw a straight line where you'd like to hang your shelf. Using your drill, anchor the bracket into place with long screws suitable for a floating shelf. Some bracket posts will have an upward angle to help counterbalance the weight of the items on your shelf. Ensure the posts are pointing upward when you attach the shelf, or else your wood slab will fall off. 
  5. Apply your chosen finish on the wood slab. Oil-based finishes like linseed oil tend to have a warm, yellowish tint, whereas finishes like dewaxed shellac have a cooler-to-neutral tone. 
  6. When the finish has dried, use sandpaper to smooth out the surface one last time. Make it as smooth as possible so that the natural wood striations and swirls pop!
  7. Attach your shelf, and it's ready to go! All that effort will be so worth it when you finally see your one-of-a-kind shelf on display. Brace yourself for a tidal wave of compliments! 


floating live edge shelf modish_woodz IG

Photo by modish_woodz


When you start placing plants and arranging your decorative accents on your new DIY live-edge shelf, make sure you don't go over the weight maximum! Your brackets will most likely come with a weight limit along with the installation instructions, but you can always ask the folks at the hardware store for a rough estimate. 


If your new DIY shelf is looking a bit bare, order some new plants from Plant Decor Shop! From trailing plants to cute mini succulents and cacti, we've got what you need to make your wall display look spectacular.