But First, Let Me Make a Shelfie

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floating shelves hidden storage

Hello kids! Hope all is great in your area. We are fine here in jolly ol’ Houston, as it’s called by … no one. Today we bring you a set of DIY floating dining room shelves (all the rage right now), with my own little twist: it’s a hidden storage shelf! When I first starting DIY building, I saw these types of shelves all over the place and loved how easy they were to build and how great they looked. When we finally decided recently to ditch our old china cabinet, I knew these shelves were the perfect place for my (“too many sets of,” per the hubs) dishes. But it nagged at me how much of that inside space was wasted.

So my little twist was to put concealed hinges in the front of the shelf, and use the space between the cleat as storage. Who doesn’t need a little extra storage for the good candy you’re hiding from the kids – uh, I mean, important documents?!

After many trips to Home Depot picking up many different types of hinges/supports/etc., it finally dawned on me to just use the same cabinet hardware that’s in our kitchen. It’s concealed, and provides the perfect strength for what I needed. And at only about $6 per set, it’s cheaper than some of the hinges/supports/etc. I had tried. NICE!

I chose 4-foot shelves, because that’s what works for my dining space, but you could easily make these longer or shorter as needed for your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, playroom, wherever!

Hidden Storage Shelf Supplies

2 – 1×12 @ 4’
1 – 1×6 @ 6’
1 – 2×4 @ 8’
One set of concealed cabinet hinges; I used these.
Optional: Cabinet hinge template. I bought this because I didn’t have the 35mm Forstner bit.

Hidden Storage Shelf Cut List

1×6 Front: @ 49 ½”
1×6 Sides: 2 @ 11” (or the exact depth of your 1×12)
2×4 Back of Cleat: 47 3/4”
2×4 Cleat Arms: 4 @ 9 ¼”

To make these bad boys, just start your cutting and assemble as you go.

First, the 2×4.

It should be 47 3/4′ (just a tad under 48”) long at the back, with four 9 ¼” long support arms. Drill pocket holes into the four arms, and attach to the back with screws and glue. As an alternative to pocket holes, simply screw them in place from the back of the board, however make sure you countersink the screw heads so they don’t scratch up your walls.

Your “E” cleat

I stood it up after taking this pic, and my 5-year-old said, “Hey, it looks like an E!” And I said, “Hey, why the hell are we paying that preschool so much money!” Just kidding, I didn’t say that. Only rude moms think like that. #rudemomsunite

So after you have your “E” start the shelf box.

The construction here is simple: the 1×12’s are the top and bottom, and the shorter 1x6s are the sides, joined together with pocket holes. Place 4 pocket holes on the INSIDE short sides of the 1x12s, then use glue and attach to side 1×6’s.

Shelf assembly
This is when I should have attached the hinges. Learn from my mistakes!!

Tip: When you’re working with multiple pieces of same-size wood, don’t be afraid to write little notes to yourself to tell which pieces go where. Use whatever method works best for you to easily decipher (numbers, letters, Roman numerals, spelling out cuss words, etc.).

Self notes
It may be nonsense to you, but it means something to me.

One assembly note here: I put the box together BEFORE I placed the hinges, because I originally had different hinges. However, it will be easier to drill for your hinges into the bottom 1×12 before attaching the top. I had a really small, awkward angle which just made it hard to get the screws in. Take it from me: awkward screws are fun for no one. Lesson learned.

Box assembled
Assembled! Before I had to take it apart and re-size it. (D’oh.)

Once the box is constructed with inside hinge bracket attached, you’re almost finished. Use the template (the paper one provided in your hinge package, or the plastic template if purchased) to mark holes for the hinges, and drill your 35mm hole into the front 1×6. If you’ve never used a Forstner bit before, it creates a LOT of dust and shavings. Just an FYI so you don’t end up with sawdust and wood bits in your coffee like some dummy I know.

AKA garage glitter!

Do a test fit of the cleat inside the shelf, just to make sure the cleat fits inside the shelf box for mounting to the wall.

If you haven’t already, paint or stain your shelf, as well as the cleat. The inside of the shelf and the cleat will be exposed when you open the hidden storage, so go ahead and stain/paint the cleat to match the rest of the shelf so your friends can “oooh” and “aaah” at your amazing attention to detail.

Time to put this baby up on the wall!

Attach the “E” cleat to the wall using a level and two 3″ screws at each stud you can find. Another important life lesson: find as many studs as possible!

Attach the shelf box to the cleat from the top shelf. I used several 1 ½” screws along the back and some into the cleat arms as well.

Attaching shelf to cleat

For good measure, attach an L bracket to one of the middle cleat arms and the bottom of the shelf. I will be hanging wine glasses from mine, so I wanted it to be as sturdy and secure as possible.

L bracket
I wonder why it’s called an L bracket?

That’s it! Load your secret shelf up with your placemats, linens, drugs, chocolate, whatever! #nojudgment

What will you use your shelves for? More importantly, what will they be hiding?

DIY floating shelf
Just your average, typical shelf … NOT!
Photo of author

About Monique

Monique is indeed “home fixated.” She and her family currently live in Houston but originally hail from Northern California - where you can buy a small, run-down bungalow for $2 Million. She is a freelance writer/stay at home mutha, and in her "spare" time, Monique presides as the family handyman, fixing and building anything she can get her sometimes-manicured hands on. Monique loves anything home-related, loves a challenge and loves learning more about DIY every day.

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2 thoughts on “But First, Let Me Make a Shelfie”

  1. Well done! I’m glad to see you didn’t stain this with the darkest walnut you could find. Nice wood tone. Where did you find the stemware racks?

    • Sorry Liz, just now seeing this! Thank you for the kind words! Stemware racks came from Home Depot online, and they have several sizes and finishes. These particular ones are Model # 202855315. Happy building!


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