How to install a timber floating shelf

Floating shelves


Floating shelves make a stylish addition to any room in the house, and are a great way to save on floor space, particularly if you prefer a simple, minimalist design.

In the living room or bedroom, they are great for storing books or displaying ornaments. In the kitchen, they are a fantastic option for storing plates and other kitchen utensils. When made with a solid piece of timber, they are extremely strong, durable and easy to maintain.

You can always pick up a floating shelf kit, but it’s not too much more of a challenge to do it yourself with a solid piece of timber, also giving you free rein over the type and finish of wood you choose.

Materials you will need:

  • Flat wall (solid brick, masonry, plasterboard or studwork)
  • Solid piece of timber
  • 6mm thread bar (x2)
  • 6mm nuts (x2)
  • 6mm expansion bolts

Tools you will need:

Step One

Before anything, make sure you check that the wall you are planning to fix the shelf is suitable, and that there will be no hazards, pipes or wires involved when drilling. If you’re using your own piece of wood, mark a line in pencil on the back of the shelf, leaving roughly 30mm from each edge for the drill holes. Check the holes with a spirit level to ensure the pitch of your drill holes is completely straight.

Step Two

Once you have confirmed the safety of the wall, you can start to mark out your drilling holes. Hold your shelf up to the wall and mark a line in pencil according to the shelf measurements in the previous step, also marking the pitch of the holes.

Step Three

Using the smallest masonry bit you have (e.g. 3mm) start to drill holes into the wall that you have marked out for your shelf. You are looking to find the right size for your expansion bolts, so increase the size of the bit accordingly until you find a good fit. Remember to keep the drill as straight as possible.

Step Four

Take your piece of wood, noting the measurements you have already marked out. Carefully drill two 6mm holes into the shelf, and counter-bore your holes with a 12mm bit, approximately 10mm deep.

Step Five

Turn a nut onto each thread bar and tighten into each expansion bolt. Insert the thread bar into the hole in your shelf until it is all the way in, before marking and measuring the depth of the hole on the thread bar. Next, individually fit the expansion bolts into the wall, hold the thread bars with a pair of pliers and tighten the nut with a spanner. Using your previous depth measurement, mark 5mm shorter and cut off the remaining length of thread bar.

Step Six

Choose your desired wood finish for the shelf and treat the wood accordingly.

Step Seven

Anchor the shelf on the expansion bolts and it’s ready to use!

If you’re looking for a quality piece of timber, make sure to visit our Timber section.

Feel free to drop us an email at
– or, give us a call on 0161 627 2020

Timber and Building Merchants

George Hill is a leading independent timber merchant and building supplies provider in the North West, with branches in Oldham, Manchester, Bolton and Nelson. Founded in 1919 we’re family run, and have been for 99 years.

More about usLeave a review


Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest offers every month.

Follow us on