Plywood Square Floating Shelf

Modern layered book shelf made from plywood

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In this Instructables I show how I made this Plywood Square Floating Book Shelf. It has a simple modern design and hidden screws to mount it to the wall so appears to be a floating shelf. It can be sized to fit your own books, and would look great if you made a couple of them in as display.

For this build you will need;

I love the look of exposed ends of plywood and think it makes such an interesting style. For a more details view make sure to watch the YouTube Video.

Step 1: Cut Wood

I started with a sheet of 18mm thick plywood. I new I wanted the overall width to be 40mm wide. I laid out some wide masking tape into the wood. This was to help make sure I got a clean cut from the circular saw, it also meant that I could draw markings into the wood without marking it directly, and having to clean it off later.

An upcoming project I want to make soon is a cutting sled to make ripping down sheets a bit easier. But for now I used one of my metal clamps as a guide and ripped strips out at 40mm wide.

Step 2: Glue Up, Cut Down

I then laminated the 4 pieces into 2 pairs. This made them 36mm thick each. I laid down some parchment paper on my worktop to step them sticking to that. I then also put some more parchment paper in between to the two, this would stop the pairs glueing together, and meant I could clamp it all in one go.

I added 6 clamps on the whole thing, and left it for a few hours till it was fully dried.

I was then left with 2 strips that were 36mm thick, 40mm wide but around 600mm long, which was obvious far too long. So I took them to the mitre saw and trimmed them down to 250mm long, and I needed 4 of these to make a square.

I then quickly ran over all the pieces with an orbital sander to square off the edges and make sure they were lined up.

Step 3: Drill

I took one of the pieces, and marked out 2 holes to drill. I measured 2 equal distance holes on the length of piece. I then staggered these holes, one closer to the front, and one closer to the back. This meant it added a bit of strength to the wall mount. But also if I had drilled them there middle (where the 2 bits were laminated) there would be a strong chance of it getting pulled apart).

It is not usually a good idea to drill sideways into the plywood like this, but I needed to do it for the look of the project. It held on fine not a problem. But I started with a very small pilot hole, then used a counter sink bit, this means that the screws sit perfectly flush and are completely hidden with there is a book against it.

Step 4: Clamp Up, Sand Down

I then added some wood glue to the ends of each corner, and added some clamps. I made this into a box shape and added clamps all the way round. I made sure to line up the layers of plywood as best as I can. I think it might have worked better to do mitred edges here, as it didn’t line up as well as I wanted.

I then gave the whole thing a sand down, I started at 80 grit with the orbital sander, and went up to 120 grit. I knew I would be putting a couple of coats of varnish on so going up to any higher grits would have been a bit pointless.

Once the glue had fully dried I added a few layers of varnish on to seal in all the plywood.

Step 5: Final Photos

This was great fun to make, and I’m really happy with how the exposed plywood looks. I have a few design changes in mind if I ever make another one of these. Firstly I would probably add mitred corners, also I might make the 2 bits of wood that come off the wall a little shorter; at 25cm it does stick out quite far. Where I have put it, it works fine as it is high on the wall.

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