Modern Floating Mantel Shelf

I love a good mantel. Mantels come in so many shapes and sizes to fit any style or space. We have built two (so far!), a faux built-in mantel (that hid all of our electronics cords!) and a rustic floating mantel on our stone wall — and featured many, many more. Our guest today has a great modern floating mantel shelf to share with you. The best part about floating mantels is that they are just, well, shelves! So you can put them on any wall and still have a great mantel-type space to decorate. 

DIY modern floating mantel shelf

Here are a few other floating mantels/shelves I’ve loved:

Not Just a Housewife, floating shelf with drawerRustic Floating Shelves with Drawers | Not Just a Housewife

Shanty 2 Chic, floating mantel ledge shelfFloating Mantel Ledge Shelf | Shanty 2 Chic

Vintage Revivals, floating industrial shelvesModern Industrial Floating Shelves | Vintage Revivals

I Am Momma Hear Me Roar, giant mantel shelfMantel Shelf with Corbels | I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar

Lowe's, floating storage shelfFloating Wall Shelf with Storage | Lowe’s Creative Ideas

And now, a great modern DIY floating mantel shelf from our guest Kendra!

DIY Floating Mantel Shelf

by Kendra of Pots, Pans and Paintbrushes

My name is Kendra Germenis, and I am the host of Pots, Pans and Paintbrushes – my life inspired by food and art. While my life is filled with a little bit of everything and all things random, my creative focus lies in art, cooking and remodeling. My biggest project these days is remodeling my first home. My husband and I are transforming our drabby brown 70’s house into an updated colorful and eclectic home. Some projects that have added to the madness include our complete living room before and after, a few DIY floating shelves and a shabby chic dresser makeover.

Between 1,000 DIY and remodeling projects, excessive cooking, maintaining my blog and Etsy shop (kitsyco.com) and keeping a personal life, my world has been, and continues to be, quite the adventure… and I love every minute of it. Today specifically, I am loving this awesome feature on one of my favorite blogs, Remodelaholic. Thanks for hosting me!

DIY Floating Mantel

floating mantel shelf
Amidst our living room remodel, after refreshing our brown living room brick wall and built-ins with a coat of white paint, my husband and I faced a unique challenge – what to do with our big bulky brown mantel.
 
mantel before

Our options included:

  • Sand, strip and re-paint the current the mantel
  • Buy a mantel, possibly a standard white one
  • DIY our own mantel

Considering 95% of our home remodel was a DIY effort between our family and us and considering our remodel budget was wearing thin, we put on our creative hats, sketched an idea and made our own original DIY mantel. And guess what? You can do it too.

Project Supplies

  • Three 8 feet 1” x 12” oak boards
  • One small can of Varathane dark walnut wood stain
  • Wood glue

Project Tools

  • Circular saw, table saw or miter saw (to cut the wood)
  • Sand paper or palm sander
  • Sponge brushe or old rag (for staining)
  • Clamps (for fastening)
Making the Mantel: Step by Step
 
Step 1. Cut the three oak boards in half to create six 4 feet boards using a table saw, circular saw or miter saw (whichever you prefer, depending on which tools you have at your discretion).
 
Step 2. Sand the boards as needed to smooth any rough edges.
 
Step 3. Following the directions on the can of stain, stain each board using a sponge brush or wipe on the stain using a rag.

staining a wooden floating mantel shelf
I personally stained each side and edge of the wood, even the ones not showing, with a sponge brush. If needed, the stain can be touched up before or after the mantel is assembled. I did some tiny touch ups once the mantel was mounted.
 
Step 4. After the stain is dry, alternate stacking the boards with a 2” overhang on each side. Arrange the boards so that the best looking sides show.
building the floating mantel shelf

 Step 5. Once stacked, apply wood glue between each layer of wood. Be careful of using too much glue or applying glue too closely to the edges, or the glue may seep through the cracks or drip down the side.

gluing the modern floating mantel shelf

 Step 6. Use clamps to secure the freshly glued mantel. You may even consider placing rags or a supporting board beneath each clamp hold so that your mantel is not dented or scratched. It’s also important in this step to ensure your boards are evenly aligned while clamped because once the glue dries, there’s no turning back.

clamping the modern floating mantel shelf

Step 7. Referencing the wood glue directions, leave the clamps in place until the glue firmly dries and the mantel is set, typically 24-48 hours.

 
Mounting the Mantel
 
The best method of installation is simply mimicking the existing set-up of your current mantel. For us that meant that we reinstalled the hardware from our old mantel (unique key hole wall mount hardware) onto our new mantel. The supporting bolts were already drilled into our brick wall from the previous mantel, so we simply just had to hang our new mantel in place. And voila!

installing a floating mantel shelf
DIY modern floating mantel shelf
modern floating mantel shelf DIY
Conclusion
 
This DIY project was fairly reasonable in retrospect to the impact the floating mantel has made on our living room. The unique look blends perfectly with our eclectic space and is definitely a conversation starter. Getting this one-of-a-kind focal point simply required the proper supplies, a trip to the local home improvement store (Home Depot for us), a little instructional reassurance from product packaging and one awesome handy man (shout out to my husband). Not to mention, the project totaled under a whopping $100 and was completed in 4 to 6 hours (excluding dry and set time), a price that can’t be beat.

What’s the best part about this DIY project? You can do it too!
 
Thanks for sharing with us, Kendra! You’re doing a great job on your house!
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12 Comments

  1. Looks great! Love the painted brick as well…what steps did you take in painting the brick and what paint did you use? Thanks!

    1. Thank you! For the brick, we first scrubbed/cleaned, primed, and then painted. To clean, we literally used a bucket of soap and water and wire scrub brush. You can use any primer (I think we used Killz), and then we used a Behr interior paint + primer, custom color match for the top coat. I’ll need to double check the finish, but I believe it’s flat… We primed with brushes and rollers, and it was extremely time-consuming since brick is so porous. We used a spray gun for the top coat and it was way more efficient.

  2. I love your mantle piece and would love to build one myself.
    I have not had anything installed over my fireplace previously and was wondering if you had an idea of how to attach the mantle to the brick wall of my fireplace.

    1. Christiane, it all depends on that kind of brick it is and how heavy the mantle will be. The best thing to do is take a picture of the brick and a sketch of the mantel that you want to a hardware store, to have them help you get the right fasteners. Good luck with your project.

  3. Can u tell me the color and the finish of the paint you used on the brick? This looks awesome and we need to cover our brick that we painted white with semigloss paint.

    1. Hi Erin, sorry for the delayed response. We used a custom color match paint for our brick. Believe it or not, we actually matched it to the color of ceiling. I’d be more than happy to email you a picture of the paint can if you provide your email address or send me an email to [email protected]. Thanks!

  4. That’s a great blog. It was great knowing that you have managed to design such a beautiful mantel shelf. Kudos to you for such a creative concept. More than reading, I enjoyed the pictures.

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