How to Make a Glass Floating Shelf

Lead Image for How to Make a Glass Floating Shelf
  • 3-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-60
What You'll Need
Glass Shelf
Spirit Level
Electric Drill
Wall Saw
Paint Brush
Damp Sponge

A floating shelf can add extra storage space and a modern look to any room. Most DIY people make floating shelves out of wood as it is cheap and forgiving; however, it be might worth considering glass shelves. They are perfect for bathrooms but create a modern feel to other rooms too. The amount of weight a glass shelf can support depends on the size of the shelf and the thickness of the glass. Generally, the smaller and thicker the glass, the more weight it can support.

Choose a Glass Shelf

There is a multitude of glass shelves on the market, some are installed on rails and some use grooves. You also have the choice between tempered glass and frosted glass for your floating shelf. For the purpose of this guide, we are going to use floating glass shelves with grooves made out of tempered glass.

Mark the Wall

Put a mark on the wall at the level at which you want the floating shelf to be placed. To ensure that the shelf is straight, use a spirit level as a ruler to draw a straight line across the section of the wall that you are placing the shelf.

Mark the Grooves

The glass shelves come with a groove template. Place this template on the wall, aligned with the line drawn on the wall. Next, trace around the template, leaving you with the shape of the groove for the floating shelf. Repeat this until you have marked on all the groove holes for the floating glass shelf.

Cut Groove

To cut out the groove, use an electric drill to drill a small hole to get you started. Channel out the rest of the groove using a wall saw. It is better to make the groove a little small, as you can always channel a little more out, but if you make a groove too big, the floating shelf will be loose and unstable.

Fit the Shelf

Once you have channeled out the groove, make sure the glass shelf fits, if it does not, then chisel out the grooves further with the wall saw until the glass floating shelf fits securely. Get rid of any dust. Using a dry paintbrush, wipe any loose particles off the wall. Remove the shelf again before you start the next step.


You need to apply a generous amount of caulk along the line drawn on the wall and around the grooves, as this will keep the glass floating shelf secure. As soon as you have finished caulking, secure the glass shelf into the grooves before it has a chance to dry and harden. Run the caulking gun around the joint between the shelf and wall, to create a smooth and secure finish.


Finally, get a damp sponge and wipe away any excess caulking in one fluid movement. As you wipe away the excess, it will make the remaining caulking more level, for a neater final result for the floating shelf.