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They say books are magic, and these ideas give the illusion that your books are magically floating in the air. The eye-catching design of an invisible floating bookshelf is easier and cheaper than you may think!

With the illusion of a floating shelf, your reading collection becomes more than just a stack of books—it quickly transforms into a three-dimensional work of art. No more awkward wall spaces in your home! Get floating bookshelf DIY ideas to copy now.

books on invisible floating bookshelf with a frame around them.

About My Invisible Floating Bookshelf

reading room view of books on invisible floating bookshelf with a frame around them.

I dreamed of having a modern floating bookshelf for years. I simply adored the unique wall art for book lovers. But, I never felt compelled to take action until I saw a book-themed hotel add a frame around a wall-mounted floating bookshelf. That simple addition took the look to the next level for me and, within just a few days, I installed my own version.

Based on my experience in framing and hanging a metal floating bookshelf in my own reading room, below are my bookish lifestyle ideas and tips on how to hang it (including what products I used) and how to decorate it so it looks like a sleek and minimalist invisible bookshelf.

How to Make a Floating Shelf

hanging a book on an invisible bookshelf.

It’s truly not hard at all to learn how to make an invisible bookshelf without ruining a book. I only purchased two products and it only took about 15-20 minutes to install!

What You’ll Need

FRAME: I selected a 16″ x 20″ brass antique wood frame from Target for my display. This is probably the smallest size you should select for this look because you will need to cover the full bracket with books. If you are displaying large books, you may even want to go with 18″ x 24″.

METAL SHELVES: I selected a popular choice — a sizable (4.5″D x 6.5″W x 5″H) powder-coated L-shaped metal floating bookshelf bracket with a wall mount, nails, and anchors. The key here is selecting something sturdy, as a lot of options are actually smaller than they appear.

Additionally, the best feature here is the small lip that holds the back cover of the bottom book in your display to conceal the shelf.

My husband and I first hung the frame (without the glass or backing) at the height I wanted it using a measuring tape, centering the frame on the wall, and using a small level to straighten it.

Then, I decided to hang the bracket 1/3 of the height of the frame. My reasoning was that I could stack books and trinkets on the shelf and still have some space remaining at the top to make it all look balanced. In other words, the bottom 1/3 of the frame would show space, the middle 1/3 would hold books, and approximately the top 1/3 would show space.

To be extra clear, we used a measuring tape to measure exactly 7.5″ from the very bottom of this particular frame, which is exactly 22″ from the very bottom to the very top.

Next, we used a small level and a pencil to mark where the holes for the bracket would go. We checked the wall with a stud finder and discovered that one of the holes we marked would go into a wall stud. So, we only used the anchors that came with the shelf on the side of the bracket that did not contain a stud.

We recommend you use anchors and nails where this isn’t a wall stud, and only nails where there is a stud.

Finally, my husband drilled the anchors and nails in with his drill. That’s it!

How to Decorate Floating Shelves

books on invisible floating bookshelf with a frame around them.

Onto the fun part! The possibilities for what you can add to your invisible floating bookshelf are practically endless, from your favorite book to an entire book collection (like a Harry Potter boxed set) to your favorite things and everyday items like candles and plants. I have even seen stores display products for sale on top of a floating bookshelf display.

Use it for display, as storage space, or a little bit of both!

I do recommend that you use a hardcover book on the bottom both to conceal the bookshelf and to act as a strong base for your display.

I intend to change mine up throughout the year, particularly with the seasons, but for now, I chose to display these absolutely stunning hardcover editions of Penguin classics that the publisher recently gifted me and a wooden box that looks like book spines.

SHOP MY SHELF

Frequently Asked Questions

Are floating shelves OK for books?

Yes. Floating shelves are generally OK for storing and displaying books so long as they are anchored into the wall properly and not overloaded with weight beyond their specified capacity. It is preferable to affix at least part of your shelves to a wall stud and/or use anchors for the nails.

How do you hang a shelf invisibly?

To hang a shelf invisibly, get a small, but sturdy, L-shaped metal bracket. Affix it to a wall with anchors and/or nails. Then, stack books and/or other objects on the shelf to conceal it to the human eye.

Are floating shelves strong enough for books?

Yes. Floating shelves are generally strong enough for books. However, be sure to anchor them into the wall properly and not overload them with weight beyond their specified capacity. It is preferable to affix at least part of your shelves to a wall stud and/or use anchors for the nails.

What is the best way to hang floating bookshelves?

The best way to hang floating bookshelves is to use anchors and/or nail directly into a wall stud when hanging them.

Conclusion

The magical appearance of an invisible floating bookshelf matches the magic of the books they store and display. As you’ve learned, they are easy to install AND extremely customizable. The result is a three-dimensional piece of art you will adore and your guests will rave about. May your books float on!

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