Saturday Morning Workshop: How To Build a Floating Shelf with Secret Drawer

Learn how to make this sleek, modern floating shelf with a secret hiding place for your valuables.

Next Project

A few hours






Follow the step-by-step plans, video tutorial and tech art below to make this simple floating shelf that includes a hidden drawer for secret storage.

Tools Required

  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • Miter saw
  • Nail gun
  • Table saw
  • Utility knife

Materials Required

  • 1-1/2-in. 18-gauge brad nails
  • 2’x4’ 1/4” Plywood
  • 3” Washer-head screws
  • 8’ 1x3 Board
  • 8’ 1x4 Board
  • Self-adhesive veneer
  • Wood glue

Hidden Drawer Cutting List

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Cutting List

Hidden Drawer Tech Art

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Tech Art

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Rip the 1x4

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Rip Board

Rip the 1x4 board to 2-7/8 in. for the shelf sides and front. This will give you about 1/8 in. tolerance for the drawer section of the build and let it slide nicely.

Step 2

Cut the Plywood to Size

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Rip Plywood
Cut the 1/4-in. plywood on the table saw to (1) 11-1/4 in. x 22-3/8 in. for the drawer and (2) 12 in. x 24 in. for the shelf.

Step 3

Crosscut the 1x3 and 1x4 Boards

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Crosscut
Crosscut the pine boards to size, according to the cutting list above, on the miter saw. Make sure to double-check your measurements!

Step 4

Assemble the Drawer

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Assemble
Fasten the drawer together using glue and  2 in. 18-gauge brad nails.

Step 5

Assemble the Shelf

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Assemble Drawer
Assemble the shelf with glue and 2 in. 18-gauge brad nails.

Step 6

Rough Cut the Veneer

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Rough Cut
Set the drawer on top of the veneer and cut the veneer to a rough size

Step 7

Apply the Veneer and Cut to Size

Floating Shelf Secret Drawer Stick On Veneer
Stick on the veneer and cut along the edges of the drawer with a utility knife to the correct size. Lightly sand the corners and edges with a high-grit sandpaper to get the veneer to match.

If you want to learn more about some veneer techniques, check out this article.