How I Create Art - The Build ProcessWoodshop NewsWoodworking

How to Create a Floating Shelf Sculpture

How to Create a Floating Shelf Sculpture - Live Edge Floating ShelvesNow that we are coming out on the other side of a worldwide pandemic, where many worked from home and got accustomed to using services like Zoom and Skype, it has become common practice to jump on a Zoom call to go over things.  This is great; it has allowed me to connect with my clients and get to know them better than the usual phone conversation.

Sketchup Courses for Beginners and Advanced users

The only problem is that the wall behind me is pretty embarrassing to look at.  It usually gets piles of junk leaning against the wall, and the wall itself has a few scars.  So, instead of having a great conversation about their project, I was distracted, wondering what they thought of the monstrosity behind me.

So I talked to Elements Wood Imports to see if they had something cool to build some shelves out of to spice up my backdrop, and boy, did they.  They had several unique pieces of Genuine Mahogany, basically small slabs from the base of the tree.  These fit the bill nicely, as I wanted some decorative shelves behind me, but as I started to work on the design details, I realized that this was going to be more than just decorative shelves.  It would be a conversation starter, and conversation starters are important for an introvert like myself.

When meeting someone new, there is always this awkward start to the conversation.  What do I say after I introduce myself?  Well, now I don’t really have to worry about that.  Nine times out of ten, the client will comment on the mahogany shelves.

Genuine Mahogany ShelvesThey really did turn out like a piece of art.  It is also great that they have a story behind them.  Elements Wood Imports is a small family-owned business that imports exotic species from the Island of Saint Lucia.  The owners used to live down the street from me.  So, it has been a great conversation starter to tell my clients the full story.

If you want to see how I went about building these shelves and the thought process behind how I went about carving them, please check out the video.  A special thanks to Elements Wood Imports for Sponsoring the video.

How to Create a Floating Shelf Sculpture

In the era of virtual meetings and Zoom calls, the importance of having an aesthetically pleasing backdrop cannot be overstated. In this video, I take on the challenge of upgrading my plain office wall into an impressive and conversation-worthy background for online meetings. Sponsored by Elements Wood Imports, a family-owned business specializing in exotic woods from St. Lucia, the project involves crafting floating decorative shelves from genuine mahogany tree stumps.

Crafting the Shelves:

The plan is to transform my plain wall using offcuts from Elements Wood Imports. The first step involves flattening the odd-shaped tree stumps to create a solid, level surface. A homemade jig is employed to square off the edges, providing a flat base for the shelves. The uniqueness of the wood showcases the natural, organic shapes of the tree stumps.

Hanging Mechanism:

To hang the shelves securely on the wall, a French cleat system is chosen. In the video, I show the process of cutting the cleats and attaching them to the shelves. I demonstrate the installation of the cleats on the wall, ensuring a sturdy and level placement for the decorative shelves. The same technique is applied to other wooden beams, showcasing how simple it is to create a cohesive and visually appealing display.

Woodworking courses taught by master craftsman Brain Benham

Finishing Touches:

Before finishing, I take care to remove any imperfections, such as chainsaw marks and remnants of sealer paint, using a combination of hand planing and sanding. The video captures the meticulous effort put into sculpting the edges of the shelves, emphasizing the natural beauty of the mahogany wood. The finished result is a set of unique, floating shelves that add character and charm to the office space.

Hanging Decor:

The shelves are not just pieces of art but also serve as a platform for displaying various items. I tried to share useful tips on hanging picture frames, demonstrating a simple method for positioning them precisely on the wall. The shelves are eventually adorned with decorative items chosen by my kids, adding a personal touch to the project.

This DIY project successfully transforms a lackluster office backdrop into a visually stunning space for virtual meetings. Elements Wood Imports’ sponsorship adds a special touch, showcasing the beauty of genuine mahogany from St. Lucia. The video not only serves as a guide for crafting unique shelves but also highlights the significance of a well-designed virtual workspace.


I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.

Leave a Reply