Need ideas on hanging wall shelves

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Forum topic by NewPickeringWdWrkr posted 07-22-2010 02:10 PM 5429 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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338 posts in 3041 days

07-22-2010 02:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question shelves

Has anyone ever built hanging wall shelves for books? My wife wants me to put some up in our daughter’s room as her quantity of books is starting to grow and the pile in the corner is starting to look unsightly.

I know whatever I do will have to be attached to the wall studs, but not sure on where to start. The questions I have are:

1. Would floating shelves be too weak?
2. how far out do hanging shelves typically stick out?

I don’t think we’ll be putting all books on the shelves, probably some stuffed toys and such as well.

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

9 replies so far

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 3028 days

#1 posted 07-22-2010 02:59 PM

Hey Mike,

I’ve got some floating shelves in my kitchen (ikea stuff) and they’re ok, but I have one that under weight starts to tip forward…so I’m not that big of a fan.

I made a few shelves for my daughter’s room (same reason). The shelves are about 6 1/2” deep and range from 2’ – 3’ in length. I attached them with home made brackets. The brackets are about 4” high and deep. To attach them to the wall I mortised out a space in the back of the bracket for some keyhole hardware (not sure what it’s really called, but you put a screw in the wall and the hardware slides over the screwhead). So far, this has worked great.

I made the shelves out of white cedar, mostly because I had extra left over from a project, but it was nice and light as well.

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3676 days

#2 posted 07-22-2010 03:16 PM

not a big fan of hanging anything.

may not be a direct answer to your direct question, but FWIW, for our daughters room I made a cross cross unit of 16 cubes ~12”x12” each from Birch Plywood, the horizontals are interlaced with the verticals and it’s a strong structure. can withhold all her books, heavy toys, stuffed animals, and you could probably sit on it if you reached up on top of it. especially in a kids room, I wanted something that would be structurally sound, and will be able to hold up to abuse, and not tip or be prone to any accidents. it also looks pretty cool

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3011 days

#3 posted 07-22-2010 04:59 PM

Have you looked at Shaker shelves? They were known for hanging things on the wall including small cabinets.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3011 days

#4 posted 07-22-2010 05:04 PM

Here’s an example of one, although I wouldn’t hang a lot of books that way.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3102 days

#5 posted 07-22-2010 05:21 PM

I’ve made my own wooden shelf brackets.

On the back side, I mount a dowel towards the bottom. Then I drill a hole into the wall and into the stud. Then I mount the bracket, inserting the dowel into the hole, and finalize the attachment with a 2.5” pocket screw on the top. The shelf sets in place and hides the pocket screw.

End result – A bracket with no visible means of connection to the wall. For some reason, I like that.

I make my bookshelves 8” deep and I put brackets every 2 studs (32”). I like to use 5/4 hardwood for the shelves but that is a personal taste issue.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#6 posted 07-22-2010 05:58 PM

I have used the metal shelving brackets that have slots in them every inch. The shelf brackets come in any width yoiu want from about 6 to 12 or 14 inches. They hold anything yioou care to put on them.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View JCantin's profile


179 posts in 3439 days

#7 posted 07-22-2010 07:06 PM

Take a look at the current issue of Family Handyman. It has plans for hanging shelves that use wire cable to tie the shelves together and distribute the load. The engineering looks pretty solid; there’s even a picture of a guy climbing up the shelves.

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 3041 days

#8 posted 07-23-2010 04:24 AM

Thanks for your comments, gives me an idea that it’s possible, but I better build it strong to keep it safe. I’ll chew it over some more and when I decide on/execute on it, I’ll be sure to post pics. It’s about #4 or 5 on the honey-do list right now, but my workbench is going to come first.

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View Wood_smith's profile


260 posts in 3053 days

#9 posted 07-23-2010 04:47 AM

You can also make wooden hanging brackets which are very strong- they can be wide enough to screw right into the studs.
Take a 1” x 3” board (a little less than the full width of the shelf) and make a 45 degree rip down the middle. Mount the piece with the point down on the shelf, and the opposite on the wall Then the shelf hangs on this full-width hangar. There’s probably a name for this but I don’t know what it is.
This method is quite easy to level on the wall as well.

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch,

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