Condo Blues: How to Hang a Floating Shelf

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to Hang a Floating Shelf

In a small house, you have to be creative when it comes to storage and display space. This goes double for my craft room/guest room. I built a wall of wrap around shelves to go with the new decor and had to use every bit of it to hold my craft and sewing supplies. I don't have room on them to display some of the creations that inspire my DIY madness.

The wall space over doors is often forgotten although you can make it work for you with a simple shelf or by hanging artwork. Making an over the door fence board shelf works well in the guest bathroom, why not hang a floating shelf over the door in the guest bedroom and use it to display my doodads?

This is project sounds harder than it really is, I promise.

You will need:

A floating shelf and bracket
Stud finder
Drywall anchors
Drill and small drill bit
Impact driver (optional)

1. Your shelf will be less likely to crash to the ground under its own weight if you attach it to a stud in your wall. Guess how I know?

The easiest way to find wall studs is to run a stud finder along the wall until it lights up indicating where the stud is so you can mark it with a pencil.

The stud finder works!

2. Place the floating shelf bracket where you want to hang it on the wall and mark the screw holes with a pencil.

Try to line up the screw holes to the wall studs you marked in in Step 1 if possible.

3. Use the level to double check that the area you marked for the screws and bracket are level with the level.

On the level!

4. If you want to hang the shelf on an area of the wall that does not have a wall stud behind it, you will need to use a drywall anchor to keep your shelf from crashing off the wall. Again, experience talking here (and it will always come crashing down the wall in the middle of the night. Always.)

Install the drywall anchor by drilling a small pilot hole in the wall with the drill and screwing the drywall anchor into the wall with a manual screwdriver. I like to use a manual screwdriver with wall anchors because I think they bit into the drywall better and stay put.

Drywall anchors come in different sizes depending upon how much weight you think the shelf will hold. My shelf will be decorative, so I am using smaller anchors. As always, your mileage may vary.

5. Line the floating shelf bracket up over the wall anchors and use the screws to attach the bracket to the wall. I like to use my impact driver (learn more about this useful tool here) for this step since I usually do these things by myself, on a ladder, and almost always hang stuff over my head.

6. Slide the floating shelf on to the wall bracket and screw the shelf to the bracket.

7. Ready, set, decorate! I shopped the house for items to display.

A Fischer Price Viking that sat on my work desk, a bold face lie my Mom made (Chocolate makes your clothes shrink), a Russian Ambassador bear I made of Husband's Renaissance Festival character, a jester clock, and a rocking horse I made in 7th grade wood shop (thank you Title 9!)

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