Introduction: How to Make an Invisible Bookshelf (Without Ruining a Book!)

Picture of How to Make an Invisible Bookshelf (Without Ruining a Book!)

Okay, this has been what I have been occupying my time with the past day (Well, more like the past hour) But I made a tutorial on how to make an invisible bookshelf, without ruining a book (because I love my books dearly).
So first, I suppose you need supplies.

Step 1:

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You need a metal wall brace (The L-shaped metal thing with three holes) Mine happened to be a 5" X 1", but I suppose bigger would be cool too, (it would be stronger that way, but you don't want it to be longer than the width of the book or else you could see where it sticks out of the wall) just make sure the screws fit and can be flush with the metal. (My screws happened to be 12 X 1-1/2, but they might be different for you.) A stud finder (There's always a joke to that) is very handy, you need to make sure you drill through solid wood or it will tear up the wall and probably fall with the weight of the books. You need a drill, and also some velcro (The kind that can peel and stick to things)
AND OF COURSE A BOOK. I chose Pendragon, Amazing series, I still read it (after all these years!) and the author is a really nice guy! Can't go wrong with those books! (But the book you choose doesn't matter, obviously)

Step 2:

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Make sure when you choose the drill bit to drill with that it is a little smaller in diameter than the screw. If you hold the screw up behind the bit, you should be able to see the treads on both sides (like in the picture!)

Step 3:

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You need a hardcover book (To be the base layer) and if your books are like mine and have covers, and you're like me and like to keep the covers nice (and on the book) you can tape the inside flap of the cover (I've found that the invisible kind doesn't normally tear it up if you want to remove it) to the actual hardcover from the outside. Or you could just use a book with no cover and skip this whole step, haha.

Step 4:

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Now that the cover is out of the way (if you ever had that problem) take one of the sticky velcro strips and stick it right in the center of the back cover of the book. Stick another strip to one of the outside sides of the metal brace.

Step 5:

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Now, find a stud in the wall and mark it with a pencil (Try to stay towards the center of it because when you level it might require twisting the metal a bit and I was too close to the edge with this one and I only had one screw through the stud, the others went through just the drywall, haha)

Step 6:

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Make sure the brace is straight, AND ALSO MAKE SURE THAT THE VELCRO IS ON THE BOTTOM, FACING THE FLOOR. You can kinda see it in the picture, that little white thing under the metal.

Step 7:

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When you have it level (or sort of level) mark the holes, drill the top one first (make sure you go straight into the wall to avoid breaking off the bit)
I also found out that putting the top screw in the brace on the wall first before drilling the second hole is a lot easier, it makes it less difficult to keep it level. (But in the picture I had drilled both of the holes, it caused a lot of problems for me because they weren't level even though I tried, it was just harder overall.)
Drill the second hole after re-leveling and put the last screw in.

I found that using just two screws, on the top and bottom holes, works just as well, and it saves on screws. (I only put two on the others bookshelves I made, except on this bookshelf only one screw went through the stud and I put the other through drywall and added the extra, just in case)

Step 8:

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You can now set your book (with the back cover hanging down) on the brace. Once you have it on there, look under to match up the velcro on the cover and the brace and mush it together! It should hide the brace and also make the book a little more secure.

Step 9:

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Now you can stack them (the books)! It is a bit wobbly sometimes, make sure they are centered to avoid any mishaps. It might be better to have two brackets, but then again, studs aren't all that close to each other which is why (even though the brilliant idea hit me) I didn't attempt it.
TADA! Invisible bookshelf, and no book was harmed! The velcro comes off if you want it to, just pull the tab and the glue deactivates itself. And the book has no trouble closing all the way either, just in case you were wondering!


bawakulkarni made it! (author)2016-05-09

It worked great. Thanks! :D

YanaY (author)bawakulkarni2016-05-27

thats so cutee

Momma0411 (author)2016-01-28

Beautiful! I couldn't do the other kind either. I couldn't even bring myself to buy a book that i didn't care about to destroy in that fashion. Thank You so much for this instructable. Perfect!

phillipcd (author)2015-03-14

Harry Potter!

pocketscience (author)2012-02-12

Awesome idea so I made a few of these. The velco is OK but I found it didn't stick that well to some dust jackets - so I swapped them out for something even better and even more invisible! Small neodymium magnets (I used 8x1mm) that are taped inside the back cover (not to the dust cover) - and they then use the magical force of magnetism to hold the book shut to the bottom of the brackets!!

CaitlynLAG (author)pocketscience2014-04-10

That's awesome! (this comment is so late, I apologize!) Your idea is fantastic!

Voyager001 (author)2014-03-26

Inspired to make one. Thank you.

bellavina22 (author)2014-02-02


wildviolets (author)2013-11-09

I love this idea...gonna do it.

aliaghoul (author)2013-04-03

Your item is featured at !
The direct link is below,

Please stop by and leave a comment or two!

Thanks for crafting pure awesomeness!
- Alia and the Mom's Basement Team

CaitlynLAG (author)aliaghoul2013-04-29

Thank you, that is wonderful! I appreciate it :)
Also, I must say, what an interesting blog! I'm following it with email and always enjoy reading the posts!

gord360 (author)2012-01-10

Hoorah for Pendragon!

Applebohn (author)gord3602013-01-05

My sentiments exactly :)

CaitlynLAG (author)gord3602012-01-10

Exactly! :D such a good series, read them in middle school, and now I'm reading them with my little brother, they're just the best!

MaskMarvl (author)2012-11-30

Cool idea... ;)

static (author)2012-07-06

This is the first I had seen a bracket like this where the are off center from each other. That makes sense when it attached to a stud so the hole don't align vertically making a stronger attachment to the stud. However it's going to mean care has to be taken to align the center of the bracket to the center of the stud, not alining to one hole to the stud and hoping the other screw will find the stud. The better stud finders help find the edge of the studs making the process easier to do correctly

static (author)2012-07-06

Books are heavy, but I see the drywall anchor suggestions. Personally I would hang a shelf off anything but the wall studs. Also much easier to patch the holes screws leave behind than the holes left behind by anchors. A clever idea in using a books dust cover to hide the bracket. Unless all falls down tearing it, given the precarious support of this design.

GenAap (author)2012-03-11

A great improvement from the original.

jimmytvf (author)2012-02-27

how about instead the L bracket, put a metal plate in the bracket and will hold all the book without using velcro, like a L plus a T

thekookie (author)2012-01-17

This was a brilliant idea!!!
I've been meaning to do this for a while, but without harming any of my precious books!! Your idea worked perfectly (I just made it)!! Although I didn't use the cover of my Harry Potter Books, I did use three brackets (two of which I used the EZ anchors) since they're all hardcover books which slightly adds more weight. Thank you so much for thinking this I thought I was doomed to ruin such a good book, but now I can't wait to make more!!

CaitlynLAG (author)thekookie2012-01-18

Thank you!
I'm glad to hear that it worked well for you! I need to do the same thing, I need to stabilize mine still and also add that to the actual instructable, but I've been so busy with work and school! Haha, I will get around to it eventually!

Thank you also for following me! I'll see if I can get some other tutorials up so that you won't be following in vain! :D

thekookie (author)CaitlynLAG2012-01-23

It wasn't in vain, this is a excellent Instructables!! I just finished making two more that I use as bedside tables since I can never seem to find the perfect bedside table!
And I can't wait to see what more you will come up with!!
Don't forget to update this Instructable later on in the future though.

CaitlynLAG (author)thekookie2012-01-26

Thank you! I sure will! :D

Trelligan (author)2012-01-22

   Step 2 makes it worth a vote by itself. I've always had trouble deciding what bit to use for pre-drilling.

CaitlynLAG (author)Trelligan2012-01-26

Thank you! Yeah, I was trying to think of a way to explain it, but the picture helped a lot with that, haha.

loki_thor2001 (author)2012-01-10

To help with the wobbly feel I would recommend three wall brackets. The main center support which you have placed just as perfect as possible. Then two on either side using what I call EZ anchors. They are "screw in" dry wall anchors. Easily removed, leave the smallest hole possible(still would need to patch and paint though), and if you use the metal ones they have a 50 lb rating. Should be way more then enough strength to balance the books being supported on the main "L" bracket attached to the wall stud. Also if doing this in an office building, note that metal wall studs are too flimsy just to mount heavy items. There must be a wood backing or the whole thing will come down in a heaping mess. Don't ask how I know this or how much in fine cabinetry I had to replace. ;)

CaitlynLAG (author)loki_thor20012012-01-11

That's a good idea, I have never hears of EZ anchors before, but I will definitely look for them now! I assume they're pretty easy to find?
Now, I have to ask, how much fine cabinetry DID you have to replace? (haha, just kidding XD )

loki_thor2001 (author)CaitlynLAG2012-01-12

You can usually find drywall anchors of all kinds at Home Depot or Lowes. The EZ anchors is a specific brand so they may be marketed under different names by different companies. "Redheads" is another name from a different company as an example. I would say tho around $1200 in damaged materials and 3 days work to remount all the other cabinets to prevent further mishaps.

CaitlynLAG (author)loki_thor20012012-01-18

Im going to find some as soon as I have time! Thanks again! Do you mind if I add your idea to the instructable once I get it all sorted out?

loki_thor2001 (author)CaitlynLAG2012-01-18

You bet you can add it to the instructable!

CaitlynLAG (author)loki_thor20012012-01-19

Thank you very much! I will get around to it soon! :D

ehhdean (author)2012-01-18

This is amazing. I've run out of bookshelves but I've got tons of wall space. I will definitely give this a try.

CaitlynLAG (author)ehhdean2012-01-18

Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful! (The design is a tad flawed and I haven't gotten around to adding corrections the actual instructable, but if you look at some of the comment below there are some great comments on how to make it more stable, hope you check them out!)

mrmerino (author)2012-01-11

Oh thank God... I thought you were going to drill a hole in Pendragon! The last one is the only one I haven't read.

CaitlynLAG (author)mrmerino2012-01-12

NONONONONONONONO DEFINITELY NOT! XD the last one tied up the series nicely, although I was pretty sad that is ended at all :/

medachef (author)2012-01-10

just a heads up, studs are 16 inches apart. thats why most US tape measures have that mark on the 16". Some non load bearing walls are 24" but it seems that 16" is more standard.
So if your stud finder is out of juice, measure from one corner of the wall to the section you want and every 16" will be the center of the stud. (just to check use a 1/64" drill bit to see if you hit wood.)
Also in order to make sure you hit center of the stud make sure you mark the begining and the end of the stud. So mark where it first goes on (light or sound) and then mark where it turns off. The center of that is the center of the stud. (p.s.always measure twice and drill once.)

CaitlynLAG (author)medachef2012-01-11

Thanks for the info! I'm actually working with Habitat for Humanity building a house and was measuring and putting studs into the walls, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why in my own house our studs are more like 2 feet away D: So now I know! Mine must be one of those non load bearing walls then :) Yeah, I messed up a but on this particular shelf, I thought I was in the middle, but I wasn't, and when I tried to level it I kinda just drilled through drywall ;-;
Thanks for looking and for the advice! Putting all the comments together is an awesome way to make the shelf so much better!

PlayDoh25 (author)2012-01-10

I've seen something like this before.

CaitlynLAG (author)PlayDoh252012-01-11

Yep! I've seen something like it too at Barnes and Noble (which gave me the idea), but it was kind of expensive, so when I got home I looked for ways to make it and couldn't find a tutorial that didn't drill right into a book (which I would not ever be able to do because I love reading my books! Haha.) So I came up with this instead and decided to post it for other people who were looking for something similar!

DIY Micah (author)2012-01-10

I agree with Loki_Thor2001. If you were to use two/three brackets and use drywall anchors (which are designed for hanging things on drywall), you could have much more stability and wouldn't add more than a buck or so to your overall cost of materials. Great job. I'm gonna do this with all my school books when I have time!

CaitlynLAG (author)DIY Micah2012-01-11

Yep! I've seen something like this as well at Barnes and Noble, but it was kind of expensive, so I looked to see how to make one, but couldn't find a tutorial that didn't drill right into the book, so I looked for a different way and this is what happened! :)

csswimdude (author)2012-01-10

a thin board with three brackets with one on the stud would take care of the problem. it doesnt take much to support it

CaitlynLAG (author)csswimdude2012-01-10

That's an awesome idea, I seem to look over simple fixes and that would definitely be a simple one! Thank you!

hindsight2020 (author)2012-01-10

Great Instructable, CaitlynLAG! I especially like your hint about placing the screw behind the bit, and looking to see if you see the threads. It seems really obvious to me now! One suggestion: please remedy your typo in the last step: it should read "It might be better to have TWO brackets..." (Using the proper form of to/too/two will clear up that suggestion for your readers.) Again, thanks for sharing!

CaitlynLAG (author)hindsight20202012-01-10

Yes! I've been mreaning to fix that, I found it last night, but for some reason I can't edit on this (I've got an iPad and it won't load) so I need to find a computer soon to fix that!
Then again, I also had to fix the tile, and I typed "bookahelf" instead of "bookshelf" the first time XD
Thanks for commenting and taking the time to look! Glad you found it interesting! :D

mh76dk (author)2012-01-09

You could make it more steady with either a wider wall brace, or two of them (one towards either end)

CaitlynLAG (author)mh76dk2012-01-09

I'll look for some wider ones, thanks! :D
The only problem I had with one on either end is that the studs in the wall are so far apart, it would have to be a giant book, haha.

mh76dk (author)CaitlynLAG2012-01-09

We have to work with what we got :-) Yours still does its job. Using wider or more wall braces is just something to consider next time (or for others planning this)

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