Introduction: Inverted Bookshelf

Picture of Inverted Bookshelf

The inverted bookshelf turns a bit of your living room upside down as it hangs all of the books from the bottom instead of supporting them from below. It's a satisfying optical trick and doesn't damage any of the books. In fact, you can take books in and out of it whenever you want.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

In addition to the basic materials for a shelf of wood and brackets, you will also need elastic webbing and a staple gun. The elastic that I'm using here can stretch beyond 200% of its original size and is certainly strong enough to hold the books here.

optional: glue gun

Step 2: Measure It Out

Picture of Measure It Out

The key things you need to figure out are how wide your books are and what length of elastic is good enough to support all of the books against the board without crushing them against it.

Measuring out my books, the average width was one inch and the ideal length of elastic turned out to be 14 inches.

Step 3: Staple the Elastic to the Board

Picture of Staple the Elastic to the Board

Now that you have a length and a width, the next step is to staple gun two pieces of elastic down the middle of the board. I'm going to be suspending 12 books here, so I used just over 14 feet of material for each side.

Start each piece of elastic with the excess facing in. Staple this in place and fold the elastic back over to start running it down the board. Measure out 14 inches, staple it one inch farther and repeat until you get to the other end and fold the excess back inside again before stapling it.

Step 4: Insert Books to Test

Picture of Insert Books to Test

I slid the books in and even the heaviest book was perfectly snug. It turned out that two straps was too much for the smaller books and started to compress them, so I only used the front strap and squished the other strap behind it.

Step 5: Add Brackets and Attach to Wall

Picture of Add Brackets and Attach to Wall

Now that you know that the shelf itself is stable, add a couple of brackets to the other side of the board. Then simply screw it into the wall.

Note: This was intended for a short term installation. To make it more permanent, I'd recommend hiding a couple L brackets on the underside.

Step 6: Sit Back and Enjoy

Picture of Sit Back and Enjoy

You can leave it as is or go for some more realism by gluing some toys, bookends, or even a fake drink to the bottom of the board to complete the look!


trochee (author)2009-08-16

I just combined this Instrutable with another one, and it looks really cool.

I now have books hanging off a book with books stacked on top of it!

trochee (author)trochee2009-08-16

Here are pictures of my final product. I painted the invisible shelves with acrylic paint and a glue gun. Since the book's cardboard cover was easy to pierce with the staples, the project was easy as pie. I would recommend, when creating the invisible shelves, to screw through the outer cover, since the weight of the hanging books will just peel the cover down. I used an elastic band instead, but in hindsight it would be easier to use screws.

Kaiven (author)trochee2009-10-01

Wait... how did you paint an invisible shelf? I can't really tell what in the picture is painted...

trochee (author)Kaiven2009-10-01


foobear (author)trochee2014-06-16

insert 'yo dawg' meme here

bassclarinet23 (author)trochee2009-10-25


Foaly7 (author)trochee2009-10-03

Awesome fusion of instructables (I call that type of project Fusibles), dude!

deboraesc (author)2015-08-06

I wonder if the brackets could have been placed under the wooden piece, thus hidden by the books. Has anybody tried?

nathaliadanielle123 (author)2015-04-28

Hi how are you? I found very interesting your tutorial, I translated it into Brazilian Portuguese and posted on my blog with additional tips on what I found the tutorial, so that people of my country could know, however, did not forget the credits and informed at the end of post the original tutorial has his credit, also put the direct link of your post I'll post the tutorial Your Tomorrow

Yagi_ATTAroqi (author)2015-03-30

cool bro !

AikkuL (author)2015-03-30

That's great idea. You can use book shelf twice. =) Thank you for sharing this.

singerboy41 (author)2015-03-29

Not to be disgusting, but as dust is mainly dead skin cells, would dust in books not mean that you do read them alot?

bhanon815 (author)2015-03-28


rosey gillespie (author)2015-03-28

This is a good idea especially for when you have books in a humid place. By giving more space between each hanging book you allow for air to circulate and remove humidity which leads to molds forming. very interesting !

Lachlan Van Vliet (author)2015-03-28

that is blimin awesome

ocelothover (author)2015-03-28

Thats terrific

Snellingkorey (author)2015-01-06

Cool idea,

davidbarcomb (author)2014-11-17

This is really cool. Nice trick

parisusa (author)2013-09-17


chatrooms (author)parisusa2014-01-31


Teachable (author)2013-08-05

Nice job very cool.

psimpleman (author)2013-06-22

I like it.

Kelly02 (author)2013-06-20


Audio Solutions (author)2013-03-11

great job! i gotta try this lol

Killergunman (author)2013-01-19

Double sided shelf books bottom nik nacks up top!

Stupidy stu (author)2012-11-30

I love it.
You have just made my day.
for weeks now, my wife has been asking me for some Bookshelves.
Thank you.
She Will Go Nuts.

critternerd (author)2010-02-01

You know, they say English is the hardest language to learn...

Heywasup (author)critternerd2010-02-21

 actually the hardest is arabic

SimoMies (author)Heywasup2010-07-02

Really? I personally thought that it was Chinese, but I stand corrected. Finnish is quite tricky aswell :3

lapiosaatana (author)SimoMies2010-11-25

mm suomi on top 10 vaikeimissa enkku on helppo same in english:
yeah finnish is in top 10 languages and english is easy

ZokiS (author)lapiosaatana2011-06-19

А што правиме со Македонскиов? Го има на листата?
What about Macedonian? Where is is located on the list?

I3uckwheat (author)ZokiS2011-09-09

I vote algebra

lapiosaatana (author)I3uckwheat2011-09-11

Some proofs that finöand is hard to learn.

kyriaap (author)lapiosaatana2011-10-04

Don't forget Dutch.. when do use a 'd' or a 't' and using the correct grammar?

smileys (author)kyriaap2011-11-06

Russian is pretty hard I hear. Also do dead languages count? If so what about Greek or Latin.

On a different note, this is a great Instructable really made me scratch my head at first.

4lifenerdfighter (author)smileys2012-11-30

All of you stop. How has nobody mentioned TlhIngan Hol?

Sketch98 (author)critternerd2010-07-29

thats because no one speaks using proper English grammar

GeekBeam (author)critternerd2010-05-02

it's the biggest not the hardest to learn to communicate fully, but hardest to master

BigBadgers2001 (author)2012-11-10

This is just crazy and I love it.

sg1570 (author)2012-08-13

I like this creative idea

goldenshuttle (author)2012-04-26

smart and cool. good job man

Lil wenchie (author)2012-03-29

I love this project and will definitely make one when I get my own place. Also, it's famous. See number 17

Shujon (author)2012-01-27

Nice work there... what other things we can put upside down :D

lemaisonbelle (author)2012-01-21

FYI - the Michael Chabon book in your photo is worth up to $600 if it's a first edition...or was...

zebede5 (author)2012-01-13

Little Brother is possible my favorite book of all time.

wobbler (author)2011-12-24

I thought all the bookshelves in Australia were like this?

nevertback (author)2011-12-14


sofiyyullah (author)2011-11-14

@ richelton -Nice one.How dou you get the hooks?

Lohkee (author)2011-11-04

Your project kicks ASK!!!
That's awesome - and it'll make any guest think twice - LOVE IT!!!!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
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