Introduction: No Holes, No Glue Bathroom Shelf

Picture of No Holes, No Glue Bathroom Shelf

For my new (and very small) bathroom, I wanted to make some shelves. I'm not really sure how definite the shelves will be. So I didn't want to drill any holes in my new tiles. Besides that, the tiler told me that my tiles are extremely hard and therefore almost impossible to drill into.

I never like to glue shelves, because glue will get old and the shelves might come down in time.

My bathroom is small, but big enough for me. The small size of my bathroom is an advantage when I want to clamp my shelves in place, so that is what I did.

You do need two walls close to each other to clamp the shelf in-between.

Step 1: You Will Need

Picture of You Will Need



  • wood
  • wood-glue
  • laquer


  • aluminium or inox 15 x 15 mm L-profile
  • aluminium or inox 15 x 15 x 15 mm U-profile
  • Inox screws
  • Inox nuts and bolts (M6)
  • rubber blanket
  • contact cement



  • wood clamps
  • brushes
  • saw
  • router


  • drill
  • screwdriver
  • 10 mm spanner (2x)

Step 2: The Shelves

Picture of The Shelves

I will not really go into detail in how to make the shelves. You can make them however you please.

A few things are important:

  • The length of the shelf needs to be just 2 mm shorter than the space between the two walls.
  • The shelf needs to be strong enough to hold the power of the clamp. Both the pushing strength and the screws that hold the clamp.
  • To hide the clamp it is nice to have a lip in front of the clamp.

Step 3: Prepare the Metal for the Clamp

Picture of Prepare the Metal for the Clamp

To make the clamp you will need some metal profiles that doesn't rust. In a bathroom, that would be a problem.

  • Measure the width of the shelf behind the the lip.
  • Cut two pieces of L-profile and one of the U-profile to the width of the shelf.
  • Drill four holes in one side of the L-profile. Big enough for the inox screws to fit through.
  • Do the same with the other L-profile.
  • Clamp or hold one L-profile to the U-profile.
  • Drill two 6 mm holes through both the L-profile and the U-profile for the M6 bolts to go through.

Step 4: Add the Rubber Blanket

Picture of Add the Rubber Blanket

To really give the clamp some holding power, we need to add some rubber. I used rubber from a rubber blanket that offset printers use and throw away every now and then. You can also use rubber from a inner tire or something you have.

  • Measure the size of the cut profile.
  • Cut the rubber to size. (2x)
  • Glue the rubber to one L-profile. (on the outside of the side where not the holes are)
  • Glue the other piece of rubber to the U-profile. (on the outside of the side opposed to the side with the holes)

Step 5: Test Fit

Picture of Test Fit

This is a good moment to test fit het clamp and pre-drill all the holes.

  • Put the L-profile with the rubber on it on one edge of the shelf, with the rubber just outside the shelf.
  • Hold it firmly in place.
  • Mark the four holes with a drill that is just smaller than the screws.
  • Remove the L-profile.
  • Drill the holes. Make sure that you don't go through the other end.
  • Screw the L-profile in place.
  • Put the bolts through the 6 mm holes of the L-profile from the inside out.
  • Put nuts on the bolts. (just 10 mm in)
  • Put the U-profile on the bolts.
  • Place the two profiles with the bolts on the other side of the shelf with the rubber just inside the shelf.
  • Mark the holes for the screws with the small drill.
  • Remove the profiles.
  • Drill the holes for the screws.
  • Screw the profile to the shelf.

Step 6: Finish the Shelf

Picture of Finish the Shelf

This is a good moment to test fit your shelf.

If it fits... well it is time to take off all the profiles again.

Now finish the shelf. For me that was sanding, lacquer, sanding, lacquer, sanding... well you will get the picture.

Step 7: Putt It Back Together

Picture of Putt It Back Together

Put all the profiles back on. It is really easy now, because all the holes are pre-drilled already and all the screws have been pre-screwed.

Be careful not to scratch or damage anything.

Step 8: Place the Shelf

Picture of Place the Shelf

Now it is time to place the shelf!

  • Put the shelf in place.
  • Bolt the nut further on the bolt with the two spanners.
  • Bolt until the rubber on the U-profile clamps to the wall.

(You might want to put a drop of lock-tide on the bolt)



datoo786 (author)2017-11-17

Hi there,

This design caught my eye. It made me think how it works and then I decided to ask you more about it. I hope I am understanding the mechanism correctly.

At the wall end, the U and L profile increase the thickness of the profile.

At the bolt-head/nut/L profile, there is just L profile. When you tighten the nut, that would put pressure on this L profile. This plate is more likely to bend more that the thicker profile at the wall end.


kenyer (author)datoo7862017-11-17

Hi Datoo,

Both profiles are the same thickness. I just used an U-profile so it will stay in place. I have this shelves still in place and they work perfectly.

datoo786 (author)kenyer2017-11-19

Hi there,

I totally agree with you. It was my confusion thinking there was L-profile under the U-profile.

Once again keep up with good work. Simple engineering = big benefits. Any other solutions you have to share?

kenyer (author)datoo7862017-11-19

I'm am working on a lot of projects, but not all are my design, so it is not up to me to post them. I hope to post a real nice Sumo-robot kit soon. Not a solution for a problem, but very cool to play with.

SherylinRM (author)2016-08-11

GREAT idea.

For renters this is a fantastic idea.

Thanks :)

kenyer (author)SherylinRM2016-08-12

Thanx, and they still didn't come down :)

brendan945 (author)2016-05-24


kenyer (author)brendan9452016-05-24

thank you

themhs65 (author)2016-05-11

Hi there.

I like your thoughts but you will have to notice that the limitations on implied weight on the selves of this kind of installation (mean with pressure, without holes or glue). But in any case it is remarkable the way of instalment. Congrats!!

kenyer (author)themhs652016-05-11

Yes I know. I'm not going to sit on it. Until now, they are still holding :)

themhs65 (author)kenyer2016-05-11

Of course you will not do it!!!!!! I know my friend. My comment was to trigger other watchers.....Have fan!

kenyer (author)themhs652016-05-12


themhs65 (author)2016-05-11

Hi there.

I like your thoughts but you will have to notice that the limitations on implied weight on the selves of this kind of installation (mean with pressure, without holes or glue). But in any case it is remarkable the way of instalment. Congrats!!

anax22 (author)2016-05-09

thanx man
since most collage dorms have "no wall modification policies" that should help alot
i could think also of wall hangers
and all sorts of stuff mounted that way

kenyer (author)anax222016-05-09

It would be great if you could post some pictures when you've made something with this.

shyrell (author)2016-04-28

Drilling holes in ceramic tiles is an easy enough thing to do. Purchase tile drill bits from Lowes Hardware or Home Depot. They look like little Indian arrowheads. The trick is to keep the bits wet while drilling. I used a spray bottle with water. The other 'most' important thing to do is only drill for for a few SECONDS at a time. These precautions are necessary to keep the tip from becoming too hot and breaking. I was about 62 years old when I did this. And I am a Grandmother! That's how simple it can be. Happy drilling! :)

kenyer (author)shyrell2016-05-05

Thank you for this explanation. The problem is that I have extra hard tiles, so they are only cut-able with a diamond-drill-bit. According to my tiler that is.

FlorinJ (author)kenyer2016-05-06

I have porcelain tiles on my kitchen floor too. While it was a slow process, a 1/3" masonry drill bit had no problem getting through it (for a door stop), even if it did take a while.

FlorinJ (author)shyrell2016-04-29

The problem isn't drilling the holes, it's filling them if you remove the shelf, for whatever reasons - you can do it nicely, but it will always show.

If you do decide to drill, any masonry drill bit will do. You just have to make sure you don't use percussion and don't go too fast (i.e. you should set your drill hammer on low speed and no percussion) until you're through the tile - you can use percussion afterwards, when/if you hit brick or concrete.

You also have to make sure you keep the drill straight, aligned with the hole through the tile you initially drilled, or the tile you drilled through might become loose (no biggie either, you can glue it back on, provided it doesn't break).

You don't have to keep the drill wet, it only helps bind the dust as it is created, instead of spreading all over your bathroom. Instead of wetting the drill, I use a vacuum cleaner with its nozzle placed on the wall right beneath the hole - it sucks up all dust as it is created. You can also drill continuously, neither the drill bit nor the drill hammer will mind.

kenyer (author)FlorinJ2016-05-05

For normal tiles that would work perfectly, but not for my Italian tiles.

fflipp (author)shyrell2016-04-29

A hammer drill and an ordinary mason bit works well on tile, too.

westjessie (author)2016-04-28

I had the same problem as Jon -- I did not understand at all until the very end, when I had my "aha" moment -- though I looked carefully at all the pictures along the way -- how the "clamps" were going to work.

To me the word "clamp" has always meant squeezing something between two "jaws."

It might be good to call these ingenious bolt devices "pressure supports" or something else that avoids the use of the word clamp...and very importantly, show us the picture of the finished project first.

Also you have a few typos: in one case "the" is spelled "het" and earlier in the article "therefore" is misspelled "therefor," and in the sentence "...something is doesn't rust" the "is" should be "that."

Lastly I wish people writing these wonderful instructibles would define unfamiliar terms like "profiles" -- or at least say "this is a profile -- they are used in x work" and show a picture. I was not sure what "profiles" referred to in the directions.

kenyer (author)westjessie2016-05-06

Perhaps it might be a great idea if you write an Ible especially for foreign members to help them with the most used mistakes and the correct technical words for the most (mis)used items.

Your help would be appreciated by me, as long as it is not telling me what I do wrong, but helping me.

Misspellings like "therefore" are impossible to avoid for me as a not English speaking, dyslectic, but it would be great to have the right word for a lot of technical stuff. Google Translate obviously isn't perfect in that.

Perhaps a serie of pictures of tools with the correct name next to it?

kenyer (author)westjessie2016-05-05

English is not my language, so posting a perfectly spelled Ible in your crazy difficult language is not possible for me.

The first picture of the Ible is the finished "press?"

It would be no problem for me to write you a perfect explanation in Dutch if that might help you?

If this are all the errors you could find in my Ible, than I am really proud.

Can you please give me a better word for "profile". It is the only word I know to translate the Dutch word "profiel".

Picture of the "profile" is on the second page.

bevin.chu (author)2016-04-28

That wash basin looks a lot like a stainless steel "Blanda Blank" IKEA salad bowl!

kenyer (author)bevin.chu2016-05-05

Caught me. It is!

bevin.chu (author)kenyer2016-05-05


kenyer (author)bevin.chu2016-05-06

You can find all my secrets (about this Ikea-hack) here:

karen ashley (author)2016-04-28

Brilliant work. Hope you don't have to rent forever.

kenyer (author)karen ashley2016-05-05

No worries, I don't rent, but still like to be able to change my shelves without leaving marks.

karen ashley (author)kenyer2016-05-05

Nice job.

kastellan (author)2016-04-24


kenyer (author)kastellan 2016-05-05


karlbamforth (author)2016-04-24

Well done, a great idea well executed.

kenyer (author)karlbamforth2016-05-05

Thank you

ksjunto (author)2016-04-25

Very nice design! Well made.

kenyer (author)ksjunto2016-05-05


Lorddrake (author)2016-04-25

I love the concept of these shelves .. great job

kenyer (author)Lorddrake2016-05-05

Thank you

Make_This (author)2016-04-26

Good technique. Nice looking shelf.

kenyer (author)Make_This2016-05-05


daniel41campero (author)2016-04-28

Great solution for shelves!! Will remember that also for walled wardrobes ;)

kenyer (author)daniel41campero2016-05-05

When the walls are sturdy enough it might be working.

ctalcott1 (author)2016-04-28

I love the idea that it can be adjusted. Especially in that humid Environment!

kenyer (author)ctalcott12016-05-05

Thank you

DahliaW2 (author)2016-04-28

I am impressed. You did a lot of thinking on not having to make hole in you tile. I like it and will keep this in mind for future use.

kenyer (author)DahliaW22016-05-05

I do my best thinking in the shower :)

amorawala (author)2016-04-28


In my new bathroom, the same shelf will be about 4 feet. I also plan to have a full mirror above the sink. Maybe I should place the shelf a bit lower and the mirror above the shelf.

kenyer (author)amorawala2016-05-05

please post a picture when it is finished.

Rich Carver (author)2016-04-28

Excellent example of thinking "outside the box"! Thank you.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a social-worker, working with 12 - 23 year-olds. I used to be a printer and I worked voluntarily in Romania for a couple of ... More »
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