Introduction: Screw-free, Damage Free, Tool Free Shelf
Are you tired of your cluttered desk at your dorm? Need more cheap, effective, or heavy duty storage space that can be removed without a trace at the end of the year? Well, then here is your instructable. This shelf system is based off of materials that can be purchased from your local campus store, or even stuff you may have lying around, and can hold astonishing amounts of weight. These shelves are entirely removable, portable, and can even be stacked on top of each other without an issue. These shelves can easily hold 10 pounds a piece on less than ideal walls, and can be put up or torn down in a matter of minutes.
Just an update, It's been 3 months since original installation, and it's still holding very well. Clears a lot of space off desk.
Step 1: Gathering Your Materials
For this project, you will need a few parts
1. 2 packs of 2 Command adhesive wall hooks. Medium strength or above.
2. A clipboard or flat board- this will be your shelf. If considering making a long shelf, consider something that is less prone to flexing under weight.
3. binder clips (at least 2 per shelf
4. Shoe laces, heavy twine or rope. a pair of shoe laces or two 4.5' segments of rope (you can pull some off your old Adidas, if you dont care much. I recommend buying some cheap shoelaces from walmart)
5. duct tape (not pictured)
Step 2: Attach the Wall Hooks
To begin, attach the 4 wall hooks to the wall in a rectangle pattern. the distance between each of the hooks horizontally should be at least 1" less than the length of the board, and around 12-18 inches apart vertically. If you have a level, now may be a good time to use it, but you should be able to level the shelf enough using only a keen eye. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE BOX when attaching your wall hooks, as you may not want your valuables crashing to the ground the night before your final. If done correctly, even textured walls should be able to hold up to reasonable tasks. I would suggest that when you go to attach the wall hook, remove the hook so only the adhesive and back plate are out, and then pressing the plate to the wall so that all of the adhesive can attach. Weak adhesive bonds can cause overloading that can damage paint.
Step 3: Measure the String
After you wait 1 hour for the glue in the hooks to cure, use a binder clip clip each shoelace to one edge of the clipboard, near the corner. If done correctly, the shoelace will create a loop, as shown in the pics. Place the other edge on the lower 2 hooks, and attach the loop of each string to the upper hooks. Shorten up the shoelaces until the board is level. If done correctly, you will have a drawbridge-like shelf that can hold...nothing yet. At this point, do not test your shelf, or the weight may cause the binder clips to pop out.
Step 4: Re Enforce With Duct Tape
At this point, you are almost done, but that pesky extra line is still hanging out. You need to tape this down, as this is what holds the board to the strings to the wall. Remove your shelf without pulling the string out of the clips. First, tape the 2 ends of the shoelace to the board, flat side down to increase surface area. If the string gets within 1 inch of the end of the board, loop it around, and tape the excess back toward the other edge, as shown.
Step 5: Prevent Side Slips
To prevent the board from slipping sideways on the 2 small hooks, simply roll up 4 tubes of duct tape, with the sticky side out. Attach 1 on the edge of the board, where the command hook goes, and another on the outer edge, to form an L. This will prevent side slipping
Step 6: Mounting / Removal
Simply place the board on the command hooks with the duct tape tubes in between the hook and the base of the hook, and attach the string to the upper hooks. If you did it right, it will look like the picture. To remove, simply pull off the shelf, push the hooks up to reveal the underside, and slowly pull on the tab. Viola!
Now, you can test out your new shelf. My shelf, mounted on a textured wall with medium adhesive command hooks, was able to support a 12 pack of lipton teas, or around 12.5 pounds. On a flat or conventionally painted wall with heavier duty adhesive, the wall's the limit. However, before going above this figure, or 25 pounds of weight for dual shelves, remember to stress test the wall. Place a weight that is 10-20 percent larger than what you intend to put on the shelf, and leave it for a minute. If you do not hear a cracking noise, and your shelf remains intact, then you are ready to use the shelf.
If you do hear cracking, remove the shelf and check the adhesive pads. Any mis-step in applying even one of these pads can result in shelf failure. On dual shelves, investigate the center hooks, as these are the main failure point, and consider using heavy duty adhesive command hooks on these.
Step 7: MODS!!!
There are several mods you can do on these shelves to increase storage. For example, if you use a larger wooden board, you could put more stuff on the shelf. You can also stack the lower board of 1 shelf on the upper hooks of another, meaning you can stack 2 shelves on 6 hooks, 3 shelves on 8 hooks, etc. You may also use another pair of lower hooks to prevent the shelf from flexing.
Have your own ideas? Figure out how to mount LED lights to your shelf to turn it into a hanging lamp? Awesome! post ideas in the comments section on this page, or if they are separate instructables, post your links below. The most innovative ones will be posted on this page.