Introduction: Easy Fix for Sagging Floating Shelves

About: Sometimes I have good ideas that work ;-)

So you found a super-cool floating shelf on sale, buy one get one free, at your local craft store.

You carefully measured made sure that the hangers were strong enough; were secured well in the studs, anchored in the drywall, or otherwise properly attached; were the exact distance apart to fit the shelf hardware; and were level.

But no matter what type of screws or hanger you used to attach it to the wall, it sags forward threatening to dump your decorative items onto the floor.

And it makes you sad.

This was me until today! Keep reading.....

Step 1: Gather Supplies

You will need these supplies to fix your sagging shelf:

- Masking tape

- Any type of thin wooden or cardboard shims, or some similar material that you can add in layers.


Make sure that the shape of your shim material will fit completely behind your shelf. The back of shelf I am fixing is about 4" tall, so I used some left-over chipwood gift tags I already had at home from last Christmas.

Do not use anything that will shrink or be compressed by the weight of the decorated shelf.

Step 2: Determine How Many Shims You Need

  • Make sure you have removed all items from the shelf.
  • Hold onto a shim sandwich - two or three shims stacked together with one hand.
  • Keeping the shelf hanging on its wall screws, using your free hand tip the top of the shelf back toward the wall just until it is level. (Sorry I did not get a good picture of doing that - ran out of hands!)
  • Slide the shims behind the bottom edge of the shelf, and allow the shelf to rest against the shims.
  • If the shelf now is level, you have figured it out in one try! Otherwise, experiment a little with the number of shims you need. Each type of shelf will require a different number of shims.

Step 3: Secure the Shims to Your Shelf

- Bind the shims together, making a shim sandwich with masking tape or duct tape or whatever other type of type will stick to your shelf.

- Then tape the shim sandwich onto the shelf, with the longest edge of the shim sandwich lined up with the lower edge of the shelf.

Step 4: Rehang the Shelf

- Tip the top edge of the shelf toward the wall as you hang it back onto its wall screws or other fastener.

- Carefully lower the bottom edge back toward the wall.

- If you used the correct number of layers, your shim sandwich will keep the lower edge of the shelf a little away from the wall and level the shelf.

- Make sure the shelf is now sitting level.

Step 5: Voila! Decorate Your Shelf and Smile

- Make sure that you follow the total weight limits of both your shelf AND the wall screws or other wall attachment.

- Keep your decoration weight plus shelf weight UNDER the total weight limit of the wall screws.

Step 6: Let Me Know If This Worked for You!

I would love to hear if this helped anyone else :-)

Miscellaneous and Where to Buy

Disclaimers: 1) Make sure that whatever you choose to tape the shims to the shelf actually sticks to the shelf. 2) I do not work for any of the companies listed below, nor do I own the rights to any of the products shown below. 3) The products shown and used may or may not still be available by the time you read this. 4) Just trying to be helpful and let folks know about exactly what I used.

The shelf: Wooden Plank Ledge by Studio Decor 24" - purchased at Michael's Craft Store

The hangers: Originally this shelf was hung in my bathroom using screws with drywall anchors; it sagged there, too. Now since I am renting, I used 2 Command Universal Picture Hangers (5 lb rating each)

The "shims" (gift tags): Originally "Spritz" brand purchased at Target no longer available; similar ones here

The lovely hand painted palm trees on Tapa cloth is by artist Fualupe Silva (Tu'ihalafatai) on the island of Kauai. Lupe has been selling at craft markets all four years I have visited Kauai since 2013. If you buy something from her, tell her we love this picture! It brings back great memories of time spent there.