Introduction: Hang a Heavy Display Box on a Wall

About: I love DIY projects and teaching and learning new things!!

I made a light box for this slot machine glass I got as a gift. The whole thing weighs about 10 pounds and I wanted to hang it on the wall. The box is over 16 inches wide so I could screw into 2 wood studs in the wall. This is my solution for a custom bracket that not only hangs the box but also would prevent it from coming off the wall if the box were bumped by accident.

I made the metal brackets from 16 gauge sheet metal at TechShop Detroit.

See if there's a TechShop in your area or learn more about TechShop at

Step 1: Materials Checklist

Things I used to make the brackets and my sources for them:

  1. 16 gauge sheet metal - Home Depot
  2. Dykem blue layout fluid - Production Tool Supply (also available at TechShop)
  3. Metal scribe tool - Production Tool Supply
  4. Matte black powder coating - Harbor Freight Tools
  5. Hanging wire for powder coat booth and oven - Home Depot

Step 2: The Design

The project we're mounting to the wall weighs about 10 pounds. What is nice about this design is the T-shape of the cleat brackets. Once the cleat brackets are sitting between the cleat receiver brackets and the wall, the object on the wall will not be able to slip off the brackets even if the object is bumped (within reason of course). It's quite robust and I hope my attached PDF file shows a little better how the parts go together once assembled.

The other picture showing the dimensions are for a general rule of thumb to get you started. Depending on the size of the object you want to hang on the wall you of course will want to modify and adjust these to fit your application. I'm pretty certain 16 gauge sheet metal is overkill for my 10 pound object but I want no chance of bracket failure :-)

Step 3: Let's Get Started! Layout the Sheet Metal

To start out I'm going to take my design drawing (PDF in the last step) and transfer it to the sheet metal. To do this I use the Dykem blue marking fluid and a scribe tool. I just use a ruler to mark it up and scratch the lines in. Notice where I'm going to make folds I use dashed lines and continuous lines where I intend to cut. "X" markings in areas that will be scrap material.

Step 4: Punch the Holes

You could drill these but it's so fast and easy to do this at TechShop with the sheet metal punch.

All of my holes are 3/16" diameter. This is acceptable for the wood screws on both bracket types. I'll use short but fat sheet metal style screws into my display box. For the receiver brackets on the wall I'm using a 2.5" long wood screw.

Step 5: Shear the Parts to Their Overall Size

The sheet metal shear at TechShop is a fast an accurate way to cut our parts to their overall size. We still will have some more cuts to make for one of the bracket types.

A word of caution when using the shear with this design: make sure you keep your finger tips clear of the bar that comes down near your fingers when cutting! These parts are long enough to use the shear but barely long enough. Please be careful.

Step 6: Corner Notching

Use the Corner Notcher machine at TechShop to cut out the corners on the brackets that attach to our heavy object. Note that 16 gauge sheet metal is the maximum thickness this and other sheet metal machines at TechShop are designed for. It will take a bit of force on this machine's arm to cut through. I weigh about 200 pounds and had to put most of my weight into making the cut.

Step 7: Deburr and Round Edges

Now is a good time to deburr the sharp edges and smooth everything out. I'm using the steel grinding wheel for the corners at TechShop and then rounding sharp edges with a flat file while the part is clamped in a vise.

Step 8: Bending the Parts

The wall mounted brackets call for a small bend about 1/4" from the edges. I don't have enough material here to use the finger brake machine at TechShop so I'll just clamp the parts in a vise and knock them with a hammer to get about a 30 degree bend to the part as you can see in the picture. The other bracket that goes on the heavy object needs a 90 degree bend and had plenty of material on either side of the bend, so for that I will use the Finger Break machine.

Step 9: Sandblasting

The parts are to the shape and size we want them and now all we need to do is get them protected from rust. Here I'm using the sandblaster at TechShop to give the powder coat paint I'll be using a nice surface to stick to. You can see the before and after pictures here.

Step 10: Powder Coating

After sand blasting but prior to powder coating I wash these parts in a solution of water and TSP. This removes the dust and any grease. Then I wipe the parts down with acetone and hang them in the paint booth. After powder coating them they go in an oven at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. After cooling the parts are done and can be attached to the wall and our heavy object.

Step 11: Finished Product - Hang Up Your Heavy Object

I'm showing the finished black powder coated parts but also my initial prototype parts that I used to design these brackets. You can see how the wall brackets are mounted to the wall with wood screws into studs and a wall anchor otherwise (for the screws not going into wall studs). The cleat bracket mounted to the heavy object stands proud of the object's edge by about 1/4" but you might have to tweak this depending on how many washers you use as spacers for the wall and how exact all your bends are.

I hope this Instructable was clear and gave you some ideas for your own project. Please feel free to ask me any questions about how I made my parts. Thanks!