In some case mounting those boring shelves just won't do. In this case, I needed to toss together some Fluorescent Acrylic Shelving for StockingNoir.com They were doing and in store display and so I volunteered my services. If you want to know I made this at Techshop and learned a lot of helpful tips from the dream consultants in the process.
To start consider two options.
1. Do you love Acrylic ? If Yes, Okay continue.
2. Do you need a shelf that is going to hold a lot of weight? If Yes, you might want to add some Steel to your acrylic shelving. :)
Next Step, 1st Step
Step 1: Plastic and Wood
For the 1/4" orange shelf I found a 2' x 4' piece from a local plastics distributor, which was then cut in half on the table saw. The 1/8" red sheet (pink) was originally 24" x 24", which I also cut in half and was purchased online (not recommended) I have found that you will pay minimum 3x the actual cost of the acrylic if you order from an online store, not to mention shipping. If you can call around locally and see if anyone near you will cut to size.
I was going to make some custom corbels, but before I bought the wood at home depot I found these pre-made 12" x 10" ones for about $2.50 a pop, and some 6" x 4" ones for $2. I picked up 4 of the larger ones and two of the smaller.
After you cut the Acrylic it will leave a sub par edge, on to the next step.
Step 2: Give the Acrylic a Good Edge
There are multiple ways to get a nice polished edge with acrylic. I watched this video while I was eating popcorn at techshop. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhAXbA2lmnE
If you want a flat edge look into Map Gas torches, but I went with a simple routed edge look.
I also tried to buff it smooth with a dremel, but that's not a good idea, it just leads to inconsistent surface polishing and can melt into the plastics requiring another run on the table router. I even tried a drill and larger buffing wheel but it was still crap. Go with the gas or even just the table router edge, the better the bit and technique, the better the edge.
Step 3: Prep the Corbel
I needed to reposition the mounting plate so that the longer edge would support the acrylic, a simple screwdriver fixed that.
I also like a natural wood finish, but the project and store didn't call for it. So I went along with the plan and stuck to black. Some rust-oleum and the paint booth worked out in a total of 2 hours. I also painted the heads of my screws that I planned on sinking into the acrylic.
Step 4: The Hardest Part
Now this is where everything gets a little bit tricky. If you plan on using glue, just skip this step, but I needed to connect the acrylic with screws. Found the wood screws that I wanted to use had a max head diameter of a little over 5/16", which meant that I could pre-drill the acrylic with a 5/16" bit. I marked the placement for the drill holes at least 2" away from any edge, and roughly equal distance apart. You will want to leave the protective film on and slowly move in with the drill press. To fast could easily crack your surface before it is even installed. I only made four holes towards the back of the plastic. The smaller sheet was much simpler and I decided to pre-mount the corbel onto that one to make it easier to install once I arrived at the store.
Last step: Install it in the store. Some precise marking, drilling, and some wall anchors later and my corbels were ready for mounting. I placed the four large ones on first, then drilled the screws down. And that's that, I was done.
Just to recap:
1. Buy your plastics locally.
2. Give it a good edge
3. Measure Precisely, drill, and mount with caution.
Hope you enjoy, leave your feedback below, I love to read it.