How to Mount a Shelf With Wood Shelf Brackets




Everyone needs a single shelf somewhere in their home.  I will show you how to mount a shelf measuring 3/4" X 10" X 36".  To support the shelf, I'm using two cherry concave 8 shelf brackets from Tyler Morris Woodworking.  One shelf bracket is mounted to a wooden stud and the other is attached to drywall only using Toggler drywall anchors.

I'm aware that the shelf brackets have a 250 lb. capacity rating and the Toggler brand drywall anchors have a 200 lb. capacity rating.  I plan on using my shelf for books and small objects. It's safe to assume that this load  will not cause my shelf to fail.


Step 1: Tools and Materials

I'm the owner of and I'm using two of our Cherry Concave 8 shelf brackets and a 3/4" X 10" X 36" shelf.  The simple tools required to install your shelf are the following; 4' level, 9" level, hammer or mallet, drill, drill bits, masking tape, pencil, screwdriver and a stud finder.  You will also need hardware for mounting the shelf to wooden studs and to drywall only.  This includes #10 x 2 1/2" flat head wood screws, 10-24 X 2" flat head machine screws, #8 X 1 1/4" flat head wood screws and Toggler brand drywall anchors.  You will also require 7/16" button head wood plugs. 

Step 2: Layout and Planning Part 1

My plan is to mount the shelf about 6" to the right of some existing molding and...

Step 3: Layout and Planning Part 2

...about 66" off the floor.

Step 4: Layout and Planning Part 3

Then I use my 4' level to create a level line from my 66" mark.

Step 5: Planning and Layout Part 4

I place a mark along my level line to represent the end of my shelf.  In my case, at 36".

Step 6: Planning and Layout Part 5

Using my stud finder, I locate 2 wood studs along the 32" span.  I determine that there is a stud located 7" from the right edge of the shelf and another stud 13" from the left edge of the shelf.  The stud located 7" from the right edge of the shelf looks appealing and will certainly do the job.  Naturally, I want the shelf to look balanced.  Therefore, I will mount the left shelf bracket 7" from the left edge of the shelf.  I will install this shelf bracket to the drywall only using Toggler brand drywall anchors.

Important Safety Considerations:
You obviously don't want to drill into plumbing, gas lines, or electrical wiring. There are many intuitive techniques for determining where these potential dangers live behind your walls, however it's best to consult a professional or if possible, your house plans.

Step 7: Mounting to a Stud Part 1

I line up the shelf bracket to the center of the right stud and 66" line and make it plumb using a 9" level.  I then mark the upper and lower pilot hole locations with a pencil.

Step 8: Mounting to a Stud Part 2

I drill an 1/8" pilot for the upper and lower holes.

Step 9: Mounting to a Stud Part 3

I then screw the shelf bracket to the stud using two #10 X 2 1/2" flat head wood screws. 

Step 10: Mounting to Drywall Part 1

Next repeat Step 8.  Except this time disregard the 66" height line.  The important thing is to locate this bracket level to the installed one.  Also, use the 9" level to make it plumb.

Step 11: Mounting to Drywall Part 2

Like Step 9, drill your upper and lower holes.  However, this time drill 1/2" holes to accept the Toggler brand drywall anchors.  Insert the anchor into the hole until it seats against the other side of the drywall.

Step 12: Mounting to Drywall Part 3

Then slide the flange down the cable ties until it firmly fits inside your 1/2" hole.  Next snap off the excess cable ties by simply moving them side to side.

Step 13: Mounting to Drywall Part 4

Attach the shelf brackets using two 2'" long 10-24  flat head machine screws. 

Step 14: Plug Screw Holes

Plug the screw holes with 7/16" cherry button plugs.  Tap them in with a rubber mallet or a hammer with its head wrapped with a soft rag.

Step 15: Attach Shelf

Now is a good time to erase/clean off your layout pencil lines.  Then place shelf atop the brackets.  Drill pilot holes in the underside of the shelf using a 3/32" drill bit wrapped with masking tape at 1 1/4" from the tip so you don't drill through the shelf.

Step 16: Attach the Shelf Part 2

Lastly, fasten down the shelf using two #8 X 1 1/4" flat head screws.



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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    new to instructables,looks like another resource for my @ home "to do/projects "


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks folks.  Instructables is new to me.  I have spent the past two evenings immersed in it. 
    I had fun writing this tutorial and I have a list of other wood related projects that I would like to share too.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! This is awesome! Lots of clever ideas I hadn't seen before here (e.g. the masking tape on the 3/32" drill bit to keep it from poking through). And nice shelf brackets, too.

    It appears that the shelf sits back about 3/4" from the wall, since the vertical member of the shelf bracket prevents the shelf from being flush with the wall. Have you found that to be an annoying feature, or is it fine the way it is? I imagine smaller items might fall through.

    Were anyone deterred by that aspect of the design, I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to put 3/4"x2"(?) rabbet joints on the ends of your shelf so it fits snuggly in between the vertical members of the shelf bracket.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi and thanks for the compliment and feedback. Yes, with this design the shelf will remain the 3/4" from the wall, but one can "notch" the shelf to make it sit flush with the wall. Also, fyi, we make a bracket that the shelf sits on top, therefore allowing the shelf to install flush to the wall. -Tyler

    Corbels for granite countertops.jpg

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable, is it ready made shelf or you have build it?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice guide! Thanks for sharing it with us. You could use redi-drivers in place of the toggles.

    owl box

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I appreciate that you took the time to put together a tutorial, that novice "handymen" will find useful.  People that arrive at Instructables looking for general advice may be intimidated, unless someone provides these kinds of "basic how-to" articles.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    That's very good, you show everything very clearly.