Make Custom Bookshelves and Metal Hangers



Introduction: Make Custom Bookshelves and Metal Hangers


In this Instructables I want to share the bookshelves I recently built in the living room. My house isn't very big and regular book shelves take up valuable wall space so I decided get rid of them and use space above the where the TV for storing books. I wanted a solution that looked sleek and elegant but was strong. After some searching online for ideas I came across different ideas on Pinterest and went with metal hangers/brackets.

What makes these bookshelves look really nice is the thickness of the wood, it gives them a substance that is and looks strong. The metal hangers also act as book stops.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • 1/8" x1" x 9" hot rolled flat steel stock (12 pieces)
  • 3/4" x 1" x 22" hot rolled flat steel stock (12 pieces)
  • 3/4" shop grade plywood (8 pieces, ripped to 8 1/4")
  • clear pine board (knot free)
  • Wood screws

These are the major tools used but other small hand tools maybe required:


  • Sheet metal pliers
  • Vice
  • Hammer
  • Welder
  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Hacksaw/metal bandsaw
  • Angle grinder
  • Drill
  • Brad nailer

Step 2: Video

Check out the video too, written steps follow:

Step 3: Making Metal Hangers

The metal hangers/brackets were made from 1/8" x 1" and 1/8" x 3/4" hot rolled flat stock. The flat part that mounts to the wall is 1/8" x1" and bracket with all the bends is 1/8" x 3/4".

The reason why I am using hot rolled steel is it has mill scale which give the metal an interesting patina and provides a layer of protection, as I will not be painting these.

I first made a prototype to test fit the shelf. The shelf is 1.5" thick and 9" wide, so I sized the bracket to those dimensions. Once I was happy with the size, I then started a production line and churned 12 of them.

I made a template on a piece of wood so I could make sure each hanger was consistent. I did QA on each one of them!

Cut the Metal:

To build the hangers, I cut the 1/8" x 1" into 9" pieces, these are the backs. The 1/8" x 3/4" was cut into 22" long pieces, these are slightly longer than needed and will be cut to length after bending.

Bending the Metal:

Next is to bend the 3/4" stock into shape, consistency is key and ideally using a metal brake would make this easy but since I don't have one I improvised:

  • using a vice, a pair of sheet metal pliers, wood and hammer;
  • each bend was first held in the vice then bent with the sheet metal pliers until I couldn't bend it any more (the jaws hit the vice);
  • finishing the bend was accomplished by using a piece of wood and hammer (the wood is just to protect the metal from the hammer marks);
  • tapping on the wood against the metal until the metal bends until the rest of the way;
  • two bends were made one at 90 degrees and one at just over 45 degrees;
  • check against the template and adjust as necessary;
  • cut to the proper size;
  • repeat until the required number have been made.

Welding the Hangers

Once the bending is complete, next it was time to weld:

  • Using a welding magnet the bent metal was held in place against the 1" piece at 90 degrees and then welded;
  • You have a little adjustments that can be made at this point before welded if you cuts were not exact. Once happy with the fit, weld in place;
  • repeat until the required number have been made.

Drill holes

  • Drill a hole at the top and bottom of the backing of the hangers for mounting
  • Drill a hole on the piece of metal where the shelf will sit for securing the shelf to the hanger


  • I am leaving the hangers with the mill scale for a rustic look but you can paint them.

Step 4: Making the Wooden Shelves

For the wooden shelves, I wanted a thick looking shelf for two reasons: strength and for aesthetics. To buy a board in the length and thickness would be outrageously expensive. So I used shop grade 3/4" plywood and laminated them together and then faced them with clear pine (knot free).

I ripped the plywood on a table saw to 8 1/4" wide and then glued and brad nailed them together. The nails are really only just to clamp them until the glue dries.

Then I got some pine shelving and ripped them on the table saw into 1 1/2" x 3/4" strips. I mitered the corners, glued and brad nailed them on 3 edges of the laminated plywood.

This makes for a nice looking and super strong shelf. The nails holes were filled with matching wood filler and then the boards were sanded smooth.

A white wash was applied by thinning out some white paint. Brushing it on and then wiping it off.

The final width of the shelves is 9" which is what I sized the hangers to be.

Step 5: Installing the Brackets and Shelves

To install the shelves I used a stud finder and installed the brackets on the studs for maximum strength. The middle bracket was slightly off set from center as the stud did not line up exactly but overall it still looks awesome.

I used books to build up the height between each shelf so it made it really easy to level the shelf and screw in the brackets with some strong wood screws.

Repeat for each shelf at different heights depending on the height of each book. Once you are happy with the placement, screw the bottom of the hanger to the bottom of the shelf. This is just to hold it in place so the shelf doesn't move.

Fill the shelves with books!

Step back and enjoy!

If you enjoy this Instructable please vote for me in the Shelving contest!

Shelving Contest 2016

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