Shelves without brackets are commonly called floating or bracketless shelves; they have a seamless and clean appearance, seeming to float on the wall without any means of support. Hanging floating or bracketless shelves can seem tricky, but the process is straightforward. Floating shelves do in fact use supports, but they are fastened to the wall and then hidden inside the shelf.
Tools and Materials
When installing a floating shelf you will need a stud finder, level, measuring tape, drill, screwdriver and pencil, as well as materials that provide hidden support for the shelves, such as ledges, dowels, pins or hidden brackets. Use screws that are at least 3 inches long to install the supports, so that you can the 1 last update 2020/07/10 be sure the screws reach and grip the stud behind the wall.When installing a floating shelf you will need a stud finder, level, measuring tape, drill, screwdriver and pencil, as well as materials that provide hidden support for the shelves, such as ledges, dowels, pins or hidden brackets. Use screws that are at least 3 inches long to install the supports, so that you can be sure the screws reach and grip the stud behind the wall.
Plan the plan the location of each shelf before you begin installing wall anchors and plugs. Make note of the measurements of your shelves and how they will be placed on the wall. Use a stud finder and mark the location of the wall studs with a pencil, then set a level on the wall use it to mark straight guidelines for each shelf.
Supports and Installation
Use a floating shelf kit for the simplest way to install shelving without brackets; these kids contain all the necessary hardware and instructions for hanging the shelves. Floating shelf kits typically use hidden brackets for support. The metal brackets are sunk into the wall at each stud, and the section that protrudes from the wall fits into the shelf itself. Use a kit that is labeled to support more than the weight of the items you plan to place on it. You can also mount shelves using support pins or ledges. A support pin functions the same way as an invisible bracket in a floating shelf kit. It resembles a long rod with a flanged end, and fits into the shelf from behind. The flanged end is fastened to the wall studs. A ledge bracket is an angled piece of metal that is installed into a groove on the back of the shelf. This provides sturdy support all the way across the board, rather than at separate points. The portion of the ledge that sticks out of the shelf is secured to the wall studs.
The right wall anchor is critical to proper installation of floating shelves. Wall anchors are subjected to gravity, which pulls down, and the weight of objects, which pulls outward. Each type of anchor is rated for a specific amount of weight; a good rule is to assume the anchors will hold about a quarter of their stated load. This way you can be sure your shelves won’t fall. A medium-to-heavy hollow wall anchor works well for most shelving applications. Toggle bolts are best when hanging heavier shelving materials or shelves that will hold heavier items.
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Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and the "Community Press" newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.
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