Putting Up a Shelf: Some Handy Hints

installing a shelf

With floating shelves now all the range this is the chance to prove to your friends just what a dab hand at DIY you are – little do they need to know how easy it can be. Just follow these simple instructions and you’ll be clutter free and have the smartest shelf in town in no time (well probably about an hour!).

What you’ll need to put up a shelf

For this job you’ll need: a spirit level, a pencil, screwdriver, a drill, a hammer, and screws and fittings (although these will normally be provided with the shelf). For safety reasons it is also advised that you should wear safety goggles and use an AC electrical detector.

Fixing your shelf: Getting started

Firstly, safety is paramount. There is a risk of major electrical shocks from any drilling into walls. Reduce this risk by using an electrical detector – it will either make a noise or an LED will flash when passed over an electrical current. If a good electrician has been used in the wiring of the house then wires should only ever run horizontally or vertically straight from sockets and fittings but it is advisable to always check before starting the drilling.

Getting your shelves straight

level the shelf before affixing itOne of the easiest mistakes to make is to rush the job and end up with wonky shelves. This can be solved with a small amount of preparation time at the start. Place the shelf bracket on the wall in the desired position and mark under the bottom left and right corners – then check with a spirit level that the lines are dead straight. If not play around with it until you’re there. Once correct, the positions of the screws can now be marked on the wall. Make sure you rub out any previous pencil marks to avoid confusion!

Drilling your shelves brackets to the wall

You are now ready to drill. The drill bit used should be slightly smaller in diameter than the screws which will be used. It is a good idea to wear safety goggles when performing any drilling in order to protect from any flying debris. Start drilling slowly in a straight line into the wall. This should be repeated for all screw positions. Remember that plasterboard walls will require hollow wall anchors but if drilling into solid brick then rawl plugs are more appropriate.

Fixing the shelf to the wall

The shelf can now be fixed to the wall – simply attach to the screws in place in the wall and slide the shelf onto the clippings. It’s a good idea if you’re planning to place a heavy load on the shelf to fit butterfly / spring toggles – these will require a bigger hole being drilled. But be warned, these are so strong they can’t be removed from the wall once in place.

Tighten any screws or nails one by one – leaving them all slightly loose for one final tighten at the end.

Now all that’s left to do is pick out your favourite cds, books or dvds and give them pride of place before your friends arrive!