How to Hang Shelves Without Brackets

Shelves that are hung without brackets are seamless and attractive, looking as though they are floating on the wall. Paying a professional to install shelves without brackets is expensive, however, simple bracketless shelves can be made cheaply by anyone with a circular saw. The shelves are made of 1x2 lumber pressed between two plywood boards. One side of the 1x2 frame is left open so that it can rest on a 2x2 wood support that is secured to the wall.

Level
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Step 1

Plan the location of every shelf, and make note of the measurements. Use a level to make straight lines with tape or a pencil.

Step 2

Cut two ½-inch plywood boards to the size needed. Cut one 1x2 to match the length, and two more to match the width or depth of the board.

Step 3

Build a U-shaped frame with the 1x2s, 2-inch side out, using glue to bond the corners and two nails per corner to fasten them together. Use a razor to remove any glue that escapes. This should look like a rectangle that is missing one long side.

Step 4

Affix both boards from step 2 to the top and bottom of the frame from step 3. Apply wood glue to both sides and attach the boards to the frame, then clamp the wood together for 24-hours so the glue may dry. Insert a nail every three inches to secure to boards to the frame.

Step 5

Repeat steps 2 through 4 until all of the shelves are made.

Step 6

Cut the 2x2s to the length of the shelves, cutting as many needed for the number of shelves.

Step 7

Use an electronic stud finder to locate the studs in the wall that intersect with the straight lines from step one. Put the 2x2 even with the line, then drill a 3-inch screw through the 2x2, through the wall and into the stud.

Step 8

Mount the open end of the shelf on the 2x2. Add nails every 2-inches through the plywood and into the 2x2 to secure the shelf. Hammer in 2-inch nails through the 1x2 and into the 2x2 for extra support.