How to Hang Wall Shelves

Hanging wall shelves in your child's bedroom or playroom can provide a convenient space for displaying artwork, organizing books or storing toys. While hanging a wall job isn't complicated, precise measurements are necessary for a secure installation. In this Pottery Barn Kids tutorial, we'll show you how to mount a wall shelf in seven simple steps.

What You'll Need:

  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Electric drill
  • Wall anchors
  • Standard level

Steps for Hanging a Wall Shelf

Follow the steps below to install your wall shelf.

Step 1: Choose a Placement for the Shelf

The first thing you'll need to do is decide where to place the shelf on the wall. This may require the help of a second person. Once you've chosen a place for the shelf, use the standard level to ensure the shelf is parallel to the ground. Using your pencil, mark the wall to indicate the top, bottom and sides of the shelf.

Step 2: Mark a Mounting Hole Line on the Wall

The next step is to mark the wall with a line to indicate the location of the mounting holes. Most shelves have secure mounting brackets that resemble an inverted light bulb, with a round hole at the bottom and an elongated neck. To mark the placement of these brackets, use your tape measure to measure down from the top of the shelf to the top of the secure bracket. Then, measure the same distance on the wall from the mark you made indicating the top of the shelf. Using the standard level, draw a horizontal line the same width as the shelf to mark the height of the mounting holes.

Step 3: Mark the Location of the First Mounting Hole

In step 2, you marked a line on the wall to indicate the height of the mounting holes. In this step, you'll mark the exact location of the first mounting hole along the line you drew in the previous step. To do this, measure the distance from the bottom edge of the shelf to the center of the mounting hole. Transfer this measurement to the wall, then use your pencil to draw a line upward from the marking you made indicating the bottom edge of the shelf until it intersects with the mounting hole line. Next, measure the distance from the right or left edge of the shelf (depending on which mounting hole you're marking) to the center of the first mounting hole. Mark this point with your pencil.

Step 4: Measure and Mark the Distance Between Mounting Holes

Turn the shelf over and measure the distance between the mounting holes. To ensure accuracy, be sure to hold the tape measure taut and measure the distance to the outer edge of the second mounting hole. Transfer this measurement to the wall and mark the center of the second mounting hole.

Step 5: Install Wall Anchors

Now that you've marked the mounting holes on the wall, your next step will be to install the wall anchors. To do this, you'll first use an electric drill to pre-drill holes in the wall in the locations you indicated in previous steps. There are several different types of wall anchors that can be used to mount shelves, so you'll want to be sure to use the appropriate drill bit for the anchor you're installing. Next, insert a wall anchor into each of the two mounting holes and tap them lightly into place with a hammer until the pointed prongs of the anchors are inserted into the drywall or plaster. These prongs will prevent the anchor from spinning when the screw is tightened. Once the anchors have been inserted into the mounting holes, tighten the anchor screws to allow the metal frame of the anchor sits flush against the wall.

Step 6: Mount the Shelf

Once your wall anchors are installed, all there is left to do is mount your wall shelf. To do this, simply align the secure mounting bracket holes with the anchors you installed into the wall and slide the shelf down over the mounting screw. Congratulations, you're done!

Hanging a wall shelf isn't difficult, but proper care needs to be taken to ensure a secure mounting. The steps outlined above will help you easily and securely install a shelf on your child's wall in a single afternoon.

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