Shelf and Safety: Putting up a Shelf So That it Stays up!

Putting up a shelf is one task you will probably have to do at some time in your life, and if you haven’t done it before, it may well be something you feel anxious about.

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After all, there are plenty of things that can go wrong – not least making it uneven, which would be disastrous!

To give you a hand, here’s a simple step-by-step guide. Follow this and you’ll soon be impressing your family and friends with your shelf skills.

Get Set

The first thing to do is gather all the materials together so you don’t have to wander off in the middle of the job to fetch something.

For most basic shelves you’ll need a drill (electric ones are best), pencil, spirit level, wood screws and, if possible, a stud detector. You can find many of these items at an online DIY store such as

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Locate the Studs

Next, use your stud detector to – well – detect the studs. In case you don’t know, studs are the upright wooden supports in a plasterboard wall to which plasterboard is attached. If you have solid walls, of course, you won’t need to do this stage. Once you’ve found your studs, mark them with vertical lines so you know where they are.

Gadget Daily says you should also use a cable detector to ensure you’re not going to drill into electric cables.

First Bracket

Align a shelf bracket with your studs at the height you want it and, using a spirit level to ensure it’s straight, mark through the screw holes with a pencil. You can then drill the holes – use a bit a size smaller than the screws, and drill about as far as a screw length. You can then screw the first bracket to the wall.

Second Bracket

To position the second bracket you need to ensure your shelf will be level, so hold it in place on the attached bracket and use a spirit level to guide you as to where the second bracket needs to go. Mark the position with a pencil. Attach the second bracket in the same way as the first.

Once the shelf has been attached, check to see if it’s totally level. If not, you may need to undo one bracket and reposition it.

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