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Fitting short shelves using brackets

This article explains fitting short shelves using brackets, see this other article for fitting long shelves.

The method of fixing the brackets to the wall depends on the type of wall involved, walls will usually be masonry covered in plaster, plasterboard or lathe and plaster studding, or, masonry dry lined with plasterboard. See our article explaining how to make strong fixings to each of these wall types.

Fitting short shelves - general

With short shelves, it is generally easier to fit the brackets to each shelf before marking and drilling the wall for fixing the brackets. When a series of short shelves are to be fitted, one above the other, ensure that the brackets are positioned vertically in line.

The longer arm of the brackets should go against the wall and the width of the shelf material should only be slightly more than the shorter arm of the brackets used.

As a general guide, the ends of the shelf overhanging the brackets should be about 20% of the spacing between the brackets - generally the overhang should be equal at both ends.

When fitting more than one shelf vertically, start with the uppermost shelf and work downwards. After the highest (first) shelf has been fixed to the wall, mark a vertical line on the wall from the brackets and use these marks to line up the remaining shelves horizontally as they are put up.

Fitting the brackets to the shelf

Fixing brackets on a short shelfStart by putting the cut to length shelf material up-side-down on to a clean flat surface adjacent to a vertical surface. Place the brackets on the shelf material with the arms of the bracket resting against the vertical surface - this will ensure that the back of the shelf is in line with the back of the brackets.

Fix the brackets to the shelf using appropriate fixings - screws should be as long as possible but not so long that they break through on the underside (i.e. top side) of the shelf material.

Fixing the shelving to the wall

Fitting a short shelf to a wallPosition the shelf against the wall at the required height and position.

Always use a spirit level resting on the top of each shelf to set it level.

With the shelf held in position, mark through the fixing holes in the bracket on to the wall.

Remove the shelf and drill the fixings for the brackets in the wall as marked.

Use the appropriate screws, wall plugs etc and fix the shelf to the wall - start by putting screws loosely into the top holes of the bracket. Don't fully tighten any single screw until all screws have been put into the wall plug.