How To Build Your Own Shelves

Installing shelving is an easy way to increase your available space throughout your house and outdoor work area.



  • Screws
  • Nylon anchor plugs (masonry)
  • Timber
    • TOOLS
      • Stud finder (optional)
      • Drill and bits (masonry if needed)
      • Spirit level
      • Handsaw
      • Circular saw

1. Timber


The most difficult process in building shelving is choosing your timber and brackets. There are various options for timber and brackets depending on your design and the size and weight capacity needed for the shelving. There is a wide range of timber that can be used for shelving. White melamine, chip board or a dressed timber such as pine are suitable. Your choice will depend on if you want to paint or stain your timber. Measure your dimensions and then cut your timber to length with a handsaw or circular saw. Some hardware stores can cut your timber to length on request.

2. Brackets

boiling water

There are three brackets that are widely used for making shelving. These are: wooden brackets fixed to vertical battens, L shaped metal brackets fixed to the wall studs and metal brackets that clip into slotted metal strips fixed to the wall stud. Wooden brackets ‐ These brackets are a basic three piece triangle construction which is screwed or nailed into the wall. Inexpensive and easy to make. Metal Brackets ‐ These L shaped metal brackets come in varying sizes, and styles and achieves maximum strength if screwed directly through the wallboard and into the wall stud. Metal Strips ‐ This system achieves a high weight capacity with vertical metal strips that are screwed directly through the wallboard into the wall studs. The metal strips and brackets come in varying lengths and are very easy to install and adjust.

3. Attaching the brackets


Determine where you want the shelving to be positioned and mark the shelf line using a spirit level. If the wall is made of masonry, simply drill bracket pilot holes taking into consideration any electrical wiring. If you have plaster walls you have to source the wall studs as they offer strength and increase weight capacity. To find the studs, you can use a stud finder or simply tap along the wall until you hear a change in sound. It is now a matter of attaching the brackets on the masonry wall (use nylon plugs) or into the wall studs with screws.



You can choose various styles and types from wooden, stainless steel and cast iron. Visit your local hardware store to see which best suits your purpose.


Always keep tools and materials away from children. Read the instructions before beginning your project. Wear an approved dust mask when cutting, planing or sanding timber