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I have a shelf I want to hang up for my son to put up his gaming console and other expensive items. The studs in my wall don't line up with the shelves mounts. I have some drywall anchors left over from hanging pictures that are rated for 79 lbs in 1/2 inch thick drywall and the mounts require 4 screws, two sets of vertically in line. Can I safely mount the shelf with one side in studs and the other with the drywall anchors if I put the heavier items on the side in the stud? The overall weight of the shelf and all items going on it should weigh less than 79 lbs. The shelf is just over 45 inches long if this is relevant.

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    Sounds like you have done your math.. There is more than the weight to consider when mounting shelves though, there is also a pull factor. Any idea what those anchors are rated for that way and what do the backets and anchors look like. A picture would be good. – Trevor_G Mar 10 '17 at 5:05
  • pictures are added. The wall anchors are Toggler Snapskru drywall anchors. Installation guide says allowable load = 1/4 Ultimate load and says things like shelves greatly reduce allowable load. Shelf will hang about 11 inches off the wall – Marshall K. Mar 10 '17 at 5:43
  • see my answer to this question. How do I properly mount hardware to a wall covered in AirStone – Alaska Man Mar 10 '17 at 6:12
  • So there are 4 holes for screws to attach this stylish shelf; they look like they are (only) ~4" apart vertically. In your house one pair will be screwed into a stud and the other pair into drywall. Given that you plan to put the heavier items on the end supported by the stud, this sounds to me like it would be strong enough, and if you install it this way you could test it by hanging a weight on it and looking for deflection. – Jim Stewart Mar 10 '17 at 11:00
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    Presumably there is another stud in the middle but the shelf has no mounting holes there. You could get an angle bracket that would attach there to the stud and to the underside of the shelf. This would conflict with the minimalist design of the shelf, and would be asymmetric but would provide extra support. This could be added after installation as you describe if you would start wondering about the strength of the original mounting. If you wanted to make the installation symmetrical, you could add a second under bracket using the same type of drywall anchor. – Jim Stewart Mar 10 '17 at 11:41
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No those anchors will NOT be sufficient to hold up THAT shelf. Those shelf brackets are too short and there will be a LARGE pulling force on the upper screw.

Assuming from the image that's a 10 inch shelf and the screws at 2 inches apart, hanging 79lbs on the edge of the shelf will get you a whopping

395 LBS of pull force on the top screw.

When you look at that picture and look at the metal end, does it remind you of any tool that is sitting on top of your toolbox? A claw-hammer perhaps?

You may get away with the type of anchor that mushrooms out behind the wall as shown below. Remembering to buy the size that matches your drywall thickness. But I do NOT recommend these either for that shelf.

enter image description here

With the shortness of that bracket, I'd still be concerned that was not enough to hold up much weight. If those fail, it is going to pull down a rather large piece of drywall too.

Personally I would be inclined to add a backer board out of a nice piece of wood, the wider the better, using one of the following two methods.

Option 1: Outboard screws... Board cut to fit to next stud width. In your case 3 (Don't forget to add a 2x4 width.). Mount board to studs then centre shelf on the wood.

enter image description here

Option 2.: Inboard Screws. Cut board to about 1 inch wider than the shelf. Then centre the board on the studs as shown in the image below.

enter image description here

Which method is best?

Use the method that gets the screws in the wood closest to the screws in the brackets. However, be aware that with the "inboard screws" method, the end of the board will tend to pull away from the wall if the screws are too far away from the brackets.

If the boards spans more than two studs, I'd add another couple of screws at each stud.

If you, or the Mrs, don't like the visible screws, use one of the many capping or plugging methods.

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    I would also use washers in that backing wood. That will spread the load around a little bit more, and reduce the risk that screw heads will press into the wood and cause the shelf to loosen even just a little bit. – user4302 Mar 10 '17 at 18:28
  • Larger toggle bolts (butterfly anchors) may work as well. They go pretty large. – shufler Mar 11 '17 at 5:02
  • Larger toggle bolts will not work. The OP's proposed arrangement is likely to tear the drywall right off the wall. – isherwood Mar 11 '17 at 13:56
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Instead of using drywall anchors, another option is to cut open the wall and add framing with 2x dimensional lumber to place studs exactly where you need them.

For this you require the following materials:

  • Stud locator (or you knuckles)
  • Drywall saw
  • 2x4 or 2x6 lumber, the same as the stud sizes.
  • Framing nails
  • Drywall
  • Drywall tape and mud
  • Drywall screws
  • Trowel or drywall knife
  • Framing screws or lagbolts
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Matching wall paint
  • A beer

Here's what you do:

  1. Figure out where on your wall you'd like to place the shelf. Locate the closest studs that fall outside the edge of the shelf. Mark an area around the shelf that includes the studs that you will cut out from the drywall
  2. Cut the drywall where you marked. Be careful that you do not cut: studs, plumbing, electric, anything else hidden back there.
  3. Cut the lumber to length so that it runs perpendicular to the studs and runs along where the screw holes in the shelf will go. Judging by your picture you may need to run two pieces lengthwise to catch the top and bottom holes.
  4. Nail the lumber to the studs. You will need to toenail or if you cut the wall past the studs you can nail through the studs. Make sure everything is level!
  5. Cut a piece of drywall that fits in the hole. Screw it in place using the studs and your new bracing, but of course make sure not to place drywall screws where the screw holes in the shelf will land
  6. Tape and mud the drywall patch following the instructions on the mud
  7. Paint the wall to match
  8. Screw your shelf into the studs using lag bolts
  • Any reason you need a new piece of drywall? I realize a new piece allows a margin of paper for gluing the perimeter, but couldn't you reuse what you cut out, securing with screws, cleaning out the cuts, priming (to prevent paper swelling), following with tape, mud and more paint? – TonyH Mar 12 at 19:28
  • The new drywall is not necessarily needed if you successfully manage to remove the existing drywall without damaging it and it is in a condition that makes it reusable. – shufler Mar 13 at 20:06

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