I just installed some floating wall shelves from ikea but my wall is uneven horizontally and one of the shelves is sticking out, not tight to the wall. Is there any way to fix this?

These are the mounting systems:

Long Shelf | Small Shelf

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I don't agree that cutting these is a good idea. They're tall, and they may have hardware in critical locations that would disallow simple modification. Also, cutting coated surfaces like that often leaves a ragged edge.

I would shim out the mounts to a single plane. Set the mounts at each end and run a line between. Install spacers to bring everything out as needed.

Seeing the mounts I'd offer these tips:

  • The shelves that are on sliding poles can simply be moved out as needed. Use felt pads or other appropriate spacers behind to keep them in position.
  • The shelves that have keyhole retainers are little more fussy. They'll need full-height, rigid spacers behind to support weight. I'd cut some strips of pine board to the correct thickness or stack strips of cardboard and glue or nail them along the vertical rails at each end of the back panel. One in the center wouldn't hurt, either.
  • Now you can either extend the wall screws a bit as needed (maintaining adequate penetration into wall framing), or shim out the keyhole plates a bit with washers or whatever. Again, maintain adequate screw penetration by using longer screws if necessary.
  • Consider connecting the shelves for even more stability. Use double-sided foam tape squares between each section at the front and rear. Waxed paper against the adhesive should allow you to position the shelves before pressing things together.
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  • Thanks for the suggestions! I will try using washers or pushing out the keyhole plates so I can push out the small shelf more. I was going to use double side 3m tape in between to hold the shelfs together better once I get the shelves to sit flush. – Joey Jun 2 at 16:00

Solar Mike provides one excellent option of cutting off the back edge of the shelf that sticks out.

If you don't have a saw (or the ability to cut a reasonably straight line) you could shim out the "short" shelf so it sticks out as far as the other one.

As an added bonus, it appears that there is some trim below the shelf that would hide the thickness of the shims so they wouldn't be obvious from below!

Based on the update to the OP that includes pictures of the mounting systems, I'd suggest that the best method would be to attach a wood shim to the wall behind the short shelf, then mount the shelf to that.

I'd guess that the gap is about 1/2" so adjust based on actual measurements.

  • Get/cut a strip of material 1/2" thick.
    • Many big-box hardware stores will cut lumber for you if you purchase it there.)
  • Attach this to the studs in the wall using screws of the same approximate size (bigger will never hurt!) as those that came with the shelf kit.
    • Note that these screws are an additional purchase, get them at the same time as the shims themselves.
  • Attach the mounting screws to this strip of wood
  • Attach the shelf to the mounting screws.

You might be able to get away with replacing the screws that came with the shelf with longer screws that are the same diameter. (For example, if those are 2" #8 wood screws, get 3" #8 wood screws. Take the screws to your local hardware store and compare them to what they have in stock to find out what size they are.) I say might because you're going to have the shelf hanging farther from the wall than it's intended to. This makes it a longer lever and amplifies the stress that the weight of items on the shelf will apply to the screws in the wall. For a couple of stuffed animals/figurines, you'll probably be fine - books, not so much.

Once you've got the longer screws in the wall, leave them sticking out far enough to accommodate the shims and the extra needed for mounting. This may take some fiddling to get them to just the right depth to accommodate the shims/mounting, but still be snug enough for a firm mount.

You could still scribe the back of the longer shelf to match the wall, but that's likely going to shorten the space for the long support rods for that shelf, so you'd need to trim a little bit off the length of those to match. If you don't have the proper wood cutting tools, you probably also don't have the proper metal cutting tools.

Note: I'm assuming you don't have the proper tools, please forgive me if that's an incorrect assumption.

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  • I like shimming out the short shelf unless you have a band saw+ – JACK Jun 2 at 12:39
  • I don't agree that cutting these is a good idea. They're tall, and they may have hardware in critical locations that would disallow modification. Also, cutting coated surfaces like that often leaves a ragged edge. This is the best solution. – isherwood Jun 2 at 14:54
  • Excellent point, @isherwood. I've got some melamine shelving that we installed in an IKEA cabinet (bought our own, ripped it to the proper depth - much cheaper than buying from IKEA). The back edges are a bit ragged, and that was with a brand new ~60 tooth 10" blade in the table saw. Since they're in the back, though, it doesn't matter since they're hard to see. The trim below the shelves here would hide any ragged edges. However, cutting the back may/would impact the mounting hardware (as might shimming, TBH). – FreeMan Jun 2 at 15:01
  • @FreeMan I have found scoring the cutline on both sides prevents much of the ragged edges, well worked for me and I did the same as you to make extra shelves. – Solar Mike Jun 2 at 15:50
  • @FreeMan I've added a link to the mounting system for both the Long and Short shelf – So the recommendation is to push out the smaller shelf so it lines more evenly with the longer shelf sticking out? Are there brackets I can purchase to push out the small shelf – I can loosen the screws but it will sag down and won't be sturdy. Thank you everyone! – Joey Jun 2 at 15:52

You can cut the back edge off the shelf where the wall bulges so it will then sit back flush.

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The best method would be to scribe the back of the one sticking out. Almost any hand saw could be used: coping saw, hacksaw, jigsaw. You need a compass that can hold a pencil.

Set the compass to the width of the amount sticking out at the front. Now run that compass along the bottom or top of the shelf with the point against the wall and the pencil drawing on the surface of the shelf. Finally, cut along that line for a perfect fit.

If you don't have a coping or jigsaw, you can make a series of relief cuts, entering the back of the shelf to the line, about every half inch. With a less flexible blade, the relief cuts will allow pieces to fall out so you can get a more rigid blade to move along the line.

There are plenty of videos online about this method. Search for "how to scribe trim".

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Don't Subtract, Add

Instead of cutting off a section, how about adding a strip of wood. 1/2" or 3/4" plywood would work well. Cut the length to be just shorter than all the shelves together - e.g., if it is 2" shorter then if you center it behind the shelves you would have 1" of gap on each end and would not be able to see that there is wood - in fact, it would actually make the shelf appear to float even more. Cut the width (i.e., rip a strip off of a larger piece) to just under the height of the back of the shelves. Screw it in into the studs and then screw the shelves into the plywood. The plywood will bend a little (and/or you can shim it out as needed) to fit the wall so that the shelves will not have a big difference between them like they do now.

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