I just built a shelf for a bedroom based on instructions found at Happy at Home. Problem is: the blog doesn't explain how to hang it!

Can someone help me figure out a clean way to hang this shelf that doesn't involve screws on the exterior of the shelf?

enter image description here

8 Answers 8


You could use a keyhole router bit to cut keyhole slots in the back to hang it. Picture of keyhole bit and keyholes

Another option would be to use a french cleat. Either buy a metal one that could attach to the back of the shelf or integrate one into the wood back. Here is a discussion of french cleat techniques.

  • 1
    Put Teflon tape on the back of the shelf to protect the paint while sliding it into place? Commented May 15, 2013 at 19:16
  • I have a bathroom cabinet hanging by a french cleat. It's strong.
    – Kaz
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 7:13
  • 1
    Ultimately I ended up using a french cleat. It is strong and keeps the shelf very close to flush with the wall.
    – Neal Kruis
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 15:06

I installed big, heavy floating shelves in my house. The shelves are simple 2x10's purchased from a hardware store. They are pretty heavy and I knew there would be a lot of torque on any fastener I used. To hang them, I used 5/16ths threaded rods purchased from Home Depot. I cut them to about 7-8 inches long. Using a 1/4in drill bit, I drilled 4 holes into studs about 2 inches deep. I wanted the holes a bit smaller so that I could screw the threaded rods into the studs tightly. I then put two nuts on and tightened them against each other to allow me to have something to grab onto so that I could put the rods into the wall. Once they were in, I just drilled into the back of the shelves with a 5/16ths bit, making them as deep as the length left hanging out of the wall (about 5 inches or so). Using a rubber mallet, I placed the shelves onto the rods and hammered it into place. I basically just made this method up after having a brain storming session with a guy from HD. I've been very happy so far.

Here is a picture

  • 4
    The shelves look great and sounds like you have a sound system. Might help to show examples/pics for each step. I had to read it 3 times to figure out what is going on. I gave an upvote but I don't think everyone would understand how to do it.
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 16:34

If the shelf is thick and deep enough, you could use a "concealed floating support bracket." I purchased a few at eBay. My picture of it below.

Concealed floating support bracket

This particular concealed floating support bracket requires a 12mm diameter hole drilled into the shelf, about 100mm deep, to accept the long supporting pin. You'd also need to cut out some of the back of the shelf to embed the mounting plate within it. The inclination angle of the pin can be adjusted a little by turning the pin (using a spanner on the small flat part).

  • 1
    Would recommend these be placed at studs and embedded with appropriately long and strong screws.
    – HerrBag
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 13:27

As a variation of this answer you can use any of these cabinet shelf hangers, called keyhole fittings, (which can be found in your local hardware store):

enter image description here

They are attached to the back of the shelf somewhere where the material is thick and strong enough. You have to make a cavity under the lamp-shaped hole so there's room for the screw head - the cavity can be drilled, routed or cut with a chisel, whatever is most convenient for you.

This is very reliable, and all screws will be hidden behind the shelf.

  • You should connect the wall side screws into studs, esp for a shelf that may get heavy. You could use a buildex screw anchor for 1 or 2 screws, if you got 1 or 2 into studs. 2 outside screws into studs would be the best.
    – HerrBag
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 13:20

I recently had to do something very similar (using a door as a headboard, mounted to the wall). I ended up using these nifty little flush hooks.

Flush hooks

They will leave your shelf 2-3 mm away from the wall, but if you have a router, you can rout a recess to mount the hooks in the back of yourself, which will make it completely flush.

They take pretty small screws, but appear to be able to take a lot of weight. There's not a lot of movement in how they slot together, so I would only use two, to avoid alignment problems.

When I used them, I mounted the hooks onto my headboard, then put double-sided tape onto the other hook plate. I then used a tiny bit of blu-tac to hold the other hook plate (the one with the double-sided tape on it) in place. I could then just line it all up, push it onto the wall (so the tape grabbed) then slide the headboard up. You're then left with the other plates stuck to the wall in exactly the right place. You can then mark the drill holes you'll need to make easily and exactly. This is harder to explain than it is to actually do!


I know you didn't ask for screws, but they do tend to be the most practical solution. A few screw options:

  1. Screw into the top of the back just under the shelf, then tack up a bit of molding there to cover the screws.

  2. Make the screws a decorative element. I've used 'countersink washers' for this before: enter image description here

  3. For future use, attach the back to the wall first with screws where the shelf brackets will go. Then use a brad nailer to cover the screws with the shelf brackets (obviously not for shelves holding very heavy loads).


Look at French cleats. There are wood and steel options. Make sure you anchor them adequately in the wall as well as in the shelf back.if your shelf is hardwood, you can make the top wedge part of the shelf itself. http://www.newwoodworker.com/frenchcleat.html


Issues / concerns regarding some of these solutions:

(1) Weight - Amount of weight each option can support varies greatly. If mounting a shelf that could have up 75 lbs in total weight, need to know how many brackets to support that weight safely.

(2) Size of brackets - some of the large solutions like French cleats, etc, seem to be 3 inches in width (top to bottom), thus if the part you are connecting it to is only 2 inches wide, not really an option because part of the bracket would be visible.

(3) Mounting screws - "flush hooks" are nice, but the brackets (both sides) seem designed to be mounted to wood and come only with short wood screws that flush with the beveled holes. However, wood screws would not work well for mounting to dry wall. Thus you need to determine what kind of drywall anchor mount you need to support the weight and hope the screws that come with it, work with the flush hook brackets. The heavier duty the anchor mount, the bulkier the screw head that often will not work with the flush mounts.

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