I'm trying to use a toggle bolt, but the combined thickness of the plasterboard (~30 mm) and the shelf bracket (22 mm) means that the toggle won't push through far enough to spring out and grip the wall. The longest toggle screws I can find are 80 mm, and they leave me around 7 mm too short.

The bracket is hollow metal, so one thing I could do is drill the outer hole larger so that the screw head fits through and tightens against the metal adjacent to the wall which would give me the extra mms needed to get the toggle through. I don't particularly want to do this for a few reasons:

a) aesthetics of leaving a big hole in the bracket,
b) possibly weakening the bracket,
c) making it difficult to access the screw.

Any better suggestions out there guys?

  • 4
    Hanging shelves from just plasterboard/drywall is not recommended, you should be attaching the brackets to studs (vertical structural members) instead.
    – Tester101
    Jul 15, 2013 at 12:59
  • Thanks for the note of caution. The wall involved previously had some heavier kitchen units hung from it which had been there for years, so I'll cross my fingers that it'll be ok. The shelves aren't actually that heavy and we'll avoid putting too much weight on them Jul 15, 2013 at 15:38
  • If the shelves aren't all that heavy, then I'd retitle the question and remove 'heavy' from it. That said, note that it's not the weight of the shelves that's an issue, but the weight of everything you put on it.
    – DA01
    Jul 15, 2013 at 16:12
  • Point taken - title edited Jul 15, 2013 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


There is an anchor that has similar characteristics to a toggle bolt, known as a toggle anchor

toggle anchor

These have a long straps holding the metal backing toggle. The straps are slid out of line to turn the toggle parrallel for insertion in the hole. Then the straps are aligned to turn the toggle perpendicular. The outer collar is slide along the tracks to the face of the wall and the excess straps are broken off.

This has a significant advantage over spring toggles because the bolt can be removed without losing the toggle.

If the shelf is heavy, be sure to use numerous anchors to distribute the load. Plasterboard is not a very strong support. And see Tester101's comment above.

You can see a general discussion of different types of anchors here.

  • Thanks for the info. I like the look of these but I can't find anywhere to buy them from in the UK. Damn! Jul 15, 2013 at 13:30
  • There are several brands on the homedepot and lowes websites. You could get the manufacturfers names and then query for a UK/EU distributor. Also, see the caution in the comment from @Tester101 about toggles in plasterboard for shelves.
    – bib
    Jul 15, 2013 at 13:36

The majority of the pull-out force is on the top screw. So if alignment with studs is not practical, try to arrange for the top screw of the standard to go into blocking or perhaps the top plate. If not top screw, then a middle screw.

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