I would like to make some bookshelves similar to what is seen here:

Shelf 1 Shelf 2

My question is how to nicely mount these to the wall. Obviously I could simply angle some screws into the wall studs, however I think that'd look a bit messy and would like to hide the mounting method.

  • 2
    Possible duplicate: How can I hang a shelf with no visible fasteners?
    – BMitch
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 14:04
  • 1
    @BMitch There is some overlap, but the thinness of the shelf in this project calls for special solutions (one of which IS included in the linked question).
    – bib
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 14:56
  • Those are pretty neat shelves.
    – DA01
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 18:36
  • 1
    fwiw, the shelves in the photos are not 2x4s. Looks more like 5/4 stock, possibly 6/4 stock.
    – mike
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 23:51

4 Answers 4


I'd try a few of these keyhole mounting plates:

enter image description here

You'd need to be very precise with screw placement so everything lines up properly. If you're feeling adventurous, you could chisel or route out a recess so the whole thing is flush against the wall. You could also mount the plates to the wall at a stud, using sufficiently long screws, and then use smaller screws on the shelf to clip in.

Another alternative would be to drill mostly through the stock, screw directly into the wall, and plug the holes with dowel.

  • 2
    +1 As I read the question, the keyhole came to mind and as I scrolled down, YOU WERE THERE!
    – bib
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 14:47
  • Awesome, I'll have to give that a shot this weekend.
    – erik
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 19:22

You might consider mounts like z-clips


These are listed as 1 7/8 inches high overall, but you might be able to trim the height (a little off the top piece, a little off the bottom) to just a bit less than the thickness of a 2x4, recess them into the back of the piece, leaving a small lip of wood at the top to conceal the mount (the bottom would have to be open to allow the piece to slide down onto the wall mounted section).

I would try to make sure the wall side was mounted to studs, preferably on both walls.

  • The Amazon page calls them "1-1/2" Z-Clips". Is that referring to the width?
    – Niall C.
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 15:39
  • 1
    @NiallC. Yeah, that is the width. They come in a variety of widths (the illustration is for a version several inches long, but some other images on the net show the height to be 1 7/8 for all (or so it seems).
    – bib
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 16:06
  • Revisiting this question, I now think this is a fantastic answer if you can get the parts the right size. It's a lot easier to mount this level than leveling multiple keyhole plates. Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 17:18
  • @ChrisCudmore The so-called french cleat gone thin, metal and modern.
    – bib
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 18:39

You could create a mounting strip using a dovetail router bit.

enter image description here

  1. Route out a dovetail slot along the backside of the long 2x4's. Top and bottom if you want, or just the top. (Bottom half of picture.)
  2. Create the mounting strip. (Top half of picture.)
  3. Pre-drill holes in the mounting strip to line up with the studs in your wall.
  4. Mount the strip on the wall.
  5. Slide the shelf on.
  • Very nice solution if you have the tools. Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 17:03
  • 3
    Are you suggesting only anchoring one side to the wall; or doing both and connecting the left and right halves while they're hanging on the wall? Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 17:17

I find all the above answers to be quite good, but each is too busy for my tastes ... too many pieces, specialty hardware etc ...

My solution would be to ...

  1. locate the studs
  2. drive 2.5" nails into the studs such that
    • they angle upwards
    • have 1" exposed
    • I'd use either of these 8d or 10d nails:
      • box nails, and a pair of vise-grips or slip-joints to cut off the heads after nailing
      • finish or casing nails, and not cut off anything
  3. then drill matching 1/4" holes into the back of the 2x4s.

Done. No need to shop for specialty hardware, or run to the store, or go through router setups and associated issues. Plus, requires only one hole in the sheetrock per attachment as opposed to 2 or more.

         BOX NAILS
Penny  Length  Gauge  Diameter
       inches         inches
 2d     1      15½    0.067
 3d     1¼     14½    0.076
 4d     1½     14     0.080
 5d     1¾     14     0.080
 6d     2      12½    0.099
 7d     2¼     12½    0.099
 8d     2½     11½    0.113
 9d     2¾     11½    0.113
10d     3      10½    0.128
12d     3¼     10½    0.128
16d     3½     10     0.135
20d     4       9     0.148
30d     4½      9     0.148
40d     5       8     0.162 
  • I like the general idea, but I would use hanger bolts (with predrilled holes) instead of nails. I think larger gauge fasteners would work better, and large gauge nails are really hard to work with. Also, nails -- especially if you clip the head off -- are harder to get out without damaging the drywall. Some double-sided tape/foam adhesive may also be necessary just to stop it from moving at all.
    – gregmac
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 18:23
  • @gregmac The proper way to pull a nail out of any finished surface is to roll the hammer (or vise-grips) against a 1x, 2x, or a book, or ... Not only will that spare the surface, it provides more leverage. For the 8d or 10d nails I proposed, I've never found them "really hard to work with" so I have no idea where you are coming from. Hanger bolts put you back into specialty hardware, generally necessitating a run to the store, which would be a waste as they would not provide any extra functionality nor additional strength. I see no need for tape.
    – mike
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 19:04
  • To stop the movement, just put glue in the holes before mounting the shelves on the nails. Great, simple solution Mike.
    – getterdun
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 23:49
  • @getterdun - Excellent idea. Maybe wax the nails first, and since the sloped drilled holes in the shelves will be in a 'draining' position when the units are hung, maybe fill the holes with spackle or wood filler or caulk.
    – mike
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 23:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.