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Building Shelf Brackets


When you have objects to be displayed or stored -- and an empty wall in your home -- shelving is an ideal solution. Much of the secret to effective, attractive shelving is the bracket. Brackets are available at hardware or home-supply stores, but they're also simple to make using our  Shelf Bracket Templates. These templates can easily be changed to suit your needs: For a larger shelf capable of accommodating a heavy row of books, enlarge the design on a photocopier; for a smaller shelf, reduce the template.

Once you have determined the size of the bracket you want, trace the template onto a piece of card stock, and cut it out. Next, set the card stock on the wood you've chosen, and trace the pattern carefully with a pencil. Use a jigsaw to cut along the lines of the bracket pattern. After the bracket is cut, sand any rough edges; then prime and paint it.

You will need to cut a notch in the back side of the bracket for the nailer, a board running beneath a shelf that acts as a horizontal brace. After cutting the nailer to the length of the shelf, mark the dimensions of the nailer's thickness onto the bracket in its top rear corner. Cut out the resulting rectangle so the nailer fits snugly against the bracket. Attach the two using wood glue and nails or screws inserted through the back of the nailer. Finally, screw or nail the nailer into the wall. For a permanent shelf, the top board can be attached to the brackets with wood screws or left unattached for adjustable shelving.

Martha Stewart Living, September 1999

Reviews (1)

  • 8 Nov, 2007

    I made these shelves for my office nook, above my desk. I made them the exact length of the wall, which was previously a double closet, so they look like built-ins. So easy to do