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How To Put A Shelf Up Straight

Hanging a shelf is easy, right? Famous last words, but we’ve got the gadgets to keep you on the level

It’s said there’s no greater test of a person’s mettle than putting up a shelf. In theory, it’s a simple task, but to attempt it without knowing the basics can lead to a DIY disaster, not to mention potential ridicule. So we have some tips to make it easy and ensure you have the best bragging rights.

As with anything in the DIY world, the trick is patience. Make sure you’re fully prepared, have all your tools to hand and if you really want to look like you know what you’re doing, then we recommend investing in the gadgets that are designed to make life easier for you. A cable detector could potentially save your life and a laser level not only guarantees you a perfectly straight line, but looks pretty cool too. Here are the steps to follow to get you to DIY Nirvana.

01.) Preparation is the key

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Firstly, you’ll need to find the right spot for your shelf. Bear it mind that it may appear to be perfectly in the middle of a bare wall, but you need to make sure you’re not drilling into pipes or cables. Use a decent cable detector (we recommend the Bosch PDO 6 Digital Detector for this) and avoid any spots where the indicator flashes.



02.) An exact science

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If you want to be really smug and use technology to make life much easier for yourself, then get a laser level to mark out the perfect straight line for the shelf. If you feel like doing it old school, place the shelf where you’d like it and use a spirit level to get it completely straight. Now mark a line directly underneath the shelf in pencil.



03.) Hit that sweet spot

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Now hold the first bracket up against the line and mark the drill holes with a pencil – if the holes in the bracket are too small then you can use a piece of coat hanger wire or a bradawl tool to make the marks. Remove the bracket and add a nail dent to this exact spot on the wall to make the drilling more accurate.



04.) Where there’s a drill there’s a way

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You can use a standard drill bit for a stud wall, but you’ll need a masonry bit if you’re drilling into concrete. It will have to be a screw that’s at least 30mm in length, so the easiest way to gauge this depth is to measure it on the drill bit and mark it with tape. Drill holes slowly.



05.) Plug the gap

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Put in the wall plugs, firstly making sure they’re the correct size for the hole. If they don’t go in, either use a smaller plug or a slightly larger drill bit (going up in 0.5mm increments at a time should do it). Attach the bracket and repeat the same process for the other side. Simple!


Be sure to check back every Wednesday for another workshop, or search #WorkshopWednesday to find more.