Hello! I’m back with all the gory details of how we installed the new kitchen shelf.

Here’s the easy option:

1. Go to Ikea; buy a floating shelf.

2. Install shelf.

Now, the longer version for people who like to be difficult prefer everything to fit perfectly.

1. Research DIY floating shelves. Find tuturials using hollow-core door. Send husband to hardware store to buy hollow-core door. Console said husband after the people at the hardware store told him he was crazy and it would never work. Curse people at hardware store. Get discouraged. Give up for two months.

2. Devise alternate plan. Buy solid timber, floating shelf brackets (from here) and a huge f***-off spade drill bit.

3. Follow advice of every DIY blogger and paint shelves prior to installation.

(Optional step: Ask handy father-in-law to come over because you realise you have no idea about carpentry.)

4. Mark out on the wall where the brackets and shelves need to go.

kitchen shelf during 3

5. Drill holes into back of shelf with spade bit matching up to where the bracket prongs will be.

kitchen shelf during 1

6. Chisel out the back of the shelf where the bracket backing plate will fit.

kitchen shelf during 2

7. Drill holes in the wall until it looks like swiss cheese.

kitchen shelf during 4

8. Insert wall plugs and screw in brackets.

kitchen shelf during 5

9. Slip bang shelves onto brackets.

10. Realise that the shelves and wall are so knocked and marked you will have to repaint anyway. Curse a bit.

kitchen shelf during 6

11. Chisel out a space for and screw in steel mending plates over the join between shelves to reinforce and straighten.

kitchen shelf during 7

12. Putty over mending plates. Sand and repaint shelves.

13. Marvel at your handiwork. (Join? What join?). Understand that no one will see it anyway but remain impressed with self.

(Optional step: Install microwave mounting brackets.)

microwave mount

14. Clean up, step back. Gaze in wonderment that eighteen months after you sketched out your plans and six months after you purchased the brackets, the sodding thing is finally finished.

15. Promise husband you won’t ask him to help you with any more projects for at least another two months month until next weekend.

kitchen shelf after


114 Responses

  • Great tutorial, informative and entertaining!

  • I really could use some floating shelves!! I need more organization in my life! Thanks for the inspiration!! =)

    Melanie’s Randomness

  • Ah, too funny. As soon as I started reading this post, I remembered we have a spare Ikea Lack floating shelf stashed away somewhere. Must dig it out ☺. J x

  • My pleasure. Floating shelves are so versatile, I’m sure you’ll put it to good use.

  • Hahaha. I enjoyed reading this post, and found the tutorial useful! We just put in some floating Ikea shelves, and it never occurred to me that you could do something like this… will have to remember that next time!

    I’m brand new to your blog, so look forward to reading more!


    • I’m glad you found it useful, Tanja. Although I would still recommend using ready-made shelves unless you require them to be a custom size or hold very heavy items.

      (Love you blog name – must go and check it out!)

  • Katy

    Looks great!!! Worth all the hard work put in. Is your man now baulking when you suggest something else to be done around around the house!!!!

    • He certainly is, Katy! I am laying low at the moment 😉

  • The Man

    To say it was a deal is understatement of the year. Well worth it though – and she knows I love it.

  • Tom

    I’m almost there too – but I’m stuck at the “how the *!#&^ do I drill a straight hole?!?” stage… any tips??

    • Me too, hence the asking the father-in-law to do it!! Will have to ask him next time I see him, but in the meantime do we have any handy folks out there who can give us some tips?

  • Jenny

    Where did you buy the mounting brackets? I can’t find any like those and I want them for my kitchen. Love your open shelves!!

    • Hi Jenny, the link to where I bought it is in the post. Hope that helps!

      • Wow Paul, thanks so much for your in-depth instructions! At some stage I actually want to add another shelf in the kitchen (on the wall above the fridge) so I will definitely be heeding your advice. Oh and I’ll make sure I draw a diagram! Good point about planing off the back of the shelf so it sits flush with the wall, I hadn’t thought of that until AFTER the shelves were up 😉

  • Paul

    Nice one, Alicia! You could have scribed the shelves to get a tighter fit to the walls (the fact that nobody can see the gaps is irrelevant to a true Type-A perfectionist, whose role models are the stonemasons who made beautiful carvings in medieval cathedrals where nobody but God could see them).

    Torr’s question about how not to drill the holes crooked is a good one, since the length of the drill bit makes it impossible to use a pillar drill. If the holes are drilled out of true it will be tricky or even impossible to slip (or even bang) the shelf onto the bracket. I would build a drill jig, using two 30cm pieces of 28x28mm batten. Use a pillar drill to bore a hole 15cm from one end of piece A at a distance from one edge which corresponds to half the thickness of your shelf. This hole should have exactly the same diameter as the *shaft* (not the tip) of your “f***-off spade bit”. Then screw and glue piece A to piece B to create a T shape, where A is the cross piece and B the vertical piece of the T. Use a try-square to ensure that piece A is at right angles to piece B. Voilà! Your home-brew jig is finished. You now need to drill a starter hole in your shelf which is as deep as the *tip* of your long spade bit and just a little bit wider. Then you can slip the shaft of the long spade bit through the hole in your jig, then fit the tip of the bit into the starter hole which you just drilled in the shelf. Ensure that pieces A and B lie flat on the faces of the shelf, clamp the jig securely, connect your drill to the shaft and drill your deep hole. Hope this is understandable; a picture would make it all much clearer.

  • I have to say that is one of the most impressive home improvement projects I’ve seen. I love the chisel work and the attention to detail. Oh and of course, love the advice – don’t forget to paint your shelves before they go up!

    • Thanks so much!

  • Suzanne Osler

    Tried to purchase brackets using the link, sadly they only sale hardware in Au, any suggestions on where to buy in US?

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