How to Install Shelves Using Drywall Anchors

a small cactus sitting on a white shelf that is mounted to a  yellow wall
  • 2-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-500
What You'll Need
Drywall anchors
Measuring tape

Adding storage space to your room by installing a shelf is an easy task. However, sometimes it’s challenging to find a stud in the wall to screw or hammer into. If this is the case for you, using drywall anchors is the answer. With the right tools and a little know-how, you’ll be able to check this chore off the list. Read on to find out more.

Step 1 - Take Safety Precautions

Start installing the shelves using the drywall anchors by considering the following safety measures. Use work gloves to protect against pinching or scraping your skin. If you have allergies, consider a face mask. Eye protection is also a good idea to avoid dust particles causing irritation.

Step 2 - buy Drywall Anchors

a row of drywall anchors

Before you set out on installing the shelf you must make sure you buy the right kind of drywall anchors. There are several different varieties available but make sure you gauge the weight of the shelf and the items that you will be placing on them. Depending on that get a strong enough drywall anchor. Recommended weight capacities are marked on the packaging.

Step 3 - Measure the Shelf

In this step, you need to measure the shelf. Use a measuring tape and a pencil to measure the breadth of the shelf and mark it on the wall. If the shelf has two notches for nails or screws, measure and mark the distance between them and make sure they are level.

Step 4 - Measure the Brackets

If your shelf comes with brackets then you need to take the measurements accordingly. Measure the brackets and mark the points on the drywall.

Step 5 - Level

Get hold of a level. A common mistake while installing a shelf on a wall is to drill the holes in a slant position. A level will help you ascertain that the shelf sits on a straight line.

Step 6 - Predrill

You now have to drill holes on the marked spots on the drywall. The drywall anchors will go into these holes. Before drilling, you need to take note of the size of the hole required. The hole should not be equal to or bigger than the size of the anchor. A small hole will help in making sure that the anchor is fastened securely onto the drywall. Select the drill bit accordingly.

Step 7 - Introduce the Anchor

At this point, the drywall is ready for the anchors. Use a hammer to introduce the anchors into the holes. Tap on the head of the anchors to make sure it penetrates the hole properly. Be sure to place the anchors through the brackets if the shelf came with brackets.

Step 8 - Screw

Drill screwing a screw into a wall anchor

Place the screw in the anchor. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws. The screw helps in strengthening the grip between the anchor and the wall.

Step 9 - Support

The position of the screw into the anchor has a huge role in ascertaining the stability of the shelf. The screws help the tail of the drywall anchor to spread out behind the wall to counterbalance the weight. This provides the required support.

Step 10 - Hang

Now take the shelf and place it on the drywall anchor. Some shelves will require you to place it onto the screws. You may also come across a few shelves that require you to first place the shelf onto the anchors and then follow it up with the screws.

Step 11 - Observe

After handing the shelf on the wall, step back and observe. The shelf should not be slanted. Also check its strength and stability by placing books and other objects on the shelf.