While a set of true bracketless shelves is not truly possible—no shelf system would be able to support any weight without some bracket support—you can nonetheless work to minimize the appearance of your brackets. This will free up wall space for other items and decorations, and it will also provide you with a more unified and clean looking shelf system. Follow the simple steps below to effectively make bracketless shelves to use on the walls of your home.
Step 1 -- Attach the 'L' Strips
Overlay one of the 22 inch strips and one of the 12 inch strips so that they form an 'L' shape. Attach the two at the end section that overlaps with wood glue. Once the glue has dried, solidify the bond with a short finishing nail.
Step 2 -- Attach the Other Short Strip
Attach the other 12 inch strip to the opposite end of the 22 inch strip. It should be facing the same direction as the first 12 inch strip, and the 3 pieces together should form a 'C' shape. Glue the second 12 inch strip in place and finish with a nail in the same way as you did Step 1.
Step 3 -- Attach the Other Long Strip
Place the second 22 inch strip parallel to the first and in between the two 12 inch strips. It should not be flush with the ends of the strips, but rather positioned about 3 inches away from the opposite side as the first 22 inch strip. Glue it in place and attach with finishing nails on both ends.
Step 4 -- Attach the Plates
You can now attach larger plywood sheets to this basic frame. Position one sheet over the top of the frame, and attach with glue at all corners. Once the glue has dried, insert finishing nails to hold the plate in place on the frame. Flip the frame over to attach the other plywood sheet in the same way on the opposite side.
Step 5 -- Putty Over the Holes
Place wood putty over the nail holes that you've created. Allow the putty to dry, then sand it off so that it is completely level with the surface of the wood.
Step 6 -- Attach the Beam and Shelf
Attach the beam to the wall with wood screws. Be sure to place the wood screws into studs, not just into plaster. With the beam in place, fit the open end of the shelf over the beam and secure it in place with medium length wood screws along the back of the shelf. Test the shelf for stability before you place any items on it.