How to build a shelf

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How to build a shelf

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Project Overview

You can never have enough storage around your home. Shelf space is a great way to store things out of the way in your laundry, kitchen or bedrooms. They’re easy to build and look great when they match your décor and furnishings. 

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How to lubricate difficult screws with soap
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How to lubricate difficult screws with soap

We’ve all had times when we just can’t get a screw into a piece of wood. Here’s a simple tip to make the job easier. Take a bar of soap and run the side of the screw along it, so that the grooves are covered in soap. Put the screw back into the hole and you should now find driving the screw into the wood much easier.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Find the wall stud
2 Mark where the bracket will go
3 Fix the bracket to the wall
4 Measure and mark for the second bracket
5 Mark the drill holes for the second bracket
6 Install the wall anchors
7 Fix the bracket to the wall
8 Position the shelf
9 Fix the shelf to the brackets
10 Just add your items
  • Step 1. Find the wall stud

    After you’ve decided where you want your shelf to go, use a stud finder to locate the stud behind the wall. Mark the left and right hand side of the stud. Use the tape measure to find the middle of the stud and mark it. This is where the top of your shelf will sit.

  • Step 2. Mark where the bracket will go

    Place the bracket against the wall so that the top of it is level with the mark on the wall. Use the spirit level to make sure it’s straight. Then with a pencil, mark the three holes in bracket.

  • Step 3. Fix the bracket to the wall

    Using a 3mm drill bit, pre-drill three pilot holes where you’ve marked on the wall for the bracket. Then with the bracket in place, use 40mm screws to attach the bracket to the wall. We spray painted the top of the screws black so they match the colour of the bracket.

  • Step 4. Measure and mark for the second bracket

    From the bracket, measure across to where you want to fix the second bracket. Our shelf is 700mm long and we want 100mm overhang on each side of the bracket, so we’ve measured 500mm from the first bracket. Use the spirit level to make sure the mark is level.
  • Step 5. Mark the drill holes for the second bracket

    Place the second bracket so that the top of it is level with the mark on the wall. Use the spirit level to make sure it’s straight, and then mark where the three holes will be drilled on the wall.

  • Step 6. Install the wall anchors

    For this second bracket, we don’t have a timber stud to drill into. So we’re using wall anchors to secure the bracket. Use the 3mm drill bit to drill holes for the wall anchors, and then push an anchor into each hole. Drill the anchor into place until the toggle locks, and then remove the wall anchor screws.

  • Step 7. Fix the bracket to the wall

    Place the bracket against the wall in-line with the holes. Use the drill and wall anchor screws to fix the bracket to the wall.

  • Step 8. Position the shelf

    Place the shelf on the brackets. Make sure that the shelf is centred on the brackets with an equal overhang. Mark the holes and use the 3mm drill bit to pre-drill the four bracket holes.

  • Step 9. Fix the shelf to the brackets

    Use the drill and black 30mm timber screws to fix the shelf to the brackets. Make sure the screws you use are shorter than the thickness of the shelf.

  • Step 10. Just add your items

    Now your new shelf is complete it’s time to style it any way you choose!

Tools and Materials


  • Cordless drill
  • 12mm and 3mm drill bits
  • Dust mask
  • Earmuffs
  • Measuring tape
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Spirit level
  • Stud finder


  • 150mm x 200mm x 25mm 90-degree brackets x 2
  • 600mm x 100mm x 30mm plywood
  • 13mm wall anchors x 3
  • 40mm 10g chipboard screws
  • 4mm 8g countersunk timber screws
  • Black spray paint

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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