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How Do Floating Shelves Work?

By Flow Wall
August 26, 2020

Floating shelves are streamlined, stylish, and almost seem like a bit of magic. There they are, holding your books and picture frames with some invisible support system you can't quite figure out. So how do floating shelves work? How do you attach floating shelves, and how much weight can a floating shelf hold, really?

Floating shelves give that minimal look with the help of internal brackets. These brackets usually include at least two rods that support the shelves from the inside. The shelf casing has holes that allow the brackets to slide into place. Then the shelf is secured to the wall by tightening screws located underneath the shelf.

What Do You Need to Hang Floating Shelves?

To attach your floating shelves, you'll need a ladder, wall anchors, and all the typical tools for hanging something on the wall. This includes a screwdriver, drill, level, pencil, tape measure, and stud finder.

Here are the steps to hanging floating shelves:

  1. Find the studs using your stud finder.

  2. Use the level and a pencil to make marks showing where you want the mounting brackets to go.

  3. Attach the bracket using a screwdriver or drill.

  4. Use a tape measure to determine where you want the next shelf to go. (Don't forget to leave room for it to hold books, picture frames, etc.)

  5. Install the next set of brackets above or below the first bracket.

  6. Repeat until all of the brackets are in place.

  7. Add shelf casing over the brackets and secure them to the wall by tightening the screws under the shelf.

How Much Weight Can a Floating Shelf Hold?

You've got your floating shelf mounted and you're excited to load it up. But before you get too carried away, make sure you're not exceeding the weight limit for your shelf—otherwise, everything will soon be tumbling to the ground.

The amount of weight your floating shelf can hold depends on where you hang it and how big your floating shelf is. Shelves with the lowest weight capacity can't hold more than 25 pounds, but the sturdiest shelves can hold up to 100 pounds or more.

Floating shelves that are mounted into studs or masonry blocks can hold more weight than those that are mounted into drywall. Deeper shelves usually can't hold as much as shallow shelves, since they require stronger brackets to stay in place. Additionally, the more rods your bracket has, the more weight the shelf can hold.

Do Floating Shelves Need Studs?

You're not planning on putting anything too hefty on your shelves, so you're wondering: Do floating shelves need studs? Yes, it's still the safest bet to use studs when installing your shelves. This will give them greater security and weight capacity, so you don't have your shelves falling out of the wall unannounced.

Shop Floating Shelves Today

Whether you're looking for heavy-duty shelves for your garage or decorative shelves for inside the home, Flow Wall is your one-stop-shop. Find your ideal shelves today at Flow Wall.