How to Make Wood Shelf Brackets

Nichole Liandi

Wooden shelf brackets dress up the appearance of a shelving system. With a little practice and design, you can be quite original in your own creations. Here's a simple set of wood shelf brackets you can start with.

  1. Cut the 2- by 6-inch boards with a chop saw, table saw or hand-held crosscut saw into two pieces so that each has a square end.

  2. Sketch the bracket design on a piece of paper, cut it out with scissors, then trace the design on your 2- by 6-inch board with a pencil. Make the top and back edges about 6 inches long.

  3. Hold one of the wood pieces firmly on the edge of your work surface with the pencil outline facing up. Cut the brackets out of the board with a hand-held, electric jig saw. Repeat to make the second bracket.

  4. Sand the edges and faces smooth with 100-grit sandpaper. Repeat with 180-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.

  5. Clamp the brackets into a bench vise, if you have one, outside edge up, then drill two holes into each, 2 inches apart, with a 1/4-inch drill bit. The holes should stop 1/2 inch short of the back edge. Hold the brackets firmly against your work surface if you don't have a vise.

  6. Complete the holes using a 1/16 inch drill bit.

  7. Tip

    To install the brackets, insert the screws into the washers, then screw them into the holes, through the drywall and into a wall stud. Cover the holes with wood screw hole plugs and nail or screw the shelf board to the brackets. Experiment with different bracket profiles to suit your decor. Paint or stain the brackets and shelf to match your existing woodwork.