How to Make Shelf Brackets

Updated April 17, 2017

Shelves are a wonderful way to display beautiful collections you may have in your home. A beautiful shelf bracket will accent your collections. These instructions for designing and making your own shelf brackets are meant to give you a jumping off point for your design. Once you have made your shelf brackets, you will be able to attach a board to the top for your shelf to complete the project.

Measure and cut three pieces of cardboard 5 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches long for each template pattern.

Lay a dinner plate over a cardboard cutout. Position the plate so that it touches the 5 1/2-inch top of the cardboard, the outer 8-inch edge and the 5 1/2-inch bottom. Draw around the plate on the cardboard. Cut out the rounded plate side of the cardboard. This rounded pattern is one shelf bracket option.

Lay a dinner plate the opposite way as in Step 2 on another cardboard cutout. Position the plate to leave the 5 1/2-inch top uncovered and the back 8 inches uncovered. Draw around the plate on the cardboard. Cut out the inverted plate side. This inverted round pattern is another shelf bracket option.

Draw a line from the right-hand top corner to the bottom left-hand corner of the third piece of cardboard. Measure and mark the centre of this drawn line. Set a glass upside down and centred over the mark. Draw the glass shape on the right-hand side of the glass. Set the glass beside the first drawn glass shape on the line, and draw on the right side of the glass again. Repeat to the end of the line on both sides of the first glass shape. This scalloped edged pattern is another shelf bracket option.

Cut two pieces of 1-by-6 inch pine board 8 inches long. A 1-by-6 inch is approximately 5 1/2 inches long after milling.

Lay your chosen bracket pattern on a cut pine board. Trace around the pattern. Repeat for a pair of shelf brackets.

Cut around the shelf bracket using the jigsaw. Sand any rough edges. Repeat for a pair of shelf brackets.

Stain the shelf brackets and allow to dry.

Attach the keyhole hangers to the long back edge of the shelf brackets, 1 inch from the top.


Experiment with other objects to create unusual brackets.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-by-6 inch pine board, 16 inches long
  • Dinner plate and water glass
  • Lightweight cardboard
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Keyhole hanger and tools to attach
  • Wood stain
  • Paint brush
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.