DIY Shelf Brackets

Updated February 21, 2017

Shelf brackets are an ideal do-it-yourself project because they can be made with basic woodworking tools and can add a custom look to any wall-mounted shelf. A wooden shelf bracket has keyhole slots cut into the back edge of the bracket. It can be mounted to screws in a wall. The shelf sits on the top surface of the bracket. Make the brackets out of the same wood you plan to use for the shelf.

Place the boards on a work surface. Draw a curved diagonal line from one top corner to the opposing bottom corner. These will be the decorative front edges of the brackets. Use the flexible curve ruler to make a flowing decorative line.

Cut out the decorative front edges on the two bracket boards with a scroll saw.

Sand the brackets with fine-grit sandpaper.

Install the key hole bit in the router table to make a 1/4-inch-deep cut. Adjust the fence on the router table to make the cut in the centre of the 1-inch-thick edge of the bracket boards.

Rout two keyhole cuts on the back 1-inch-thick edge of the bracket boards. The back edge is the edge that is opposite the decorative edge. This will be mounted against the wall. Make one cut 2 inches in from each end. Make the keyhole cut so that the hole is oriented closest to the top of the brackets. The slot should be oriented to the bottom of the brackets.

Apply a wood finish to the brackets. Allow the finish to dry before installation.


Use a contrasting wood finish on the shelf board to highlight the decorative shelf brackets.


Wear eye protection when working with wood. Apply wood finish in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 boards, 1 by 8 by 8 inches
  • Pencil
  • Flexible curve ruler
  • Scroll saw
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Router table
  • Keyhole bit
  • Wood finish
  • Paintbrush
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About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.