Hanging Floating Shelves Solo

Not everybody is a construction or craft type of person. There are nuances in life that require micro solutions, and you may not be privy to creating said solution, until you have attempted the task. Hanging floating shelves by yourself is no different.

Let’s say you are changing a tire. The first time you change a tire you aren’t going to know how to position your body and arms in an effort to avoid fatiguing your arms or back. You won’t think of the trick to simply twist the back end of the tire iron to finish taking the nut off after you broke it.

You probably will try to lift the tire off of the axel while standing straight up, instead of knowing a far easier way of doing this task is to sit cross-legged under the tire and use your legs to brace your arms to add leverage. Everything has little tricks to make them easier.

This includes hanging floating shelves. Screws fall, and the corner brace follows. Keeping a level in place while holding other components and tools during this balancing act. The shelf itself keeps popping off the braces as you are trying to anchor it in place. You may have never even used a power drill before. You go in to one hand a screw like a pro and wonder why the screw just keeps spinning. I’m here to give you solutions to small problems like the ones I’ve listed and more, while hanging floating shelves by yourself.

Missing Tools

Don’t happen to have a Phillips head screwdriver? Try using a butter knife, a dime or a credit card.

I Do Not Have A Drill

Don’t have a power drill for putting screws in? Believe it or not, with a little elbow grease, a basic screwdriver can do anything a power drill can. Just be sure to have something to wipe the sweat off your forehead.

I Do Not Have A Level

If you have a smartphone you can take a few moments to download a free level app. Now you have a level.

A less preferable way is to simply use anything that can hold water such as a plastic cup or bull. Either must be transparent so you can view it from the side. Keep in mind, this should only be a temporary fix as it is not very accurate, and you should return with an actual level at some point.

It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to use this method with a glass cup or bowl. You are working on an un-seated shelf that could cause the glass to slip off at any time.

I Do Not Have a Tape Measure

  • This one may seem catastrophic, but it isn’t. Find something around the house that you know is a specific length. A U.S. dollar is exactly six inches long. Perhaps you know the size of your dishes. Anything you know the exact length of can substitute for a tape measure. It’s not like you’re doing professional work here. I hope…

Techniques for Hanging Floating Shelves

Putting the First Screw in The Brace

  • This one can be annoying. You’ll probably try to hold the brace up right while doing some finger gymnastics to attempt to screw the brace in. It doesn’t have to be that complicated. Place the screw and let the brace hang as you get the screw started. As you get closer to finishing, flip the brace up into its proper place and tighten it down.

Screw Keeps Coming Off the Screwdriver

Use one hand to screw and one hand to hold the screw in place. Apply pressure to the back of the screwdriver as you twist and slightly ease your fingertips off the screw, as you rotate the screwdriver.

Power Drill Isn’t Driving the Screw In

You may need to push on the power drill to get the screw to seat. Try this if the screw is just spinning in place.

Screws Will Not Stay in The Wall

  • Either you stripped the hole from over drilling, or you didn’t hit a stud. If there isn’t a stud you need to be using a special kind of screw called Hollow-wall screws”.

Cannot Level the Top Side of The Brace

  • Instead of attempting to level your brace from the top you can do it from the side, and it will work just as good. By this I mean placing the level on the brace in a parallel fashion.

Floating Shelf Keeps Falling Off When I’m Trying to Bolt It In

Tape, my friend. Any kind will do, just be mindful that some will leave residue that you will probably want to wash off afterwards. You can also use plastic clamps, string, or even a t-shirt, to tie the floating shelf in place. Metal clamps or pipe wrenches can do the job as well.

Be sure to place a thin book or even an oven mitt in-between vice grips/pipe wrenches and the shelf, before you tighten them down as they could damage your shelf material easily.

Level Keeps Slipping While I’m Making Marks

  • A handy little trick for this is to use your bodyweight to hold the level in place instead of your hand. You can do this by angling your legs out so that they put more horsepower behind your arm or by pushing on the level with your forearm instead of your hand.

Power Drill Keeps Slipping Off the Screw

  • When using a power drill, you need to start the screw with both hands. Keep one hand on the drill and one hand holding the screw to the muzzle. Gently start the screw by only applying as much pressure to the trigger as needed. Once the screw is a quarter to halfway in you can move your hand and put some pressure on the back of the drill.

Look, I Hung A Floating Shelf All by Myself

These tips could seem laughable to some, but not everybody does these sorts of tasks on daily or even an annual basis. If you find yourself alone attempting to put up floating shelves it is good to have a head start on some of the small annoyances you’re going to have to face during your project. I mean, everything looks easy if you’re not the one doing it.

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