No More Floating Shelves!

“No more wire hangers!”
You may be familiar with this phrase from the 1978 book “Mommie Dearest” by Christina Crawford. Well, now I have my own phrase: “No more floating shelves!”

before picture

But allow me to explain. You may remember reading about my floating shelves awhile back in “Climbing the Walls.” It’s not the shelves I have a problem with, but the fact that, if they were hard to put up, they were even harder to take down! But why take them down? Well, if you look at the picture above, you can see that to reach the top shelf above the door, a cat has to follow a certain procedure.

climbing up old

Foster needed to climb onto the bookshelf, then to the first shelf/crate and up to the second, then turn around and go back the other way to jump up to the top.

This was fine when he was little, but I had noticed that the second crate was now too small for him to turn around on. So that’s why he hadn’t been up there for awhile. I tried widening the second shelf by adding a little ledge to it, but it was still too small. So the answer was simple. I would just move the shelves to the other side, so that climbing up would not entail turning around on the tiny 12×5 inch shelf.

In case you’ve never put up floating shelves before, the first thing you need to do is mount these posts to the wall. The posts on the ones I bought were not together in one piece, but each shelf had two separate posts, which required accurate measurements. Above you can see my tiny “helper” checking out my work back in November.

shelf posts

The shelves themselves are easy to remove from the posts. You just pull toward you. Having learned from my mistakes when I had put them up, I decided to measure the distance between the two posts for each shelf so that on the other wall I would get it right the first time.


I made a card for each shelf so that when I re-mounted the posts they would be right.

numbered parts

This was going be so much easier than the first time!….Not!

holes in plaster

You might remember that the wall seemed like pure plaster, and so I’d had to use nails instead of screws to mount the posts. If it was hard putting them up, it was twice as hard taking them down! I had little reason to fear that those shelves would ever fall down.


Just part of the plaster dust that fell everywhere during the process!


Fortunately, after I put spackle over the holes, I hung up this framed scripture from Hobby Lobby and it fit the space perfectly.

first idea

This was my first idea. I was thinking about putting both floating shelves together like before, only to my dismay the plaster wasn’t as solid as it was above the door. The nails did nothing to keep the shelf from pulling down at the least amount of pressure. I took out my magnetic stud finder and discovered that the studs on that wall are 39 inches apart! Definitely not the 16-24 inches they say it will be when you look it up online. There was no way this was going to work, because the way the posts would have to be positioned, only one of post out of the four would be able to be affixed to a stud.

second idea

My next idea was to get more crates like the ones I already had, and put a different shelf over the top of them. In this photo the crates are just temporarily stuck there hanging on a couple of nails. With these, I was able to put at least one on a stud, and it seemed that their lighter weight made them stay up.

These are some of the configurations I tried out. I finally decided on the one at the top right. By the end of the whole process, there were holes all over the walls, with plaster dust everywhere. Thank goodness I had plenty of spackle!

Once I decided on where to put them, I took the crates down and nailed them to a 12×24 inch shelf  using small finishing nails. I got some nails from one of the many collections my father had organized into Altoids tins and labeled years ago. I decided to put them up and worry about painting them later. I wasn’t in the mood to wait for paint to dry. In retrospect, all the hammering I did would probably have damaged the paint anyway.

brown paint

To be on the safe side, I took a picture of the nearly empty container of paint I had used on the original crates so I would know which color to buy.

with butterfly

Then I started adding some decorations to the shelves. The white kitty toy is there because I was trying to show Foster that the shelves were for him.


I have to say I am still sore from my DIY efforts, which took most of yesterday. But according to my Fitbit, at least I got 39 minutes of “cardio” out of the deal!

Then I put Panda on the shelf to see what Foster would do.

He climbed up, but instead of jumping onto the top shelf, he reached up, pushed Panda off onto the desk and sat looking down at him. He has gotten up on the shelf a couple of times since, but seems a bit unsure as to whether he should go up there or not. I’m sure he will eventually figure it out. But until then I just have one thing to say…

crates featured

No more floating shelves!!