The quickest and most secure way to install wire shelving is to draw a straight, level line on the wall where you want the shelves to hang. Next, drill holes along the marked line every 12 inches and install your shelf clips. After this, install end brackets and put your shelves into place. Then, mark the locations of all the wall studs on the wall where you will install the shelf. Finally, install angled shelf supports by screwing them to the wall studs.
How Do You Hang Wire Shelves Without Studs?
If you can’t secure shelf supports to studs, use a drywall anchor to support each screw. An anchored screw can hold 25 pounds (11 kilos). This makes anchored screws in drywall much more secure than the alternative. An unanchored screw in drywall can tear out of your wall when loaded with weights as low as 5 pounds (2 kilos).
- Use drywall anchors to secure any screw that is driven into drywall where there is no wall stud.
- A drywall anchor makes screws in drywall 5 times more durable. Anchored screws can hold up to 25 pounds (11 kilos) each.
- When you have the option, secure shelves to wall studs.
- A screw in a wall stud can hold up to 100 pounds (45 kilos).
Whenever possible, secure your wire shelves to wall studs. A screw driven into a wall stud can hold up to 100 pounds (45 kilos). This makes studs the best way to support your shelves.
7 Steps to Install Wire Shelves on Drywall
Wire shelves make organizing your closet, pantry, or garage quick and easy. You can configure them to work in almost any space to maximize storage. Plus, they’re easy to install. Here’s how:
Cut Shelves to Size
Before you begin, measure the length of the space where you will hang the shelves. While you can install whole shelves in many closets, there are times where the shelves will have to be cut to fit. If the shelf is too long, mark the desired length on the shelf, then cut it with a pair of bolt cutters.
- Measure the length of the area the shelf will span.
- If the shelf is too long, mark the desired length on the shelf.
- Cut the shelf to length using these bolt cutters.
With your shelves cut to the desired length, the following installation steps will be much simpler. Depending on the shelving system you’re using, you may need to hang the shelves early in the process. Having the shelves cut to size first makes the job simpler.
Mark the Shelf’s Future Location
Before you can go forward with the installation, you have to determine where the shelf should be. To do this, select a height that works for you. Then, use a level and pencil to draw a straight, horizontal line on the wall where you want the shelf to be.
- Find the desired height for your shelf.
- Use this level and a pencil to mark a straight line on the wall where you want the shelf to be.
- 65–70 inches (165–180 cm) is the standard height for shelves that will also be used to hang clothing.
65–70 inches (165–180 cm) is typically the ideal height for wire shelves that will also act as clothing racks. For storage shelves, shoe racks, and other applications, shelf height will depend on your needs.
Drill Pilot Holes for Shelf Clips
Beginning 2–4 inches (5–10 cm) from either end of the shelf, drill holes every 12 inches (30 cm) along the line you marked in the previous step. These holes are for the shelf clips that secure the wire shelves to the wall at the rear. Check the shelf clips that come with your system. Some require two holes per clip, while others only need one screw hole. It’s a good idea to hold a bracket up to the wall and mark the location of the screw holes so that your pilot holes are in the correct location.
- Mark places along the horizontal line where shelf clips will be installed.
- One shelf clip should be installed 2–4 inches from each end of the shelf.
- Additional shelf clips should be installed every 12 inches along the horizontal line.
- Shelf clips do not have to be secured to studs—they bear relatively little weight.
When using an electric drill to make pilot holes, use the appropriately sized drill bit. Inspect the plastic expansion anchors that come with your shelf clips. You will want to use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the plastic anchor. In many cases, a ¼-inch (6 mm) bit is the optimal size.
Install Drywall Anchors and Shelf Clips
The screws used to secure the shelf clips to the wall must be anchored. Some shelf clips come with built-in wall anchors. If you see a straight protrusion on the back of your shelf clip, it can be inserted directly into the pilot holes you drilled. If your clips don’t have built-in anchors, insert a drywall anchor into each hole you’ve drilled.
- Insert a plastic drywall anchor into each pilot hole you drilled.
- If your shelving system comes with drywall clips with built-in anchors, insert the anchor portion of the clip into the pilot hole.
- Secure the wall clips to the drywall anchors with the screws included with your shelving system.
- Install the shelf on the wall clips. It’s okay for it to hang straight down at this point.
Secure the shelf clips to the anchors with screws. If your shelf clips are of the “closed” variety, meaning you cannot install the shelf in the clip after it has been screwed into place, you will need to install the shelf at the same time you screw the clips into place. It’s okay if the shelf hangs straight down against the wall at the end of this step.
Install End Brackets
Wherever your shelf meets a perpendicular wall, you will need to install an end bracket. Depending on where you install your shelf, you may use two, one, or no end brackets at all. Wherever you need a shelf bracket, install it by following these steps:
- Hold the end bracket up against the wall where it will be installed.
- Secure the shelf to the wall clips installed in the previous steps, then place it into the end bracket.
- Move the end bracket up or down to achieve a shelf that is level front to back.
- Use a small carpenter’s level to verify the shelf is level front to back.
- With a pencil, mark the places where the screw holes in the end bracket should be.
- Put the end bracket aside for now.
- Drill pilot holes where you marked the end bracket screw hole locations.
- Insert a drywall anchor into each pilot hole.
- Put the end bracket in position so its screw holes line up with the anchors.
- Secure the end bracket to the wall anchors with screws.
- Position the shelf so that it is installed in the shelf clips and end bracket.
With the shelf clips and end bracket(s) in place, your shelf should be sitting level and straight. While your shelf will look great at this point, it’s not ready to hold much weight. The next steps will make sure your wire shelf holds whatever you need to store.
Mark Wall Studs
Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall where the shelf is hanging. Mark the location of each wall stud about 12 inches (30 cm) below the shelf. Make sure to mark the center point of the wall stud whenever possible.
- Use this stud finder to locate studs in the wall where the shelf is installed.
- Mark the location of the studs on the wall below the shelf.
- Most wall studs are 16 inches apart.
With a good stud finder, locating in-wall studs is simple. Plus, most homes have wall studs placed either 16 or 24 inches apart.
Install Shelf Supports
Install your angled shelf supports to ensure the durability of your wire shelf. The forked end of the shelf support should clip onto the front of the shelf, while the support itself angles back and down to meet the wall. There should be at least one screw hole in the support where it meets the wall. It’s essential to drive a screw through this support into a wall stud. Screwing these load-bearing supports directly to a stud is the best way to ensure your shelf holds up to heavy use. Install one support for each wall stud.
- Install one angled shelf support for each wall stud along your wall.
- The shelf support should clip onto the underside of the shelf and angle backwards to the wall.
- Secure the supports to the marked wall studs with screws.
- When driving a screw into a wall stud, no wall anchor is required.
Once your shelf supports are installed and screwed directly into wall studs, you’re ready to use your shelves. The shelf supports will bear most of the load, while the clips and end brackets keep the shelf from tipping when items are put in place.
How Do You Hang Wire Shelves on Drywall?
To securely install wire shelves on drywall backed by studs, you should:
- Measure the length of the area and cut shelves to size.
- Determine the desired height of the shelves and mark it with a straight, horizontal line.
- Install shelf clips along the horizontal line.
- Install end brackets to support the front of the shelf.
- Place the shelf in the wall clips and end bracket.
- Find the studs in the wall, marking their location on the wall below the shelf.
- Install angled shelf supports, screwing one directly to each wall stud.
You can complete a wire shelving install quickly and efficiently by following these steps. Not only will you be left with a level shelf, but it will also hold up to regular use. From there, it’s up to you to use the wire shelves as-is or install a smooth surface atop the shelves to increase their versatility.