The shelving on the wall of marble was by far the most intimidating part of the kitchen renovation. The drilling alone! There was also the concern of installing the shelves in a way that would actually hold. Both of these projects are ones we had never tackled before and the unknown comes with a certain set of anxieties. It all turned out well though, and we certainly learned some stuff along the way, so wanted to recap all of that here.
A huge thanks to Vintage Revivals for her tutorial on upside-down shelving and to Bower Power Blog for her tutorial on hanging shelves on tile. My tutorial is essentially the combination of both of those projects and you’ll see I followed each of them pretty closely!
(4) 12″ x 8″ white brackets
(12) 1/4″ bolts (length will depend on the width of the shelf)
(12) 1/4″ bolt caps
(1) 1/2″ diamond hole saw
(8) 1/2″ wall toggles
(1) 3/16″ bit for pilot holes in shelves
(2) shelves (we used leftover butcherblock)
(1) spray bottle with water
More On Upside-Down Shelving:
Because these brackets are being installed upside down, attaching the brackets to the shelf worked a little differently. In a normal installation, the bracket would carry the weight of the load. In this installation, the capped bolt takes the weight of the load… if that makes sense. Another way to explain it would be that the bracket sits on top of the shelf, not underneath. I chose this for two reasons: A) It’s a little more of an updated look and B) it allows for more real estate on the second shelf because the diagonal support piece isn’t in the way
1.) Attach Brackets to Shelf
We started this step first so that we could use the installed bracket on the shelf to template out the holes on the wall. To attach the brackets on top of the shelf, we laid the brackets in their desired locations (about 3″ from both ends) and marked the holes. There were 12 holes total. We first used a smaller bit to drill pilot holes (I was worried about splitting) and then used our 1/4″ bit to drill all the way through the hole. Here are the bolts and screws we used. Our bolt length was decided on per the width of the shelf. We needed about 1/4″ inch of screw past the width of the shelf to get the bolt caps to screw on securely.
2.) Mark the Drill Holes On the Tile
With the brackets installed on both shelves, it was time to mark the drill holes on the wall. These shelves were HEAVY butcherblock and we needed a creative way to “scaffold” the shelf so that it would hold while we figure out levelness and placement. Enter this adjustable IKEA stool. It was magic and made this part go so smoothly. So much of this work happened late at night so little wins like this were so rewarding. It seems so simple now but at the time we were so pleased with ourselves haha.
3.) Drill Holes into the Tile
The dreaded drilling hole step. My advice here is to relax, take a deep breath and take comfort in the fact that you won’t break a thing. At least that’s the hope. I highly recommend this 1/2″ diamond hole saw (the 1/2″ size was dictated by the size of our wall anchors… more on that in a minute) for drilling into marble tile. It worked like a dream. It’s pricey (about $25) but its effectiveness was priceless.
This was a 2-person job. Someone with the muscle to do the drilling and someone with less muscle to provide a constant spray of water on the cut. I bet you can guess who did what here. After doing 2-3 of these holes, Aaron found that the trick to getting the hole started, which was the hardest part, was to center his chest in front of the hole. This seems so weird but I swear, it was the trick. He started at a 45 degree angle to get the cut going. Once he had drilled out enough of a gouge to get a better footing, he leveled out the drill and kept drilling until he was all the way through. Throughout all of this, I was spraying the hole with my water bottle.
It was so messy, but it worked. By the fourth or fifth one, we were feeling much more confident.
4.) Set Your Wall Anchors
We needed super heavy duty anchors to secure the shelves to the wall. The shelves alone were very heavy (maybe about 12 pounds each?) plus the additional weight of all the plates and glasses it had to hold. We used these, called Toggler Snaptoggles. Each of them is supposed to hold like 350 pounds, which is exactly what we needed to feel somewhat confident that these shelves would actually stay up on the walls.
We ran into a little bit of a problem with the anchors closest to the door trim. Our holes were close enough to a stud that it was hindering the anchors from fully expanding behind the wall. After lots of cursing and broken anchors, we figured out that we just needed to place the metal part vertically versus horizontally. By placing it vertically, it made the stud issue null and void. Durr..
5.) Screw in the Shelves
With all of the anchors installed, it was time to screw in the shelves. This part was easy! Also, when your buying supplies, it’s wise to make sure the screws that come with the anchors fit in the bracket holes. We almost made that mistake…
Anyways, the shelves have been up and fully loaded for a couple of weeks now. They work great. I check them every once in a while to ensure nothing is pulling away from the wall, but I can guess I’ll ease up on that once I just chill out and accept the fact they’re there to stay.
Open shelving has been really great so far. I was initially worried about dust settling on plates we eat on, but the reality is we go through plates and cups so quickly that nothing has a chance to build up! We love the access to everything and even more so we love that we get to display our favorite kitchen stuff.