How to hang a shelf on a plaster wall

The most efficient way for mounting shelves on plaster walls

How to hang a shelf on plaster walls

Rental laws in Victoria have changed, allowing renters more scope for decorating. While these changes may not come into effect until 2020, there’s plenty of exciting options on the horizon for low impact home improvement.

In small living spaces, hanging shelves can be instrumental in creating functional rooms that save on space. Here is our definitive guide to hanging a shelf on a plaster wall.

At Carinya, we support DIY home improvements. Make your home the best it can possibly be, with our high quality and rigorously-tested brackets.


tools on floor

Here is a list of items you’ll need before you begin hanging your shelf on a plaster wall:

  • 1m long level
  • Stud finder
  • Steel wall screws
  • Electric drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Brackets
  • Shelf


For safety, stability and a long-standing shelf, we highly recommend that you drill holes into your wall – not just into the plaster, but into timber studs.

1. Choose a style

Consider what you will be storing on your shelf. Floating shelves generally require two wall studs and two brackets.

It’s important to remember that the wider the span of the shelf, the less weight it will be able to hold.

Carinya shelving brackets come in a range of styles and finishes, perfect for a wide variety of uses at home on plaster walls.

stylised shelf

2. Locate wall studs

Use a stud finder to locate wooden studs hidden behind the plaster wall. Heavy objects will require the support of a wall stud, so this is an important step. Mark the location of wall studs onto the plaster with your pencil.

3. Locate and mark your shelf

Now that you have located your wall studs, set the spot for your shelf on the wall. Use the level and mark the location with your pencil on top and on the sides of your shelf. You might need a helping hand for this step.

4. Mark the mounting brackets

Next, you will need to mark your mounting brackets . These are located on the back of your shelf. Mark the distance between the top of the shelf to the top of the bracket slot. Do this for each mounting bracket slot.

Use the level to mark the location of each mounting bracket at the top of the shelf.

man marking drill holes

5. Use the drill

Pre-drill small anchor holes into the wall studs. Line the pre-drilled holes with the brackets and push them into place.

Screw the brackets into place, but do not tighten excessively. If your brackets have screw slot fixings, ensure they are screwed into place approximately 6mm away from the wall to allow space for the screw head.

6. Level it out

Use the level to ensure your brackets are in prime position to mount the shelf. The level should be completely flat and stable.

7. Mount the shelf

Take your shelf and place it onto the brackets. Repeat the process and install as many shelves as you need.

man mounting shelf

Admire your work

Now that your shelf is installed, you can decorate it however you see fit. Store a few books or a pot plant on your shelf to brighten your living space. Use it as a functional rack for linen and toilet paper in a bathroom. You might like to cascade shelves along a feature wall at home and re-decorate with your favourite items.

For more information on shelving, visit Carinya. Our range of brackets can make your home or office project come alive, now available at your local Bunnings Warehouse.