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How to hang shelves using painters tape {tutorial}

I wanted to show you how I hung the shelves in our recent dining room makeover. This tip on hanging shelves may seem obvious and I am surely not the first to do this but just in case there are some of you who stink at measuring those little brackets already on the back of shelves and then getting them lined up properly with your hooks, this tip is for you! My dad is a stickler for a measuring tape, using percentages, splitting the difference and doing all kinds of things that make my brain hurt when it comes to anything “carpentry” and measurement related. Who does that in real life? Certainly not me. So I have a little method I use to hang things that don’t require a degree in math!

How to hang shelves with painters tape

Here is what the wall looked like before,

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

I added a piece of MDF 3/4 high to add a little interest to the wall along with the shelves. Sorry, the quality of some of these pictures are not the best as my camera was giving me issues.

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

Next, take your shelf and find the brackets. If there are no brackets, you will need to add some as seen below.

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

Next, I placed a piece of painters tape from one end of the bracket to the other and marked the bracket hole with a marker.

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

Place your tape (with the spots for your hole marked)  on the wall and use a level to ensure the tape is straight.

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

Nail a hole where you marked your spots and then remove the tape. Make sure your tape is level though, otherwise, your shelf will be crooked. Next, I screwed a dry wall screw in each hole that I made where my spots were marked. I left about 1/4″ of the screw  remaining so I could hang the shelf. If your shelf doesn’t hang tightly against the wall, you need to screw the “screw” in a little more. That was a mouth full!!! You know what I mean right?

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

How to hang floating shelves {easy}

Add a coat of paint and Viola, you have a display wall. I decided to frame some of the kids art work and add my son’s latest lego project.

How to hange shelves using painters tape

How to hange shelves using painters tape

If you would like to see more pictures of this room, be sure to check out our dining room makeover post as well as our board and batten tutorial on how to add MDF as a wall treatment.

How to hange shelves using painters tape

How to hange shelves using painters tape

Learning how to hang shelves using painters tape is easy, quick and it works! Be sure to use a level and you should be fine. The addition of floating shelves in our dining room has been a great display area for handmade crafts and pictures. Do you have a wall where you could add inexpensive floating shelves? Try our (my) hanging method, I bet you will like it! If you prefer something a bit more modern with glass shelving, be sure to check out our how to hang glass shelves using “bingo brackets” or our DIY shelf mantel tutorial.

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Responses to How to hang shelves using painters tape {tutorial}

  1. Kim @ Sand & Sisal July 9, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    This is a FABULOUS tip! One of those “now why didn’t I think of that!?” tips! Pinned, tweeted, & FB shared! 😉

    I love that basket full of flowers on the red chair too!

  2. sherry July 9, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    What a great tip! I have NEVER done it this way….matter of fact a really did a job on our dining walls when I tried two hang my last two shelves! (Don’t worry, the hubby saved the day!). Thanks for sharing this. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Jessica July 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      Thank you :)

  3. Jennifer July 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Jessica. Awesome. Thank you!!

    • Jessica July 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      thank you !

  4. Lisa July 10, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    So smart! I love tips and tricks like this – thanks Jessica!

    • Jessica July 11, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      Thanks Lisa :) Hope you are enjoying your summer!

  5. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication July 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing! Can’t wait to try this out when I hang our bathroom shelves!

    • Jessica July 11, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      Thankyou Ashley!

  6. Karla@{TheClassyWoman} July 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Awesome tip! Can I just tell you that about a month ago, I hung one of these shelves in my office and measured twice before drilling thinking I had it all under control. I had marked a few points on the wall of where the edge of the shelf was and then where the holes would go. I have no idea how I messed it up but I wound up with a hole 1″ on either side of the shelf! LOL. I’ve hung these before and it never happened. Thankfully this room is not yet painted so I don’t mind patching.

    I will definitely use this tip next time and save myself the time & headache! 😉

    • Jessica July 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Oh I’ve been there and done that :( Good luck !

  7. Maury @ Life on Mars July 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I’ve seen this trick on Pinterest and I think it’s pretty brilliant! Love how you styled those shelves.

    • Jessica July 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      Thanks Maury!

  8. cassie July 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    wow! that looks awesome- so fresh and crisp, and LOVE the pop of red in the chair! so welcoming!

    • Jessica July 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      The little chair is my favorite :)

  9. Heather July 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Awesome tip Jessica!! Thanks for sharing this! I am moving in a week, so this will really help me hang my shelves in our ‘new to us’ home! Liked this and shared it too! Hope you are having a fun weekend! Heather :)

    • Jessica July 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      Thanks so much Heather! Good luck with your move :)

  10. Niña@Babbling Little Booties July 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Hi Jessica,

    Wow, I was surprise to see how you made that little makeover.
    It was nicely done and so simple.
    Thank you for letting us know how you did it!


    • Jessica July 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

      Thank you!

  11. Lana@whatsthestorymorninglory.com July 18, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Great tip. I have pinned this on Pinterest. I have something right now that I need to hang with this type of bracket. This will really help and looks so easy.

    • Jessica July 20, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Thank you and good luck with your project :)

  12. Kay July 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Jessica -this is inspired! And it’s SO refreshing to find a blogger who writes beautifully AND knows the difference between ‘insure’ and ‘ensure.’
    (I know, I know, picky, picky, picky…)

    Love your blog!


    • Jessica July 20, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      Ha, thanks Kay!

    • Dave January 1, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      Viola is a flower….
      Voila is I think the French word that you wanted to use……
      Just sayin.,……

  13. Lisa Hall July 21, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    This is such a neat idea!
    I am always struggling with getting things straight when I hang them on the wall.
    I will definitely try this!

    • Jessica July 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      Thank you LIsa!

  14. Rachel July 22, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    wow! So simple and yet brilliant! I have been struggling with those little (expletive)’s for 28 years! Either I am really dense, or you are really bright! I suspect the latter :-) THANKS!!!!

    • Jessica July 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      Ha ha, thanks Rachel! Good luck if you give it a try. Let me know if it works for you!

  15. Susan Smith December 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    What a great tip. I’m the world’s worst at hanging shelves, pictures (especially ones with more than one hanger), etc. I will definitely use this!Thanks.

    • Jessica Bruno December 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      Thank you Susan! Yes, give it a try, it’s fool proof :)

  16. Theresa@junk2jewels-diy.blogspot.com December 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    I love it!! GREAT idea! Loving your blog, thank you for sharing so much!! Very inspiring too – I’m working on lightening up my little condo and your living room is my new inspiration! Hugs & Smiles, T

    • Jessica Bruno December 30, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Thank you and good luck with your living room :) I’m glad you found ours inspiring. You will be amazed at what some light colored paint will do for a room. Send over some pictures when you are done, I would love to see it. Happy New Year!

  17. Kelly Pate January 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Oh, man! I wish I’d thought to look this up last week when I mounted a mail holder. Ended up placing one screw directly next to the anchor even though, like another commenter, I had measured twice. Owell. Now I can go shelf-and-whatever-else-hanging-crazy! THANK YOU! You just save many of my afternoons.

    • Jessica Bruno January 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      ha Kelly! I feel you pain. I have been there :) Good luck with your future hanging projects and thanks for stopping by!

  18. Paula March 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Thanks. . . great idea! Painters tape is my friend forever now!

  19. Sabra July 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    You are brilliant! Thank you for posting this!

  20. jenn October 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Great tutorial, thanks Just hung a shelf. You have to make sure you little dots on the painters tape are level too – I missed that bit!

  21. Amy November 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    What a BRILLIANT idea!! I searched for an easy way to hang my shelves and this worked like a charm!! THANK YOU so much!!!!

    • Jessica Bruno November 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Yay! So glad you found the tutorial and like it :)

  22. Jan June 15, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    I wish I’d had this technique years ago! Thanks for sharing!

  23. heidi November 18, 2014 at 9:34 pm #


    ive been researching in vain for weeks trying to figure out how people hang these beautiful shelfs, yours is the closest so far! but where did you get the shelfs? did you make them?

    • Jessica Bruno November 19, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      The shelves are from HomeGoods.


  1. Tutes & Tips Not to Miss {68} - July 17, 2012

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