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How to Install Glass Shelves

Installation Steps

  1. Select the shape, size and bevel of your glass shelves.
  2. Use a tape measure, blue painter’s tape, and a level to determine the height and placement of your glass shelves. Keep in mind that the anchor height isn’t always the final height of the shelf.
  3. Ask yourself how much weight they will hold. A quarter-inch pane of glass that is 24 inches long and 6 inches wide can support 15 pounds with wall stud anchors at each end.
  4. Use a stud finder to detect where your studs are.
  5. Use a tape measure and level to find the exact spots where you want to place the anchors.
  6. Install the shelf anchors, attach your glass shelf and tighten the anchors to the shelf

Add a modern storage solution to any room by installing glass shelving. With a variety of styles and sizes, glass shelves can be customized to suit any home. The glass reflects light and gives rooms a bigger and brighter feel. The shelves are simple to clean, and their minimalist design doesn’t take up a lot of space either. Glass shelf installation is easy with these tips from our Glass Doctor professionals. 

Glass Shelf Styles

Glass shelves come in all shapes and sizes. After you’ve chosen your basic shape and size, you can consider different types of bevels on the glass edges to get the distinct style you want. Some glass shelves are sand blasted or acid-etched for a unique look. Make sure you look at all the styles to find the one that suits your home best. Look for thick glass, which is more durable than thinner styles, supports more weight and has a better visual appeal. Glass shelves also come with a variety of anchor styles. These differ in look, function and weight-bearing capabilities. Be sure to select an anchor that offers enough support for your needs. Installation may vary, so consult the manufacturer’s recommendations. Below we’ll show you how to install anchors that screw into the drywall or wall stud. 

What Do I Need to Install Glass Shelves?

  • Shelves
  • Hardware
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Blue painter’s tape

Glass Shelf Installation

Once you’ve found the perfect location for your glass shelves, ask yourself how much weight they will hold. Perhaps the type of shelf kit you purchased will answer this for you. Look at the hardware and the wall anchors the shelf came with. If it came with drywall anchors, the shelf will easily hold a few books or interior decorations if you install it on drywall. But if you have plans for potted plants, many books or a heavy rock collection display, you must use anchors that go into the wall studs. In general, a quarter-inch pane of glass that is 24 inches long and 6 inches wide can support 15 pounds with wall stud anchors at each end. Use thicker glass or more anchors to support more weight. Overloading a glass shelf is very dangerous; if you’re worried, consult an expert to prevent disaster. 

Glass Shelves Placement

Next, you must decide on the height and placement of the shelves. Consider the height of items you want to display and how easily you want to access them. If you’re displaying fragile decorations, place the shelf out of reach of young ones. Or if there will be a potted plant that needs to be watered frequently, put the shelf at a convenient height. You can use a strip of blue painter’s tape on the wall to get an idea of an appropriate height.   Apply a strip of tape (cut to the length of the shelf) on the wall, and take a few steps back or ask for a second opinion before you start drilling into the walls. Make sure the shelf won’t interfere with opening doors or cabinets once installed.

Glass Shelves Installation

Keep in mind that the anchor height isn’t always the final height of the shelf; sometimes, once the shelf is installed, it sits higher or lower than your anchors. Remember this when installing your anchors to avoid surprises. If the anchor has more than one hole, use the anchor as a template when making your pencil marks, or use a provided template from the manufacturer.

Before you start drilling, double-check your measuring work, and use a level to make sure nothing will be rolling off the shelf. Use a power drill with the appropriate bit to install screws. Go slow! It’s easy for the bit to slip off the screw head and ding the wall. To be safe, start the screw in the wall by hand with a screwdriver, and then finish with a power drill. Use drywall anchors with your screws if you aren’t drilling into a stud.

If you’re using shelf anchors that go into the wall studs, use a stud finder to detect where your studs are. Mark the sides and center of each stud with a pencil or strips of blue painter’s tape. Use a tape measure and a level to find the exact spot where you want the shelf. Make sure the anchor is drilled into the center of the stud. Since most studs are 16 or 24 inches apart, your glass shelf must be at least this long to use two stud anchors. If it’s shorter, you may have to use only one stud anchor in the middle of the shelf; just don’t plan on storing anything heavy on the shelf. If this is the case, you may want to use drywall anchors on the ends that won’t be attached to studs.

For drywall anchors, use a tape measure and level to find the exact spots where you want to place the anchors. Screw in the drywall anchor, and then follow up with the hardware and metal screw. Ensure the anchors are evenly spaced under the glass shelf for maximum strength.

Once the anchors are installed, simply attach your glass shelf and tighten the anchors to the shelf. Remove any leftover tape, and erase any pencil marks. Clean the glass with window cleaner, and pat yourself on the back. Well done!

Show Off Your Work

Glass shelves are a great way to add attractive storage solutions to your home. Sometimes finding the perfect shelf can be tricky. If you need glass shelf installation help or want to ensure your shelves can support enough weight, let the local glass experts at Glass Doctor help! We have years of experience in glass shelf installation and other glass projects, big and small.. Schedule an appointment or give us a call at 866-318-7344.

What better way to show off your new glass shelves than with under-shelf lights? These lights hide out of sight and will give your shelves and décor an elegant visual appeal. Learn more about under-shelf lighting from Mr. Handyman so you can brighten up your new shelves. Mr. Handyman is a part of the Neighborly network of trusted home service providers and, just like Glass Doctor, has locations all over the country.