Thursday, October 15, 2009

How to Hang an IKEA Lack Shelf or Two

My original post will continue below, but I'd thought I'd add on some more tips for those who found this by searching for how to hang lack shelves.

If you've bought IKEA Lack Shelves, you know that they don't hold much weight and that they don't include anchors. They don't include anchors because you need to buy ones appropriate for the material you will be hanging the shelves on. Get concrete anchors for concrete walls, hollow wall anchors for drywall, and such. Talk to the employees at Home Depot, Lowes, True Value or your local hardware store if you don't know what type of anchors to get.

It should also be said that shelves on concrete walls will hold more weight than shelves drilled into drywall. If going into drywall, you'll want to hit as many studs as possible.

We hung our shelves into drywall with hollow wall anchors, so I can only give tips for that now. I wanted my shelves centered, but that meant we didn't hit any studs with the predrilled holes in the LACK frame/bracket. My husband solved this by measuring where the most "centered" stud was on the wall and measuring where it would hit on the bracket. He drilled through the metal of the bracket to make a new hole for an anchor to go through and hit a stud.

These shelves will leave lots of holes in your walls because of the anchors. So be sure to measure carefully and be confident in where you want the shelves. If you ever want to take the shelves down, you will have lots of holes. We used 5 anchors for each shelf, so that's 10 big holes in the wall. Again, measure carefully before putting the holes in the wall.

If your shelf isn't hanging level, shim it up with something. We used Post-It notes to make it level (see original post below). Also...put the heavier items towards the back of the shelf. It puts more strain on the shelf if they're out towards the front. Just know how much weight you're putting on the shelf and what kind of material you hung the shelf on. Drywall will probably take the least amount of weight. (But you already knew the shelves weren't rated for much weight when you bought them, right?)

Thanks for visiting and I hope this helped a little. If you're frustrated with hanging the shelves, you're not the only one! Good luck!


My in laws visited recently and brought with them my two Lack Shelves I purchased at IKEA in July. Biker Boy and his dad installed them for me. If you've ever bought Lack shelves, you know you need to buy your own anchors to hang them and there really aren't detailed directions on how to hang them.

Here's the quick directions:

Day 1: Decide where to hang them, how to hang them, and what to buy.
Day 2: Purchase materials, drill lots of holes, figure out how to level one shelf and call it a night.
Day 3: Hang the second shelf.

Here's the more detailed instructions.

Day 1
  • Decide where you want to hang them. I wanted them on the wall between the picture window and the kitchen cupboards. My stud always wants to use wall studs to hang things, except studs are never where you want them (wall studs...not my stud).
  • Decide how to hang them. I could choose to hang them directly next to the cupboards or directly next to the window, but not centered. Okay. Biker Boy indulged me and determined he could center the shelves and still hit one stud with some modifications.
  • Decide what to buy. Hollow wall anchors for our wall, lots of them.
Day 2
  • Purchase materials. Buy hollow wall anchors from local home improvement store.
  • Drill lots of holes. Be sure to measure twice. Biker Boy drilled a new hole in the metal frame that holds the floating shelf. This was so at least one anchor could hit a stud. Five holes went into the wall for one shelf. Did I mention to be sure and measure carefully? Pencil mark where you want those anchors to go.
  • Figure out how to level the shelf. This shelf tilted slightly downward toward the floor. Not a whole lot, but unacceptable for Biker Boy and his dad. (It was a hoot for my mom-in-law and I to watch them work together!) A wood shim was too much shimming. The solution? 3M Post-It Notes. Yes, Biker Boy stuffed some Post-It Notes under the area that was tilting down to much. He shoved enough yellow pieces of sticky backed paper under the frame to make it level and acceptable.
  • Call it a night. Enough drilling and mental thinking for one night. Go to bed.
Day 3
  • Hang the second shelf. Basically repeat Day 2, but without all the figuring out how to make the shelf level. Whip out those yellow Post-It Notes.
  • Complain. The shelf hangers (Biker Boy and his dad) noted all the things they didn't like about the shelves. Cheaply made, don't hang level, can't hold much weight, not a lip on the end so things could fall off, and probably some other complaints. I can guarantee Dad-in-law won't be hanging those shelves in his house.
  • Admire. I jumped up and down profusely and was as giddy as a kid on Christmas. I noted all the things I liked. They fit perfectly, they were cheap, I didn't want much weight on them, and I just really liked how they looked.
Yeah! I'm a happy girl. It's still a work in progress. Did you notice the small side-by-side frame? I have no idea who those people are in it. I've got to work on photos for that. Any other Lack shelf hanging stories or tips? Any shelf hanging perfectionists in your household? Enjoy!


  1. hi chrissy,
    is there enough rebate at the rear of the shelf for it to sit flush with the wall after the shims?

  2. Hi. Well, sitting in you mean there isn't any space between the shelf and the wall. I'd be lying if I said they sit totally flush. I went and looked at my shelves close and yes, there is a little gap on the underside of the shelves in some places between the shelf and the wall. Yet, this isn't due to the shim. There would still be this space even without the shim. The amount of shimming we did was minimal, but we still did it because my husband is a stickler about things being level. He also likes things to look nice, but you don't notice the millimeter gaps on the bottom of the shelves. The thin part of a wood shim was too much (the photo in the blog), so we used post-it notes because they are thinner and it really didn't take too many pieces that were cut small. The shelf is actually flush to the wall under the bracket arm that we leveled. It isn't in other various places. I suppose the way the shelves are built and how straight the wall is contribute to how flush the shelves line up with the wall. So to answer a short question with a long answer...the shims don't make a difference when getting the shelf to sit flush. Hope this helped a bit. Good luck if you're hanging a shelf!

  3. Brilliant idea to make our houses have a bit of your creativity.

  4. Hi Chrissy, Great idea!!! Your Shelf is looking so nice. Thank you so much for sharing your idea.


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