Build these easy shelves in either of two sizes. Then continue the look with pairs of pipe brackets that can support heavy or bulky artwork.
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For a large shelf, cut the 1 x 8 board to 28 inches long. For a small shelf, cut the 1 x 6 board to 19 inches long. (This spacing gives you the option of screwing both brackets to wall studs 16 inches apart.) If you don’t have a suitable saw, ask a Lowe’s associate to cut the boards to length.
You can cut boards to any length that fits your room space, but boards longer than the sizes given may eventually sag. To reduce sagging on long shelves, place the bracket holes up to 6 inches farther from the ends.
For the large shelf, screw the 3-inch pipes onto the flanges. Then screw the pipes to the 1/2-inch opening in the 90-degree reducing elbow. For the small shelf, screw the 2-1/2-inch pipes onto the flanges and add the 1/2-inch elbows.
Apply a metal finish of your choice to the pipe-and-flange assemblies and caps, but not the pipe nipples concealed by the wood shelf. Remember to finish the mounting screws as well. Also, mask the elbow threads before finishing. For the large shelf shown here, we used the steel pipe finish. The small shelf (above) has an aged copper finish.
Thread the pipe nipples onto the elbows and pass them through the shelf holes. Attach the caps so they just touch the wood surface.
Hold the shelf in position with a level on the shelf surface. Mark the positions of the flange mounting holes and disassemble the shelf. (If possible, center two holes in one bracket over a wall stud.) Drill pilot holes or add wall anchors. Screw the flanges to the wall, reassemble the shelf, and tighten the pipe caps against the wood. Estimated cost: $70 for one small or large shelf with finishes shown.
Screw the 19/50-in x 2-in pipes onto the flanges. Then screw the elbows onto the pipes.
If you need to support a thicker piece of artwork with these brackets, replace the 2-inch pipe with one 3, 4, 5, or 6 inches long. Match your wall anchors to the weight of the objects you’ll display.
Measure the bottom of the artwork and plan to space the art holders to allow a couple inches of overhang on both sides. Mark the holder spacing on tape fastened to the top edge of a level. Screw an art holder to the wall where it will support one side of the artwork. Hold the level with one mark under the installed holder, mark and drill mounting holes for the second one, and install the other art holder. Estimated cost: $25 for two art holders with finishes shown.
For the best results, drive at least two mounting screws into a wall stud to support one or both brackets. Studs are usually spaced 16 inches apart.