Build a Branch-Bracket Wall Shelf

  • Build a Branch-Bracket Wall Shelf

Turn a melamine board left over from a piece of flat-packed furniture into a distinctive display shelf by securing it to the wall with forked branches.
 
We used crabapple tree branches but any other smooth-barked tree such as eucalyptus will work.
 
Source branches from an arborist or the next time you prune, save ones 30mm thick with a straight main branch and a second forking off at 45 degrees.
 
Irregular and organic shapes like tree branches need to be adapted to be used with a board in place of geometric shelf brackets.
 
Trim the branches to fit into a right-angled space using a simple clamping technique, then secure
them to the shelf with 40mm x 8g countersunk timber screws.
 
TIP If you don’t have a melamine board, use 800 x 300 x 18mm plywood, MDF or particleboard.
 

Hanging the shelf

Since branches don’t have the same kind of structural strength as steel brackets, only use the shelf for lightweight objects.
 
To mount the shelf on a plasterboard wall, secure it using Wall-Mates, about $5 for a pack of four with screws, from Buildex (www.buildex.com.au).
 
In a masonry wall, make holes using a hammer drill and masonry bit then tap in wall plugs. Secure the brackets with 8g screws long enough to go through the branches and penetrate 25mm into the wall.
 
Bring a bit of nature indoors by using branches as brackets for a floating shelf.

Step 1. Trim the branches

Temporarily secure a length of 90 x 45mm timber at right angles to a scrap piece of plywood, then clamp the straight side of the branch to it. Use the edge of the ply as a guide to cut the fork with a handsaw.

Step 2. Attach the brackets

Clamp the shelf upright, position the branches against and trace around the ends. Drill clearance holes in the shelf and pilot holes in the fork ends. TIP Drill near the base of the branch marks so the screws penetrate enough.

Step 3. Hang the shelf

Use a spirit level to mark the shelf position then drill clearance holes through the branches and secure to plasterboard with Wall-Mates or to masonry with wall plugs and screws. TIP Support the shelf on a ladder.

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