If you have admired the glass shelves you’ve seen in other people’s homes, you may think that making your own glass shelves would be something beyond your abilities. But it’s not as hard as you might think.
It’s best to use tempered glass to create glass shelving, since it has much more stability, so you can display more different types of items there. If your tempered glass shelf should break, it will break into small square fragments like a car windshield, so it’s not as dangerous as traditional glass, which may break off with sharper edges. Decide what shape you would like before you order, since the glass won’t be tempered until it’s cut.
To make your own glass shelves from pieces of cut glass, you’ll need a measuring tape, shelf supports or brackets, gloves, some safety glasses, some nails or screws, and a hammer or screwdriver. You can also use a caulking gun and adhesive caulk for additional stability.
Use your measuring tape to determine what size you’d like your shelves to be. Measure on your walls how far from the corners your shelves will start, and how far they will extend. This all depends on how many things you would like to display on your shelves.
Think about the objects you might be placing on your shelves, to help you determine how thick the glass for your shelves should be. It will need to be thick enough to provide your objects with proper support. Tempered glass comes in thicknesses of 1/4 inch, 3/8 an inch or 1/2 an inch. 3/8 is a standard thickness that will hold all but the heaviest objects. If you have something that is especially heavy, ask your glass cutting professional about whether it should be displayed on glass at all.
Determine the most feasible type of support for your shelves and the area where they will be hung. You can buy brackets in glass, wood, metal or plastic, and they are made to be screwed into your wall. There are some brackets that are less artistic and more utilitarian, but some can offer excellent support while still being decorative. Select the brackets that will go the best with your room’s décor. You can also buy floating shelves, which will be secured directly into your wall with a strong adhesive.
Select the shape you would like for the shelf edges. You can get them wavy, beveled, flat or rounded. The finish of your glass shelves can be plain, smooth, satiny or frosted. After you determine thickness, glass type and edging, you can order the shelves.
If you plan to cut the shelves yourself, you’ll need a glass cutter, and someone who has experience in glass cutting. Most people order them pre-cut, and the more intricate the designs, the higher the price will be. If you are on a fixed budget, something simple with a basic edging will be the best.
If you’ll be cutting the glass yourself, clean an area big enough for the piece of glass, and cover that glass with a damp cloth. Be sure that the glass is clean. Mark off the measurements for the shelving, on your glass. Place a straightedge along the area you’ll be cutting, and secure that with duct tape. Use a glass cutter that is well-lubricated to score along the straightedge, in one fluid motion.
Remove your duct tape and your straightedge, and tap on the reverse side of the glass, along the line you cut. Apply pressure to help the edge snap off.
If you ordered your glass to be cut professionally, then when it is delivered, unpack it carefully, using gloves, to avoid cuts. Check the glass for any imperfections, and measure to be sure that the thickness and dimensions are exactly as you ordered.
The glass will be hung from brackets, unless you order floating shelves. There are many designs and colors available in brackets, so select one that goes with your room’s décor. They generally come with all the hardware you will need.
If you have drywall on your walls, you should try to configure the shelves so that your brackets are mounted where the studs are. If the studs don’t line up with where you want the shelves to be, you can purchase brackets made for a drywall installation.
Drill pilot holes for the screws, and push the anchors into those holes. The anchors can be tapped lightly with a hammer if they won’t go in otherwise. After the anchor is in place, then you may screw your brackets in the wall.
Install the shelf brackets following the instructions that come in the same package. They are generally made in the shapes of angles, where one arm will attach to the wall and the other will support the shelf itself.
Clean your glass shelves before you place them on top of your brackets or supports. If you chose floating shelves, you’ll need to drill into the wall so that the shelving tabs can fit into the wall cut-outs.
After your shelving is mounted, and the adhesive is dry if you used floating shelves, you may place the objects on the shelves, as you desire them.
Decorators may spend a lot of time to determine the color a room will look the best painted, but glass shelves will go well with almost any type of décor you have. Wood brackets can be used for your shelves, if they will go well with the style of your room. If your room is more modern in design, metal or wrought iron brackets will work better, and floating shelves work best of all.
The grains from wood in your furniture can reflect off your glass shelving, even as they match your brackets. Glass shelves will also pick up the colors from the walls in the room, especially if you place a mirror behind them when they are mounted.
Your rooms only have a finite amount of space, and when you use glass as a shelving option, it opens up your room and makes your living space appear larger.