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I may write for the web, but I collect things in print. Lots of things. Craptons, actually. I have more books than some small-town bookstores. Sadly, most of them are in a big pile in my spare bedroom keeping me from using said spare bedroom for anything except raw book storage. I’ve intended to build some nice bookcases for years, but the truth is I just don’t have the time. (Not only do I write here and elsewhere, but I also work full time and am a recently-returned full-time student.)

So recently I decided to just find the cheapest shelf brackets possible, screw ’em to the studs in my family room, cut and tung-oil up some cheap-ass shelves, and convert a 15′ section of wall into 10′ tall book storage. Shelves are easy, but the trick to keeping this whole project within my pretty much non-existent budget is finding the cheapest shelf brackets known to man.

So far my best finds have come from an Amazon search for “bulk shelf brackets.” [What’s This?] But I thought I’d send this out to our astute readers. Do any of you know of a better source for this hardware? Or a place where I can get more bang for my buck, like some nicer-looking brackets for the same kind of cash? I’m going to need near 100 of these, so even pennies on the individual brackets adds up quickly.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have, and I’ll definitely follow up with pics of the result when done.


24 Responses to What’s the Cheapest Source for Shelf Brackets?

  1. Les says:

    Probably not available in bulk, but do you have a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, or some other recycling place nearby?

  2. David says:

    Another approach that may be cheaper (and nicer looking):
    Hungarian Shelves


  3. HoustonJeff says:

    Ikea has $0.50 shelf brackets for shallow shelves (7-8inch deep) and $2 for deeper shelves (11-12 inch)


    If you want deeper shelves but want to use the cheaper brackets you could do it if the shelves will span the space btw two walls. Just brace the sides of each shelf w two more brackets and you should be fine. (I guess don’t hang from the shelves though…)

    • B. Herder says:

      Those are made of plastic… I wouldn’t trust them to hold the shelf up, let alone one loaded with books ;^)

      • Betsy says:

        Actually, the ikea product description says: made of “Steel with Pigmented epoxy/polyester powder coating”. Not plastic.

  4. Randy says:

    Shelf brackets direct from manufacturers in China:


    The problem is that most have minimum order quantities in the 1000’s. It wouldn’t surprise me if you could contact one of these companies directly and made them some kind of deal for a smaller quantity.

  5. c. says:

    I think you might find it cheaper and easier to just build “proper” book cases with sides and backs. For 15′ of shelves, you’re looking at maybe 8-10 10′ boards for sides and 4 sheets of 1/4″ luan for the backs, plus the lumber for the shelves you were already going to have to buy. You’ll have to get extremely cheap brackets to beat that price.

  6. Stuey says:

    If you’re just looking for plain-Jane brackets, check with industrial suppliers.

    If you wait for a good MSC sale, you can get a discount and free shipping.


    Checking around, I found 20-packs of these brackets on ebay for $13 + $8 shipping. I’m sure there are other sizes and colors available.

    And McMaster carries something similar – http://www.mcmaster.com/#1735A54 , with a 10+ quantity discount.

  7. DeadGuy says:

    I like the Hungarian Shelves – very nice. I agree, build proper shelves with a little extra wood. I built some super heavy duty shelves from MDF by making triangle shaped supports.

  8. Angelbane says:

    DO NOT use MDF for this …

    Remember books weigh a ton collectively … MDF WILL sag and break with time.

    Please do your self a favor and over-build the shelves and make sure you leave enough space for tall books …

    I build some really nice shelves years ago and i built them a little small and as paperback book sizes changed the shelves do not fit many newer books.

  9. Eric says:

    I would also go the Hungarian shelf route. They go together quicky and are very solid. I have a set loaded with books and magazines as well as an extra deep “shelf” that I use as a computer desk.

  10. Kurt says:

    Whatever you use for shelves, here is a resource to calculate shelf sag that I have found useful:


  11. Jeff Ballard says:

    mcmaster carr .54 to 2.51 per shelf depending on size


  12. Gary Z says:

    Chuck, Try Harbor Freight and maybe one of the import joints down on Harry Hines. You might also look for a store going out of business and get some of their wall rail and brackets. BTW…What’s a Hungarian shelf?

  13. browndog77 says:

    Chuck- The fact that you are doing the entire wall makes the job a bit easier, in that your ends can be supported the full depth of the shelf. That takes a bunch of strain off whatever type of system you decide on If you put a partition in the middle of the run, the rest is real simple!

  14. John says:

    If you’re looking for cheap just screw horizontal 1x2s into the studs and drop the shelves on top of those. You’ll need vertical 1 x (depth of shelf) pieces every so often to prevent sagging, or just take a 2×2 and notch it for each shelf and push it on the front. If the shelves are 3/4 ply then a front support every 3′ (plus the ends) should be fine.

  15. Adam R says:

    Look for a Blockbuster that is closing. They are clearing out all the shelving in the stores. Some of it may work for your needs depending on the store layout.

  16. Gary Z says:

    Another place in town is CDC Surplus on Beltline in Richardson. This dude has some great stuff mainly for machining but you never know what might be there. Only take cash or check, no cards.

  17. Eric R says:

    Simple shelves and 2x supports are better then those crappy ass junk supports.

    Now just get out there and quit whining.
    You sound like an old lady.

    And at least paint it if it’s going to be in your house.

  18. Keith says:

    Look here in the 20+ quantity


    I’ve been happy with this company for bulk hardware.

  19. Ron says:

    Crawford Zee Shelf Bracket 12″ deep and ~$.98 in quantity or .33 a bracket from Ace for three shelves’s worth:
    Used them for garage shelves, quick and sturdy. 16″ centers are good for almost zero sag with pine (cheap)

    That said, The Reader’s Digest book of home do-it-yourself projects ISBN 9780895778932 has a bookcase that is really quick to throw together. Quick rabbit down the back of the case for the luan back. Drill 3/4″ holes in a 1″ board then rip it for shelf brackets. Don’t bother with the case facing, the luan will hold it together. Get the lumber yard to do the ripping to save time. If you have kids let them paint the things, milk paint will give it an aged look.

  20. steven says:

    the hungarian option looks interesting to me, i just wonder if i have a wall that could use em.

  21. Mayur says:

    I can’t even remember how I got here. I think it was either Lifehacker or .. o ya, searching for a dremel jig. Anyways, go Hungarian shelf. Ya! Ya!

  22. Gerica says:

    I actually found few 2pk metal shelf brackets at dollar tree !! I also went to home depot bought a slab of wood and had them cut to the proper size for my shelves ! I ended up with about 24 shelves for about 20 bucks! All together my project will be finished for under 100 bucks!

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