Holes & Hanson

In the words of the Hanson, mmmbopdopoohdoooop.  That is what I had to sing during this project…the project known as THE SCARIEST THING EVER.  For some reason, beatboxing usually calms me down during stressful times…but this was beyond stress…this was fear…black and raw and bottomless fear that can only come from risking true love.  And instead of terrible beatboxing (which usually makes me seem way cooler than I actually am), my mouth produced sounds that are only found on the cd of the prepubescent boys with Farrah hair…and I’m not talking Jonas brothers.  You understand the significance of my pain now. 

It all started when we were planning to install the kitchen shelves.  It meant drilling into my beautiful tile backsplash.  In the words of Gollum…my precious.  Even during the planning stage, I was sweating through my spanx.  You already know how we finished the shelves (with that lovely subtle whitewash effect) but this post is about how we attached them to the wall.    

The first thing we did was locate where we wanted the shelves.  I wanted the bottom of the bottom shelf to align with the bottom of the cabinet flanking the kitchen window…I just eyeballed it….so that made that easy.  We also wanted the corbels center to be about five to six inches from the edge of the board.  We marked both things with tape.  We also marked the studs…just to be sure that we weren’t gonna hit something unexpectedly.

Here’s my method for sliding brackets (like the ones that are on the backs of the corbels.  I put one long piece of tape directly down the center sticky side up.  Then I put a piece of Frog Tape sticky side down right over the location of the sliding bracket. 

Using a pencil, just rub the tip over the bracket holes so that you can see the exact location of the bracket on the tape.

Then stuff that pencil in the hole like a…okay…that joke was too much for a public blog.  nevermind.  let’s just say the words ‘conjugal visit’ was included. 

The next thing you are gonna do is line up the vertical tape on the wall with the vertical tape on your corbel and firmly press the wood into place.

The tape of the corbel should stick to the wall…marking your future holes EXACTLY.

We double checked the levelness and then whipped out this scary dude.  Yes, that is our drill equipped with a masonry bit.  EEEK!  MMMBOP!

I barely could take this photo.  Seriously. 

It was like a cervical exam…you are just thankful when it is over. 

Okay.  Now if you are a long time reader you know that my darling boyfriend is ridiculously obsessed with securing things to the wall.  It’s a sickness.  Corkboards bother him because all that paper is only secured with a thumbtack and everyone knows that is really not secure at all.  He wants everything to hold his weight.  I’m not kidding.  One time I got reemed because I installed a toilet paper holder with those little plastic anchors in the wall (the ones THAT CAME WITH THE TOILET PAPER HOLDER!)…apparently that is a danger to mankind.  So now we only use these heavy duty toggle bolts.

Basically you slide this contraption into the hole – metal side first.  The metal thing is flat because those plastic sticks are uneven upon insertion.

Then once the metal is all the way in the hole, you slide the plastic sticks till they are even and it makes the metal piece parallel with the wall.  Then you slide the plastic ring all the way down to the hole.

You push the ring into the hole and pull the plastic sticks firmly so that the wall is sandwiched between the metal piece and the plastic ring.  This is the “locking” of the bolt.

Then you bend the plastic sticks till they snap off…leaving you with one anchor that could hold a grown man.

Screw like normal.  (that’s what he said…never)

We slid our corbels on and badabingbadaboom…

double check for levelness….SUCCESS! 

The upper shelves were decided upon so that the space above the lower and upper shelf would be the same. 

After we had the toggle bolts in place (and Jeremy tested them for sturdiness.  This includes violently shaking them to see if they move.  Not kidding.) we went to work painting the corbels and whitewashing the shelves.  You can see the difference in finish here…

The wall was already clean and had the screws in place.  It’s important that the screws be just long enough to hold the corbels sturdy without anything extra. 

Of course, my sturdy-lovin’ husband could not just let those 265lb weight limit screws do all the work.  He added ‘insurance’ by putting some construction adhesive on the backs of each corbel too.

To ensure that each shelf stayed in place, he then drove a screw through the top of the shelf and into the corbels.  Sorry…don’t have a picture of this one.  My Hanson days were over and I was probably nursing the baby or something important like that.  I added a little white caulk over each screw head though…just to hide it if my plethora of shelf junk didn’t do the job. 

So there you have it…shelf installation…a minor breakdown about potentially screwing up the tile…and a song reference that lives in my secret hall of shame with my memorization of Vanilla Ice, Baby Got Back and Tiffany.  Now it’s ready for this post to mmmstop.  (sorry – had to!)

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.



  1. Annie says

    Hi Katie! Love reading your blog and stealing your ideas… Can’t wait to do the bedroom curtain wall in our new house in May! Just one thing (it’s possible that it’s my iPad’s fault)- it often seems that the pictures that you’re describing are not the pictures shown. For instance, there are pics of Will helping with a table in this one… Or the newest island one doesn’t show all the right pictures it seems… Just me? Is there an issue?? I just want to make sure I’m not missing out!!! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

    • says

      Sometimes it is Photobucket. They host my photos and sometimes their servers are weird and deliver the wrong photo for the link. Sorry…I have checked with them and there isn’t anything I can do!
      xo – kb

  2. says

    Gorgeous!!! My hubby and I basically have panic attacks at the thought of hanging frames on our walls, so I can’t imagine the fear of drilling into brand new tile backsplash, but it seems the risk was well worth the reward in this case! I love your shelf junk, too! ;)

  3. MichelleLG says

    Heeeeeello Miss Katie. So I have an embarrassing number of corbel + shelf questions.

    well, first: love you, love your kitchen, love you blog and your two dollbaby boys, obvi. :)

    ok, now on to the question-asking. :)

    I’m looking to put a shelf under where we hand our TV (ala: http://pinterest.com/pin/88875792617855515/)

    so i’m wondering, what are the dimensions of your corbels and shelves?
    and how much corbel depth (or forward projection) does one need to support a shelf of, say 10″ (the thing has to hold our DVD player, and we need a bit of wiggle room for chords)
    (I’m trying to tell from your pics what the depth of your shelves are compared with the depth of the corbels… are they maybe half as deep as the shelf?)

    and with the toggle bolt, its seems like you dont drill into the studs, is that right? does mr. boyfriend man think i could do this with plaster? (i should probably just go to a store and read the packaging…but i’m LAZY.. and kind of scared- hanging things on plaster is always an adventure)

    last question: the corbels from my inspiration pic are pretty chunky, so do you think i’d need large ones like that to balance out the TV above, or do you think it would it just depend on how i style the shelves? thoughts?

    ok, that might be all my Qs for now. thank you so much for letting me bombard you! and tap the depth of your DIY goddessness. :) :)

    • says

      I think that in order for it to be best, you’d definitely need to have the shelf at least half supported…so if your shelf is 10″ deep, then your corbel should be at least 5″ deep. Does that make any sense? And yes, with the toggle bolts you do not drill into the stud. If your placement would put your screw into a stud, you should do that! Studs are definitely preferable to any other support. And I definitely think styling can do a lot so the size could be nice but not completely necessary!
      xo – kb

      • Racheal says

        Hi Katie,

        Thanks for that :-) i see they have them in stock but they won’t ship international and although i have myus.com for postage they will not take any of my credit cards :-( I guess i will just have to add it to my wishlist and hope someone sells one on Ebay one day :-)

  4. kate says

    hi! we are using your kitchen as inspo on our upcoming remodel (demo starts tomorrow)! We love the idea of the shelves on backsplash – but wondering, did you attach the corbels to the tile first…then the shelf to the corbels? If so, why did you do it that way rather than assembling corbel/shelf and then attaching? Don’t want to screw this up…ha! Thanks!!!

    • says

      I guess you could technically do it in either order. We did it because corbels with this sort of hanging hardware on the back are hard to push down simultaneously and get a super tight fit so if you get that screw at just the right length, you will want to remove it and doing so with an attached shelf could be tricky.
      xo – kb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *