Hanging a wall shelf makes use of vertical space in your home. Wall shelves are a great option if you're low on floor space or live in a small apartment or house. The tools you'll need to hang a shelf depends on the type of wall you have. You'll need the appropriate anchors so that the shelf stays securely attached to the wall even after you put weight on it.
You should be able to put up the shelf within an hour. It should take you no more than an afternoon to hang several shelves on the wall. Make sure you have a level so that the shelves are even, unless you're going for the slightly slanted shelf look. You'll also need a drill and the right size drill bits as well as the appropriate fasteners and screws.
If you have drywall, try to hang the shelf so that the mounting hardware will go through the wooden studs behind the wall. Since it's not always possible to line up the shelves' hardware with the studs, you may need to use anchors. If the shelf will hold less than 25 pounds, use plastic screw-in anchors. If you want the shelf to hold over 25 pounds, look for toggle or molly bolts to prevent the shelf from ripping off the wall.
Plaster walls require different mounting hardware than drywall. While a plastic sleeve anchor is usually not strong enough to support a shelf in drywall, it should hold up to 25 pounds in a plaster wall. For a heavier load, try using a toggle bolt. A molly bolt may also hold a heavy shelf on a plaster wall.
Place the shelf against the wall. Put the level on the shelf and adjust the height until the bubble is centered in the level and the shelf is the height you want. Use a pencil to mark the spots on the wall where you will need to drill the holes.
Use a drill bit that matches the size of the anchor you're using. A drill bit that is too large will simply make a hole that the anchor falls out of. It will be difficult to squeeze the anchor into a hole made by a too-small drill bit. Slide the anchor into the hole. If you're using a plastic sleeve or screw-in anchor, tap it all the way into the hole with a hammer.
If you're using a toggle or molly bolt, slide the flange into the hole, then push the plastic ring up against the wall. You'll have two plastic strips sticking out of the wall. Break those off.
Position the shelf against the anchored holes, then push a screw into each hole. Make sure the screws are the correct size for the anchors you used. Tighten the screws with a drill and a screwdriver bit or with a screwdriver. Using a drill will take much less time and will be easier on your hands. Keep tightening the screw until it is flush with the wall. Don't tighten so much that the head of the screw pushes into the wall.