What is an Invisible Bookshelf?

Tara Barnett

An invisible bookshelf is a shelf that is hidden in a stack of books, creating the illusion that the books are floating on the wall. This type of shelf can be made in several designs, some involving destruction of a book. It is possible to buy an invisible bookshelf, but many people make this type of shelf at home. Given the way in which weight is distributed on this shelf, it is important to secure the shelf to a stud or otherwise reinforce the bracket.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The design of an invisible bookshelf typically involves a single L-shaped bracket that is either screwed directly into a book, thereby destroying that book, or that somehow clips around the bottom book in order to keep it in place. Additional books can then be placed on top of the bottom book, further hiding the bracket that is holding the books up. On this type of bookshelf, books must be stacked one on top of the other, usually with the largest book on the bottom. This can make it difficult to keep books organized if someone has many books, so people usually use this type of shelf for small stacks of books that do not need to be moved frequently.

When the bookshelf clips around the bottom book, it is usually made with a flared base in order to prevent damage to the book. This flat, flared section is usually inserted between the bottom cover and the pages of the book. The shelf must also have a smaller clip below the flared section in order to prevent the bottom cover from hanging down. Using this design, an invisible bookshelf can often support a large number of books without damaging any of them.

The other popular invisible bookshelf design, which is usually cheaper, involves taking a standard shelf bracket and securing it directly to a large book that one no longer wishes to read. Using a knife, a person must carve out a section of the book and a notch in the side of the book to completely hide the bracket. This method, while destroying a book, can often be stronger and more secure than methods that do not damage the book.

When putting up books using this design, a person must be careful to place the shelf on a stud in the wall. Significant amounts of weight are held against the wall without spreading out the weight very much in this design, which means that the shelf may come off the wall if it is not properly secured. This can be dangerous because of falling books, but it can also destroy a wall.

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