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Acrylic Shelves: The Ultimate FAQ Guide
In this guide, you will find all information you’re looking for about acrylic shelves.
From design, specifications, benefits, types or surface finish options – you will find everything you’re looking right here.
Keep reading to learn more.
- What are Acrylic Shelves?
- Where are Acrylic Shelves Used?
- How is Acrylic Shelves Compared to Those of Glass?
- What are the Benefits of Having Acrylic Shelves?
- What are the Available Types of Acrylic Shelves?
- How can I Install Acrylic Shelves?
- What are Acrylic Single Shelves?
- What are Double Acrylic Shelves?
- What are Acrylic Shelves Used for?
- How Durable are Acrylic Shelves?
- What Kind of Drill Bits do I Need for My Acrylic Shelf?
- How Can I Drill Acrylic Shelves Without Breaking Them?
- How Much Weight Can Acrylic Shelves Hold?
- How Do I clean My Acrylic Shelves?
- Which is the Best Way to Repair Cracks on Acrylic Shelves?
- In what ways Can I Maintain My Acrylic Shelves?
- How do I Cut Acrylic Shelves Before Installation?
- How do I Bend My Acrylic Shelves?
- Are Acrylic Shelves Expensive?
- What are the Best Adhesives for Acrylic Shelves?
- How do I Install Floating Acrylic Shelves Without Drilling?
- How can I use Floating Acrylic Shelves for Indoor Plants?
- How do I Hang Acrylic Shelves Using Wall Anchors?
- How High can I Put my Acrylic Shelves?
- How Transparent Are Acrylic Shelves?
- What are the Colors Available for Acrylic Shelves?
- How is Acrylic Shelves Compared to Those of Glass?
- How can I Smoothen the Edges of Acrylic Shelves?
- Can I Paint Acrylic Shelves to Match the Room?
- Can I Use Acrylic Shelves for My Children?
- Can Acrylic Shelves Be Used in the Kitchen?
- Can Acrylic Shelves Hold Hot Contents?
- Does Acrylic Shelves Turn Yellow Over Time?
- How Can I Remove the Yellow Color on my Acrylic Shelves?
What are Acrylic Shelves?
Acrylic shelves are horizontal planes that are flat.
Acrylic shelves are raised from the ground and can be supported using brackets, pillars or columns.
Acrylic shelves can be fixed on the wall or any other vertical surface can be supported from the ceiling.
It can also be part of furniture like headboards, cabinets, entertainment centre, bookcase and many more.
The length of acrylic shelves is dependent on the amount of space available and the weight of the goods it will be expected to carry.
Where are Acrylic Shelves Used?
Acrylic shelves are used in many different areas.
They can be used in a bookshop to hold books for sale.
This way they are clearly visible and their uniform surface allows for easy arrangement of books.
If you have a library, acrylic shelves can also come in handy in making the appearance of the room look fancy and classy.
You can also use acrylic shelves in your business to attain the transparent display required to give clients a view of what you have without touching.
There are many areas where acrylic shelves can be used.
Getting creative is one way of expanding the usage of acrylic shelves.
They can be used almost anywhere as long as you install them properly and follow the manufacturer’s guide on installation, usage and maintenance.
acrylic shelf bookcase
How is Acrylic Shelves Compared to Those of Glass?
When torn in between acrylic shelves and glass shelves, there is no doubt that acrylic shelves surpass glass by far.
A lot of things contribute to this. They include:
Acrylic shelves are much lighter than those made of glass. Suspending becomes easy and can hold more weight.
Resistance to Impact
Despite being lighter than glass, acrylic shelves are much stronger than glass shelves.
This increases its resistance to strokes on a range of 10 to 20 times.
Glass shelves are much harder when it comes to scratches.
However, any scratch on the glass will mean a complete replacement.
On the other hand, acrylic shelves have repairable scratches.
A scratch on an acrylic shelf does not mean replacing the entire shelf.
To prevent scratches, acrylic shelves come with an anti-scratch layer to protect the shelves from scratch.
Processing glass during installation can be tedious.
Sawing, bending and milling of acrylic shelves are super easy compared to glass.
There are a lot more benefits that are available when working with acrylic shelves as compared to glass shelves.
What are the Benefits of Having Acrylic Shelves?
Some of the benefits of having acrylic shelves include their beautiful look.
As compared to the common wood and metal, acrylic shelves have come to offer a unique class of style.
Its appearance is attractive.
It is easy to work with especially during installation.
When looking for an expensive look to upgrade the look of your room, store or shop, acrylic shelves are the way to go.
Acrylic shelves can serve you for long, it is durable considering the risks involved such as breakage and rusting and others are not things to worry about.
What are the Available Types of Acrylic Shelves?
There are two types of acrylic shelves.
a) Single acrylic shelves
b) Double acrylic shelves
types of acrylic shelves
How can I Install Acrylic Shelves?
To install acrylic shelves, you will require the following materials:
- ¾” Cut to size acrylic sheet
- Four brackets per shelf (Right-angled)
- Spray paint preferably Gold
- Drill, level and drill bits of various sizes
Start by marking the protective paper on the acrylic sheet.
This is where the bracket holes will be drilled.
If you are installing on the wall, fix the brackets together with the placement of studs on the wall frame.
If the installation is on the window, two brackets should be attached on either side of the shelf.
The marking should be clear and accurate.
Unlike wood, acrylic sheets have no chances for errors when drilling.
You only have to get it right when hitting with your drill bit.
Once you finish marking the holes you require with the brackets, place them in an open area or a room with proper ventilation on top of a cloth.
Using the gold spray paint, coat the brackets lightly.
Put your screws on a paper plate and coat them lightly with spray as well.
This will create colour uniformity with the brackets.
If you are coating with a different colour, use the same colour for screws as well.
Make sure the screws are shorter compared to the thickness of the acrylic sheet.
You may need to use drill bits of three different sizes to create the right hole size for the screws.
Start with the smallest one, go to the one matching the screws and lastly the one between the two.
While using the smallest drill bit, drill acrylic with precision perpendicularly through the middle of the hole marking.
Be steady no to allow the drill bit to “catch and pull” through the acrylic.
Prepare to pull back the drill bit out of the hole if you notice the grabbing.
Be keen not to drill through the acrylic shelf otherwise, you may have holes on top of the shelf after installation.
Also, note that the original drill bit is quite a bit smaller compared to the actual screw size that will attach the brackets.
Remember that both the acrylic bit and the acrylic can become pretty hot.
Make sure you frequently remove the drill bit while drilling.
Remove the acrylic shavings from the drill bit to maximize the effectiveness of drilling.
For the large drill bit, repeat the same process.
By now you will have all the holes drilled in from the underside of the acrylic shelves.
They should also be of the same size as your bracket screws.
The other side which is the top of the shelves will appear untouched.
Now you can take away the protective cover on the drilled side.
Hoping that the brackets re now dry together with the gold screws, attach them to the brackets.
With the brackets fixed on the shelves, mount them on the preferred location and ensure proper level.
Once levelled, mount the acrylic shelves using 2-1/2” screws.
Paint them if you need.
Now you can take away the protective cover on top of the acrylic shelves.
And the result is the gorgeous acrylic shelves you have made.
Proceed and place your items.
What are Acrylic Single Shelves?
Single acrylic shelves come in different sizes and take the “L” shape.
They can be fixed on the wall of any room whether at home, office or even the retail space.
Single acrylic shelves are used I instances where easy access for items is required, basically where placing and taking is recurrent.
acrylic single shelf
What are Double Acrylic Shelves?
Double acrylic shelves are trough-shaped.
It is a doubled single acrylic shelf.
It is used in holding items inside it why still giving the required access and visibility.
Double acrylic shelves give double storage space and are much safer for keeping fragile items like glass equipment.
double acrylic shelf
What are Acrylic Shelves Used for?
Acrylic shelves perform the functions of ordinary shelves made of wood or metal.
However, acrylic shelves offer more than just that.
They are used to hold spices, collectables, plants, smaller electronics, books, toiletries, pictures etc.
When a touch of class and posh are required more than just holding the valuables, acrylic shelves come much in handy.
They can magically change the surrounding.
They offer a transparent look that is so beautiful for a shop or bar.
They can also transform your home either in the library, sitting room or even in guest rooms to hold pictures, flowers etc.
If your bathroom needs an easy to clean place for holding toiletries, you should also think of utilizing the many advantages offered by acrylic shelves.
They are hard to break and can therefore hold much of the valuables you need to have inside.
How Durable are Acrylic Shelves?
Acrylic shelves can withstand the test of time.
They can remain intact for years are long as they are firmly installed on the wall.
You may not have to worry about the risks associated with glass or even wood.
It is easy to wipe off the water and is not affected by the waters especially if the shelves are installed in the kitchen to hold cutlery.
Acrylic shelves do not rust like metal shelves.
They are very easy to maintain.
Breakage should not be a worry.
Acrylic shelves can withstand the shocks associated with placing items on the shelves which may break glass shelves.
For acrylic shelves the situation is different. Such impact cannot break it and will remain intact just like before.
With acrylic shelves, replacement may not be something to think of every time.
What Kind of Drill Bits do I Need for My Acrylic Shelf?
Standard metal-working drill bits are used to drill acrylic shelves but with some modifications.
The standard drill bits for use in metal-working are designed to cut into metals aggressively as directed.
If used on acrylic shelves without modifying them, the bits may chip causing damage to the acrylic shelves.
You will need to regrind the standard drill bits for you to scrape through the acrylic shelves. Otherwise, you will gouge the acrylic shelves.
There are three steps to following order to modify a standard drill bit for use on acrylic shelves.
- The standard drill bits have their tip angles commonly at 118-130°.
They will need to be ground to 60-90°.
This is important as it will allow the bit to easily move in and out of the acrylic shelves without chipping.
Large angles are commonly known to cause cracks and blows out when the bit moves out of the acrylic shelves.
Mostly consider using a 90° angled-tip.
This generates much smaller chips easier to remove; it reduces melting and also improves the quality of the hole.
These bits are highly recommended for acrylic shelves.
For holes with a diameter of ½” and more, you can use a 60° tip.
- Grind the cutting edge “flat” to attain a 0-4° rake angle.
This way the acrylic shelves will be scraped and not gouged.
- Grind the surface at the back of the cutting edge away to attain clearance angles of between 12-15°.
This will help in reducing contact between metal and acrylic and therefore low heat build-up.
Most high-quality twist drill bits will require this modification.
type of drill to use
How Can I Drill Acrylic Shelves Without Breaking Them?
Acrylic shelves are expensive.
Careless drilling may damage the shelves which may cause losses.
To avoid this, you can follow the following simple steps:
a) Put on safety goggles.
Chips from acrylic shelves can fly off and result in a health hazard.
b) Prepare the drill bits you intend to use in drilling.
c) Make some tests with a small piece of acrylic sheet before drilling into the acrylic shelves. This is to avoid errors that may damage the acrylic shelves.
d) Put the acrylic shelves to be drilled on a scrap acrylic sheet or a Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF).
e) Clamp the sheets or MDF together on a secure surface.
Use the much-needed number of clamps to secure the acrylic shelves.
f) The hole to be drilled should not be on the edge as it may become easy for the acrylic shelves to chip off.
g) Turn on the drill
h) Start drilling slowly through the acrylic shelves.
You don’t have to punch acrylic shelves as it happens with metals.
i) Maintain a steady slow pace.
Stop to remove the shavings as and when they surround the drill bit to attain a clear view of whatever you are doing.
j) Try peck drilling if the acrylic shelves are made of thick sheets.
You drill slowly removing the shavings and giving the drill some cooling time.
This will prevent melting.
With the above steps, you will attain a perfectly drilled hole with no breakages.
How Much Weight Can Acrylic Shelves Hold?
Acrylic shelves can barely hold as much as you would prefer to have on them.
The challenge might be the supporting materials used to hold it in place.
For example, having a 30kg item on it cannot be an issue but the screws or the brackets may not be able to sustain it.
However, it is advisable only as much as ordinary shelves may hold.
This takes care of the wall, the brackets and the screws.
How Do I clean My Acrylic Shelves?
You have to be careful with what you use when cleaning acrylic shelves.
Harsh cleaners and solvents can easily damage them.
You can consider using a commercial plastic cleaner or even mild soap and water in removing dirt and debris on the acrylic shelves.
If you are going to use a cleaner, do it with a microfiber cloth material that will not scratch the surface.
Use kerosene or commercial grade hexane to remove tough grease, tar residue or oil.
Never attempt to use ammonia, carbon tetrachloride, acetone or gasoline as cleaning solutions on the acrylic shelves.
They can crack or give the acrylic shelves a frosted appearance on the surface.
Which is the Best Way to Repair Cracks on Acrylic Shelves?
Haziness, scratches and small cracks are easy to fix.
You can use car polish, automobile or even plastic polish wax with a clean microfiber cloth in buffing and removing scratches and haze.
If you realize that that the acrylic shelves are still hazy, sand carefully using different grits then a more abrasive polish.
You can also drill a hole on both sides of the crack.
For smaller cracks, you can use a 1/8″ drill bit.
Fill the crack with a silicone sealant and leave it to dry.
This restores the appearance and integrity of the acrylic shelves.
In what ways Can I Maintain My Acrylic Shelves?
You must know how to maintain acrylic shelves.
This helps in extending its lifespan and outlasts other materials.
Since it is susceptible to some cleaners and hazards, proper cleaning with the recommended stuff is important.
Acrylic shelves are conductors of electricity.
Static electric charges attract dirt and debris on the air and cause build-up.
To reduce this build-up, always use an anti-static cleaner when cleaning the acrylic shelves.
This way, the acrylic shelves surfaces are neutralized
To reduce the static, shelves should be cleaned regularly.
This is to remove dust and debris. Any cracks and scratches should be repaired as and when they appear.
How do I Cut Acrylic Shelves Before Installation?
You can cut acrylic shelves in different ways.
This is done either using a hand saw, scoring knife, jigsaw, band saw or a laser.
One of the easiest ways to cut acrylic shelves is using a scoring knife.
When using a scoring knife;
- Mark the acrylic shelves in the areas you need to cut.
- Cut a small narrow groove using a scoring knife on the acrylic shelves.
- Scoring will only work acrylic shelves of 6.35mm or less
- Clamp the acrylic shelves to gain firmness
- You can then bend the hanging section in a quick and even motion
- As the shelf bends, the narrow groove will start deepening and the crack will propagate throughout the acrylic shelves.
- The required section will then have been cut off.
How do I Bend My Acrylic Shelves?
To bend acrylic shelves, you can use a heating gun or a strip heater.
When using a heating gun:
- Find the exact dimensions of the acrylic shelves you intend to bend
- Hold the acrylic shelves between two pieces of wood and clamp them all together.
- Set the heat gun ready for bending the acrylic shelves
- Have a spare piece of wood to help you in pushing the acrylic shelves back and down as you aim the gun on the acrylic shelves.
- The pushing pressure should be even all through the process
- Slowly move the heat gun from side to side while pushing the acrylic shelves down and back
- Initially, the acrylic shelves will bend slowly, you have to be patient as you take your time to bend it slowly without cracking it.
- You can also use a blow dryer in case the heat gun is not available.
Are Acrylic Shelves Expensive?
Acrylic shelves are not expensive compared to the value they bring.
The initial cost may be high but compared to other materials, its maintenance is cheap.
It may not require replacement due to frequent breakages.
Although glass offers an alternative to acrylic shelves, its maintenance costs may be high.
However looking at the initial costs of purchase, acrylic shelves will require a good investment and that can sustain you for a lifetime.
You will only need simple maintenance practices to keep it looking good.
What are the Best Adhesives for Acrylic Shelves?
The type of adhesive to use will depend on different situations and materials.
The type of glue that will work for the acrylic to acrylic bonding may not necessarily work for bonding acrylic to plastic.
The most common however is Weld-On 4 and is readily available on Amazon.
The good thing is that this will come with an applicator bottle and needle.
It is however important that you hear from your manufacturer if possible to offer expert advice.
How do I Install Floating Acrylic Shelves Without Drilling?
To install floating shelves without drilling, you will not an alternative to screws and in this case, is glue.
You will need glue that sticks well on the acrylic shelves as well as the surface of the wall you will put the acrylic shelves on.
Start by cleaning both surfaces.
Using fine sandpaper, scrub the surface of the acrylic shelves onto which glue will be applied.
This will create a more adhesive surface.
Apply glue on both surfaces and give the glue the recommended time to develop the stickiness.
Join the two surfaces gently and hold the acrylic shelves until it is firmly stuck.
This kind of floating shelves may not hold much weight and you may need to be careful with what to place on it.
How can I use Floating Acrylic Shelves for Indoor Plants?
For indoor pant obsessives, using acrylic shelves for flower displays is the best look you might have.
The transparent nature of acrylic shelves brings out the look of a floating plant on the window.
This is one of a kind way to bring out the best look by having floating hanging off the window frame top.
Some acrylic shelves can support up to 12 pots of plants.
Your mini hanging garden can contain anything from flowers, herbs, succulents or just anything that may fit your windowsill garden.
The acrylic shelves can be supported by almost invisible small metallic cables.
They are very light and cannot damage the window frame top.
acrylic window shelf for plants
How do I Hang Acrylic Shelves Using Wall Anchors?
Start by marking the edges where the acrylic shelves will be hanged.
Mark the anchor positions.
Mark the spacing between the hanger brackets.
The first hanger bracket must be perfectly spaced in relation to the first one.
On the back of the acrylic shelves, take the measurements between the hanger brackets.
Transfer this measurement to the wall.
Drill a clean and well-placed hole in each of the wall anchor location markings on the wall.
Insert the anchor in each hole and hit lightly with a hammer.
Tighten the screws fully.
Clean the wall from the drilling and erase the pencil marks on the wall.
You can then hang the acrylic shelves in line with the hole brackets on each hanger screw.
Slide the acrylic shelves down to fit the brackets tightly on top of the screws.
The acrylic shelves can now be used.
How High can I Put my Acrylic Shelves?
The height of acrylic shelves should be such that you do not struggle to reach them.
Putting and removing items should be super easy.
For acrylic shelves that hold items required one minute to another, the height should be somewhere around your head.
This provides a good view and ease of access and avoids falling of objects trying to reach them.
For one-time items like framed photos, the height can be as high as it would be attractive.
This is because although you may need to step on a raised object to reach it, it may be only once in a while.
How Transparent Are Acrylic Shelves?
Acrylic shelves are as clear as glass.
This is especially so when it is still new.
Over time it may start losing clarity due to many factors such as scratches and too much heat from the sun.
This property has made the two be used interchangeably.
When transparent material with high impact resistance is required, people will often choose to use acrylic shelves.
The clarity of acrylic shelves couple with some of its features have made it common in many shops and stores as it reduces the maintenance required on glass shelves.
transparent acrylic shelf
What are the Colors Available for Acrylic Shelves?
There are many colors for acrylic shelves.
Basically for any application.
They mainly come in primary colours such as red, green, blue, yellow etc.
Some manufacturers can offer almost any colours that you need especially if the volumes make economic sense.
But you can always be sure that most of the fast-moving colours are available.
yellow neon acrylic shelf
How is Acrylic Shelves Compared to Those of Glass?
Many properties distinguish acrylic shelves from glass shelves.
These properties are:
- Weight-Acrylic shelves are much lighter than glass approximately by half.
- Resistance to impact- By far acrylic shelves is very strong compared to glass shelves.
It is resistant to strokes 10 to 20 times.
When there is shattering in acrylic shelves, it happens in large blunt pieces.
This is not the same with glass which may shatter into very small and sharp pieces that may be dangerous.
The low weight of acrylic shelves makes it even safer.
- Insulation-Acrylic shelves are better insulators compared to glass.
- Machining-Glass cannot be altered easily for use.
Acrylic shelves on the other end may be bent and drilled through easily.
- Resistance to scratches- Glass shelves are harder to scratch.
Acrylic shelves can also be supplied with a coating to prevent scratching (hard coating).
This provides a protective layer from scratches.
Small scratches can also be polished on acrylic shelves. You may have to replace glass if it gets scratched.
- Light transmission-Acrylic shelves have 92% light transmission while glass shelves have 90%
- Ultra-violet light- Standard Acrylic shelves will allow UV rays to pass through.
They can also come with a layer of UV rays filter if there is a need to block them.
How can I Smoothen the Edges of Acrylic Shelves?
You can smoothen the edges of acrylic shelves to reduce the sharpness that may otherwise prove to be harmful.
To do this, you can use sandpaper.
This process may be time-consuming but it is worth the time.
You will need more than one sandpaper.
Start, sand the edges of the acrylic shelves with coarse sandpaper as you change to a finer and finer one.
The coarseness is categorized by its grit.
Finer papers have higher grit. Start with a grit of more at least 180.
This is the standard smooth for smoothing out edges and surfaces of wood.
Once the edges are levelled and smooth as you want, you can now move to 320/360 grit.
This is extra fine and is used to polish wood when finishing off.
Move on to a final time 600 grit which is super fine.
If you do this correctly, the edges of your acrylic shelves should have a smooth polish.
Some pastes, waxes and solutions may be used to give the edges a bright finish similar to the acrylic surface but you may have to be extra careful when choosing which one to use.
Some of them are abrasive and if you use them, you might ruin all the work you have done to this stage.
Can I Paint Acrylic Shelves to Match the Room?
Yes, indeed you can. Painting acrylic shelves can be a very fantastic experience.
You can keep on correcting your mistakes easily.
This flexibility can however lead to abuse by trying to get it all perfect and you may never get to finish especially if you want to paint art on the acrylic shelves.
You can paint any colour you want to make your shelf as colourful as other elements in your room.
Can I Use Acrylic Shelves for My Children?
Acrylic shelves do not have an issue with off-gassing as long as it is used as recommended and in the ambient temperatures.
It has been classified by various quality controllers as non-hazardous.
You should therefore never have to worry about its applications especially when you need to have acrylic shelves near your kids.
It is very safe.
acrylic shelve bookcase for children
Can Acrylic Shelves Be Used in the Kitchen?
Acrylic shelves are simply non-toxic.
They will give your kitchen a perfectly smooth texture and a beautiful appearance to your kitchen.
The high-quality acrylic material will bring a perfect mirror-like taste that shatters resistant.
It does not crack easily.
The variety of colours gives room for your imagination.
Whatever feel you wish to achieve is achievable when using acrylic shelves in the kitchen.
acrylic kitchen cabinets
Can Acrylic Shelves Hold Hot Contents?
Acrylic shelves are thermoplastics to mean that they can get heated and cooled repeatedly without affecting their physical properties.
This makes them suitable for holding hot contents.
If you are using them in the kitchen or restaurant and you must put hot containers on the acrylic shelves, you may not have to worry much.
Does Acrylic Shelves Turn Yellow Over Time?
If no proper use and maintenance are observed, acrylic shelves just like other acrylic products may change in appearance.
If they are exposed to UV rays, they may start turning yellow but this may happen after a considerable time.
Some may turn yellow faster depending on the ingredients that the manufacturer used.
Most manufacturers will however coat their acrylic shelves with a top finishing coat that will block the UV rays preventing the acrylic shelves from turning yellow.
How Can I Remove the Yellow Color on my Acrylic Shelves?
Removing the yellow colouring on the acrylic shelves is not a tedious process.
Simply use a 40 volume peroxide.
Put it in a spray bottle and spray it onto a clean surface of the acrylic shelves.
Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse the shelves.
If need be, you can repeat the process.
At WeProFab, we help you get high quality and reliable acrylic shelves.
Over the years, we have supported OEM clients.
Contact us snow for all your acrylic shelves needs.