Well friends, our family kicked off July with a bang…literally! While we were eating dinner, the black shelf in the breakfast nook that holds a large portion of my ironstone and china collection fell off the wall with no warning!
The shelf had been hanging for three years and has not moved an inch. Even though both of my sons were sitting directly under the shelf on the breakfast nook benches, neither one of them were hurt. Shattered pieces of ironstone were all over the benches, floor and table but somehow none of us got scratched and even our plates were free of shards and we were able to eat it at least! It was already getting dark outside but I snapped a picture to give you a better idea of what happened.
As you can see in this picture from late winter, with how many pieces were on the shelf and how close the shelf is to the benches and table, it is a miracle that not a single dish or shard hit anyone! None of the heavy platters broke, but I shutter to think about one of them hitting my sons, which could have easily chipped or broken one of their bones or even caused a concussion!
I did have several ironstone “casualties” but truthfully, I was so grateful that my sons weren’t hurt that I really wasn’t that upset about the ironstone. I lost a couple of mugs, a bowl, a gravy boat and a few pieces got chipped but are salvageable (after all, chips, cracks, and crazing never stopped me from buying ironstone before!) Still, I don’t want to go through this ever again so now I am going to be checking everything I have hanging on the walls around the house to make sure it is all secure.
How To Safely Hang Heavy Items
Everyone probably knows how to hang a picture hook but now I realize the importance of taking extra care when choosing the appropriate hooks and screws for hanging different objects. The first step is measuring correctly and making sure the screws are nails will be anchored into a stud or solid wall. When hanging a shelf or mirror, of course it is important to measure to be sure the nail or screw holes are in the right spot. We used blue painter’s tape method to measure the distance on of the hooks on the back of the shelf, then placed the tape on the wall and drilled where we had marked. You can also use an old fashioned level or a laser level such as the Best Green Laser Level.
This method works well but it if it’s a big job you might want to measure twice and create a diagram or blueprint, that is to scale.
Even though the shelf had not pulled out of the wall or moved at all and the wall screws and anchors we used were the right strength for the weight of the shelf and ironstone, we discovered that one of the eye hooks and screws on the back of the shelf had come loose and that is what caused the shelf to fall. The eye hook wasn’t strong enough or large enough to accommodate the weight. We went to Lowes late last night and my husband purchased D hooks similar to the picture above. The D hooks screw deep into the shelf and are sturdy enough to hold the weight.
To be on the safe side, I am going to use 12-16 lb command strips to attach the platters to the wall instead of relying on the plate grooves on the shelves to hold them up.
While most people take precautions to avoid those big disasters that can do damage to your home such as fire, water damage, a flooded home, (or any number of disasters that could end up causing you to take a hit on your home insurance) the shelf falling was definitely an eye opener about safety. Now I will be even more cautious about hanging heavy mirrors and shelves with appropriate hangers, wall anchors, etc. There are also plenty of tutorials on youtube explaining how to hang items properly.
If you have any little ones it is also a good idea to bolt or attach free standing dressers, china cabinets or bookcases to the wall so they can’t pull them over.
The shelf is now hanging securely, and I was able to put things back in place without too much trouble. I had so many pieces up there I am not sure anyone other than me will notice anything is missing! I certainly am a little bummed about the broken pieces but I am not really upset. I had been wanting to take everything down to clean each piece and wipe down the shelves anyway so I made the best of a bad situation and checked another item off my to-do list. I am truly thankful no one was hurt, and I definitely learned a lesson about safely hanging shelves and pictures that will hopefully prevent anything like this from happening in the future.
This is a post I never imagined I would have to write, but I wanted to share in case it would help someone. If you have heavy shelves, mirrors or artwork in your home be sure that they are very well secured even if they have been hanging for years. As the old adage goes, “better to be safe than sorry!”
Thanks for visiting today!