HOWTO Make an upside-down bookshelf

Here's a nice gag for hanging an upside-down bookshelf on your wall -- the books are held in with elasticated strips of cloth:

The inverted bookshelf turns a bit of your living room upside down as it hangs all of the books from the bottom instead of supporting them from below. It's a satisfying optical trick and doesn't damage any of the books. In fact, you can take books in and out of it whenever you want.
/Inverted Bookshelf (via Neatorama)


  1. I was much more interested in the books on display than the shelf. Altered Carbon’s a great one. :)

  2. Use one of the invisibly-bracketed shelves from IKEA if you really want to see heads scratched.

    Bonus points if you use the shelf in the same room with the urinary tract wallpaper.

  3. Yeah, I’m liking the idea less for being a upside-down bookshelf and more of a double capacity bookshelf. Another perhaps crazier version would be to mount the shelves vertically using those previously mentioned invisibly bracketed shelves, with the attachment method hooked onto both sides. Then you could have one or two shelves per stud, should you need to hook into them, yet the books would appear to be entirely unsupported… and they would still be double capacity!

    Still, this is a fun twist on the ordinary bookshelf.

  4. i want to make a bookshelf that’s really thin, maybe transparent, that’s not deep enough to show if you put the standard book on it. then attach to cool book ends to the wall on either side. then cram it with books, so it looks like the pressure of the bookends are holding them in place.
    and maybe the book ends could be hands or something cool like that. or oppositely charged particles.

    but i like this idea, the upside down bookshelf, but wish it looked just a little better. i might do it. again, mostly for the double capacity. then maybe i’d finally get around to buying Little Brother…

  5. … the easiest way to get your instructible into BoingBoing is to take a picture with one of Cory’s books in it… ;)

  6. Double Capactity? Why not just mount a second shelf underneath it? Past a silly gag I don’t see this being very useful.

  7. I, like the previous commentors, lack whimsy and humour. I just had to log in and voice my disinterest in such a contraption. For shame Cory, thinking this is fun and wonderful.

  8. I for one think it’s a neat idea. But I’d be concerned about wear and tear on the books caused by repeatedly pulling them in and out of the the elastic straps.

  9. Awesome! I think it might be a good idea to also mount one or two brackets behind the books so you can’t see them but they still support the weight properly.

  10. In theory I like this idea if it could be used to allow books stored above and below the shelf and the brackets weren’t in the way of shelf space as well as being designed to be “invisible” to keep a clean look.


  11. “Is that a copy of Little Brother I see there in the middle? :)”

    …You mean rehtorB elttiL :-P

    “I don’t see an inverted bookshelf, I see a double capacity bookshelf”

    …Not necessarily. If you’ve got only one bookshelf, yes. If you’ve got two, you’ve got to space out the shelves vertically ~twice as much as before to account for the books in between the shelves. Ergo, if your space accommodates four shelves vertically, then the only real savings you get is in the number of holes in the wall for the brackets.

  12. I built a five metre long shelf about ten years ago as a frame made from battens covered top and bottom with fibreboard. It was built in the hallway where it was fitted as it was too big to build anywhere else and move in. I suspended it from the wall with the brackets inverted and on top like the one shown. I put my books on the top surface and the brackets disappear inbetween them. If people notice the shelf has no brackets, they usually can’t work out how it’s fixed.

  13. “doesn’t damage the books” is not correct. I’ve been a conservator for more than 15 years and I can tell you that this would definitely loosen the spine and several types of binding.

  14. Back in my college days (25 years ago +/-), it was a popular “prank” to turn someone’s room over – you got bonus points for turning the fish bowls over, attaching the bed to the ceiling, etc.

    Yes, it was an engineering school. ;^)

  15. “elasticated?” Really? I think you mean “elasticized,” no? The other day I read that someone and a friend had “conversated” about something. Sheesh!

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