Mounting hardware for under shelf lighting.
August 2, 2019 10:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm setting up a new, hopefully more attractive, shelf system for my Haworthia collection and am struggling with mounting my lights under my new shelves. I'm looking for advice on mounting solutions that retain the ability to take the light fixtures down when needed. Ideally some sort of clip in, pop out hardware that I can attach to each piece.

I am using two foot long lithonia grow lights (they are what I have been using) and they have two mounting options. One is an angled V wire that hangs about 2.5 to 3 inches below the shelf and uses a hook. This is what I have used in the past and it works but it looks kind of fugly (my shelves are in my very limited living space). The other option lets you have the light more flush to the underside of the shelf. It's keyhole type slots on the top of the light housing which you can fit the round part of the hole over a 'hanging' screw head and then slide sideways into a slot that is narrower than the screw head. Great in theory but terrible in practice because the groove is not long enough and the lights are easily and disastrously dislodged by the slightest of touches.

I've tried augmenting it with the clear 3M double sided mounting tape (it's what I had handy - a leftover from some other DIY) but it doesn't hold very well because the light's heat seems to interfere with the glue keeping its hold. I'm going to try the opaque mounting tape (more appropriate for the shelf material) but I was also thinking there must be some sort of hardware solution to this kind of problem where I could permanently attach some sort of clip/mount to both the shelf and the light and have them attach and detach in a click in fashion but I have no clue what to search for.

(If all else fails I may try velcro tape with some super glue augmentation but I'd like something more pleasing and less ugly).
posted by srboisvert to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I am understanding the keyhole slot issue correctly, how about pushing the light all the way to one side so the keyhole is fully engaged, then taking a small piece of quarter round molding (perhaps some nice hardwood?), butting it up against the edge of the lamp housing and screwing that in place with a couple of tiny screws. It would prevent the light from sliding sideways and disengaging from the slot. You could add another non-functional piece on the other side to make it look symmetrical.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I use 3m picture mounting strips for some of my undercabinet lighting. My lights don't really get hot, though, so I don't know if that problem would persist.

Is the lamp housing metal, and if so is it magnetic? I wonder if a couple rare earth magnets glued to the underside of the shelf would work.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:27 AM on August 2, 2019

Have you tried tightening the screws that the keyholes go into? You may be able to get it to have more tension. It will be harder to get on, but also to get off.
posted by advicepig at 10:32 AM on August 2, 2019

A lovely MS paint illustration of what I had in mind
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 10:57 AM on August 2, 2019

Part of the issue is that it is a real pain to even get the keyhole slots to work since they are not visible when you are mounting and there is hardware inside the light that interferes a bit (cheap tat that they are). Like a 5 to 10 minute struggle so I want something easier. The magnet idea is intriguing as the housing is metal. I don't really want to butt the lights and screw them in because I want it to be easy'ish when I need to swap bulbs in and out, replace the fixtures and or disassemble everything (probably moving in 2 months cause the rent just got too damn high - 13% increase!)

At the moment I've added having them tied them up with fishing line as an ugly but interim solution so they don't fall.

I was really hoping there was some sort of mounting hardware similar to these vertical mounts with a click in/out feature except for horizontal use out there.

But I am probably going to try the magnets because I think it will fit the requirements and magnets are just really neato.
posted by srboisvert at 12:24 PM on August 2, 2019

In the end the magnets were fun but didn't work (but will be useful for other things). The problem wasn't the magnetism but that the magnets had to be secured to wood shelves. Glue, 3M tape...none of it held for longer than a day or two under the conditions of light heat during the day and off cool at night.

Ultimately, I bodged together a solution using mirror clamps with much longer screws one for each end of the lamp.

I also bought a LED version of the 2 foot lithonia lamp that much more practically had the ability to be taken apart so you could mount the frame with screws from inside the assembly and then attach the light and cover. More expensive upfront but maybe better in the long run due the LEDs purported longevity, better light spectrum, lower electrical demand and reduced heat.
posted by srboisvert at 2:58 PM on August 20, 2019

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