DIY Picture Ledge

July 5, 2016

Hello Friends it’s Madi! We have been busy bees at the Davis house over the past couple of months. Planning house projects for the summer and adopting a kitten has kept me from the world of blogging. But, I think we are finally out of our rut and getting started on our new list of projects!

One of the things that has been most difficult for me as far as decorating, has been deciding what to put on the walls in this house. I love for my decor to have significance, and to be honest, there are not that many significant framed pieces of art in my life. When we moved into our home about a year ago, we put up the same three prints that had been in our apartment. They were fine for a while, but the wall in our house was much more expansive and tall than the wall they had previously been on. So, on a whim, I took all of the prints down, and set about building a shelf. I figured that a shelf could hold more than just photos. It could help me display trinkets, maps, or any other meaningful piece that would fit. 

shelf close-up

Check out the before photo of our living room. We kind of transplanted our apartment decor until we could decide what we wanted to do with the space. We lived with it for a year, but it was just sort of…blah, and definitely needed lots of work!

living room

We decided to go with a picture ledge for our shelf of choice because we really wanted that little bit of extra assurance that items were less likely to come tumbling down on our heads (especially with a climbing kitten on the loose). These are such easy pieces to build! We were pleasantly surprised by what $12 in wood and a couple of hours could make. So, without further ado, here is how you can make your own picture ledges!


You will need:

2- 1″x4″ planks
1- 1″x2″ plank
Wood Glue
Finishing Nails
Torx Screws

It’s so simple! All 3 pieces of wood need to be cut to the same length, and that would be the size of your shelf. Our wall is pretty big, so we went with two shelves– one longer one to go on the bottom, and a smaller one to help fill space on top. 


Once your wood is cut and sanded, the building takes no time at all. We began by using wood glue to help secure the back and bottom pieces (the 1″x4″ planks). Clamp these two pieces together and let it set for a couple of hours. 



Next, use screws to attach the back and bottom pieces securely. The best advice I could offer for this step is to use Torx screws. The ease of using these cannot be overstated, and I highly recommend them for a variety of woodworking projects! They have great grip and you will never have another rounded out screw (at least we haven’t, thus far). 


Make sure you drill pilot holes first. This will help you keep things straight and reduce the chances that the wood will split. We put screws every 10 inches or so, to make sure that the shelf could support whatever we set on it.


Next, you will add the small front piece. Repeat the wood glue and clamping step just like before, but make sure you let the wood glue get nice and dry. When it’s sturdy, add some finishing nails every 8 inches or so. There are ways that you can attach this front piece without using the finishing nails, but we really liked the rustic look that those tiny nails gave it. You have to look very closely to notice them anyway.


Lastly, stain your shelf. My favorite stain in the world is Dark Walnut. I use some variation of it on just about everything. I like that it is warm, but has some gray undertones in certain lighting. 


Once your stain is dry, you’re ready to hang your shelves! We hung ours by using the Torx screws to attach them directly to the wall. Just make sure that you are drilling into a stud, and your shelf will be super sturdy! 


I love that these shelves give us the opportunity to switch out decor seasonally. It just doesn’t feel quite as permanent as a collection of wall art, and it adds some dimension to an otherwise boring wall. We are still not quite finished with our living room, but the shelves were a great start! 


Happy Building!


No Comments

Leave a Reply