Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How to build DIY wood picture ledges

I'm excited about this project folks! It was a quick and easy and one of my favorite DIYs in a long time. And yes...it was in the family room. I know you've seen a lot of it lately! I didn't plan to do this so soon, but I did. So I'm sharing. 😉

Here's where I left you last week and I mentioned that I had a plan for that wall under the stairs:
Open wood staircase

It needed something -- I've had an idea for some time to fill the space and went ahead with it over the weekend. It was just hours before we were expecting company -- I ran to the hardware store for my supplies and threw these together SUPER fast!

I've imagined some simple display shelves along this wall for months. I stuck some painter's tape to the wall to figure out the sizes of each one and get an idea of how it would look. I built three, four and five foot shelves for the wall. I wanted to go down low on the wall as much as possible because it just felt right visually to me. 

To build these you'll need three pieces of wood -- a 1x2, 1x3 and 1x4. You can also make it with a 1x4 on the bottom so it would be a bit deeper. I found the three inch to be fine but if you plan on leaning a bunch of frames I'd go with the four inch:
Easy tutorial for DIY picture frame ledges

I used wood screws from behind to secure the bottom piece to the back. Then I used my nail gun to secure the front trim to the shelf. 

I used wood glue on the front part along with the nails, but it's not really necessary. Just an extra precaution to make sure they don't budge when the frames push against them. But again, the nails would be just fine: 

How to make picture frame ledges

I stained them with the Minwax color Provincial because it works with our floors so well. I've used it on our butcher block island top and frames on various projects like this one

You can see here how they barely take up any space as far as the depth:
DIY picture frame ledges how-to

I marked where the studs were in the walls and then just screwed through the backs to hang them. I wasn't worried about the screws showing because I knew the frames would cover them. But if a couple show I'm not worried about it:
DIY picture frame ledges with pine

I got a few new frames from HomeGoods and used some I had. I printed out random photos from my phone on our printer at home. 

We absolutely LOVE it. My husband and son both came to me at different times saying how much they like it! When the men notice you know it's good! 😂 Shelves with leaning photos turned out to be a great in between -- not too busy because I kept the frames to the same shape and only two colors. But it fills in the space beautifully because I went low and filled the wall:
Pottery Barn picture ledges for a fraction of the price

It's nice to get your photos off the phone, right? I'm SO bad about that. I grabbed pics from recent trips and random snapshots and I love every single one! 

I especially love how they follow the angle of the stairs. It just makes it more visually appealing: 
Get the Pottery Barn look for way less!

We have plenty of space behind the sofas but this would also work great somewhere with less room just because they're not very deep at all. 

I'm so thrilled with these! I especially love that they were so inexpensive and quick. I made all three and had them hung in less than an hour. Now I'm thinking of where else I could add some! They would look great painted black or white too: 
Filling an odd wall space with DIY picture ledges

I spent $30-something on all three because I went with select pine (it doesn't have knots). If you used regular pine and don't mind a little more rustic look (or if you're painting!) you would spend maybe $20? Not even that probably. Not bad either way considering this one from Target is much smaller and priced at $13. And this four foot one from Pottery Barn is $129!! CHOKE. (Affiliate links.) 

I love when it comes together like it looks in my head! Always a bonus. Now, onto other spaces, I swear! :) 

Have you tried these simple DIY frame ledges? They give you that Pottery Barn look for way less. 

Check out more recent gallery wall ideas below: 
Gallery wall going down staircase

DIY wood stained wall with large frames

Photo wall around thermostat

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  1. What is your living room wall color? Looks great!

  2. Picture ledges are my new obsession! We've made 3 for our home, and even gifted a set to my mother in law. I love that you can change up the pictures and the frames and not worry about patching up the wall. Great job!

    1. Very good point and I love the idea of making them as gifts!

  3. They look fantastic. My daughter made some and said it was so easy.

  4. Too cute, Sarah!! You seriously inspire me - now I want a nail gun, ha ha!!

    1. The nail gun is by far my favorite tool. 👍🏻

  5. These look great and fill the wall perfectly. The space was just made for them!

  6. these look great! My next project. Thanks for sharing : )

  7. It looks beautiful. Of all the home bloggers I follow, I like your style the best - simple, elegant and classy.

  8. These are so perfect, Sarah! I may have the perfect place for a small set of these in MWA! ;-) Great post!

  9. Looks great! My dad made me some of these for my last house and I really miss them, so guess it's time I find a spot for some at the new place :)

  10. You are such an inspiration! I love how you just jump in and do the job. I'd be begging my husband for help.....time and time again! Lovely!

  11. These look great. I just love your living room.

  12. Love how these also tie in to the wood frames on your mirrors. You have such an amazing eye for details. You've got me thinking of a spot in my house for something similar. Thanks!

  13. Been following you a bit for 2 years when you taught me to make a tufted headboard. I'm doing this project on Monday!

  14. Looks absolutely fabulous - well done - looks super high end, whoo hoo for DIY!!!

  15. I’ve been wanting to do this! Thanks for the push. ;)
    How far apart did you space the shelves?

  16. I posted above that I was going to do this on the holiday weekend. Well, I started a week later than that, and then I lost some time trying to find a stain color that matched my floors. Ended up mixing two parts golden oak with one part traditional cherry to get the right look. Anyway, finally finished today! I did 3 42 inch shelves and 3 68 inch shelves on a long wall at the top of my stairs. Can't figure out how to post pics but it came out GREAT! Thanks for the idea and the tips! Oh, and it cost me about $170 to do all of the shelves, whereas I can't find them anywhere online for less than $450 plus shipping, and they wouldn't match my floors!

  17. Do we have to sand before staining?

    1. Just depends on your wood -- if it's really rough I'd give it a sanding. You can do a light sand after the coat of stain as well.


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