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Shelves Can Make It Or Break It - DIY Photo Ledge Shelf

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

Photo ledge shelves are a great way to showcase your favorite pieces of art whether they are pieces your children made, family photos, or a piece of art from your favorite artist. These shelves take up minimal space but make a big statement and can enhance or diminish the look of your art.

Photo ledge shelves can be displayed in a variety of ways and can have many different finishes to fit your design style. Check out some different ways to hang your completed photo ledge shelves here.

I made these shelves a few weeks back and had requests to share a “how-to” so here it goes. I apologize for any missing pictures in my steps. I tried to document most of it.

I knew I wanted two 8' shelves to fill my office wall. I was able to purchase the exact length at The Home Depot. However, the width was another story, so I purchased a thicker board and ripped it to my desired size using the table saw. *Note: this was personal preferences you can get the same effect using the boards in the size(s) they come.

Here is what I started with

2 - 1"x4"x8' pine boards from The Home Depot

3 - 1"x2"x8' pine boards from The Home Depot (ripped one of these boards to .5"x2"x"8')

I started by sanding all of the pieces of pine board with a medium grit block sanding sponge like this one from The Home Depot. Just enough to get rid of some of the imperfections and smooth out the boards.

From there I applied Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner using Proline cotton rags that I purchased at Lowes. *Note: this step is optional, but it makes a noticeable difference in the application and vibrance of the stain you decide to use.

I let the Wood Conditioner dry and then applied the stain using a new ProLine cotton rag.

*Note: you can also use any plain cotton t-shirt for the stain application, I just didn’t have any.

For the stain, I used Minwax Early American Stain. I applied the stain and wiped it off as I went.

Once all four sides had stain applied and they were dry, I finished off with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural. The finishing wax seals and protects and adds a nice sheen to the wood.

Once all the pieces of wood were prepped, stained, and dry they were ready to be assembled.

I started by securing the .5”x2”x8’ pine board (the ripped piece) to the 1”x4”x8' pine board to create the lip of the shelf. I used 1” nails and a nail gun to secure the board approximately every six inches.

*Note: if you have wood glue I would suggest using that in addition to the nails. I forgot to pick some up at the store and just didn’t want to go back.

Once the lip was attached to the ledge, I added the back by securing the 1"x2”x8' pine board to the ledge/base. I used 1” nails and nail gun securing the 1”x2”x8’ pine board approximately every three inches.

Once the shelves were assembled, I prepared them for hanging. I determined where I wanted them to hang on the wall and found the studs, using a stud finder. I marked the wall and then measured the proper distance on the back of the shelf.

Then predrilled pilot holes from the backside of the shelf with a 1/16" drill bit.

After that, I drilled the holes for the screws from the backside of the shelf using a 29/64th drill bit.

Once that part was complete, I used a countersink to have the screws going into the wall flush with the board. *Note: this is an option, I just like the seamless look.

Next, install time!

I predrilled pilot holes into the wall where the studs were marked. Then I secured the shelves on to the wall with screws with the help of my hubby!

List of supplies:

Pinewood boards (size based on your preference)

Please note: Nails and screws will be determined based on the materials you select. The supplies listed above are simply suggestions.

Have questions?

Put them in the comment section below

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This post includes affiliate links for more information see my disclosures here

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