I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve been able to focus on one of these (relatively) quick and easy DIY projects. It feels so good to start something, have it done and installed within a day.
Which is exactly about how long this project took, though most of it was waiting for the stain to dry. The humidity here has been brutal this week and my stain took a really long time to not feel tacky.
Honestly, if I had done it myself it probably would have taken half the time, but John insisted on doing pocket holes for the whole thing, which I ended up loving wayyy more than my original plan to just use finishing nails along the front.
I’m usually the OCD one about minor details, but John took a lot of pride building this for me and it totally shows in the craftsmanship!
So anyway, here it is: DIY 8 foot picture ledge!
(I’m still getting the hang of taking pictures with my DSLR and I don’t know why the coloring here looks off.)
Full disclosure: I am not ready to show you a pulled out shot of the living room. We are getting there, but not today ;)
I’ve been feeling so meh about this wall above the couch for a while. It just never felt finished and homey to me. I didn’t want to do another gallery wall. I love gallery walls and have them all over my house, but they really do take a lot of effort to plan/design and I wanted something with a little more interest.
I saw this photo ledge from Chris Love Julia. As soon as I saw it, I knew a replica would be the perfect addition to the dead space above the couch.
We did make a few changes to the construction and materials. So really we just used the CLJ ledge as inspiration, and then went with what felt right for our house!
Instead of pine, we used oak, which was a little more expensive, and instead of finishing the front with nails, we used pocket holes run along the middle board.
To build and install we bought the following (obviously, if you have some of these on hand this project gets cheaper!):
- 2 – 1x4x8 Red Oak Boards $19.58 each
- 1- 1x2x8 Red Oak Board $9.78
- 1- Kreg Jig Mini $20.88
- 1- Zircon L550 Stud Finder $49.98 … Yup, we have gone this whole time without a stud finder. Amazing. I have resigned myself to a lifetime of awkward “stud finder” jokes with John. I think it’s a fair trade.
- Screws… we used some we found in the garage. I think they were 3/4″ drywall screws.
To assemble the shelf, John attached the front lip using pocket holes, which as I mentioned, took longer than I had planned to spend on this project. As a result, I got banished to the inside of the house until he was done. Read: I was being a PITA and he made me go away.
The pocket holes were made on the top side, which are covered by frames. You could totally fill these, sand and stain, but I’m all about minimal effort for maximum reward. I can’t see them so they aren’t there.
I stained the ledge with Minwax Jacobean (2 coats) and sealed with a satin poly. Then, we used our fancy shmancy stud finer to drill it directly into 3 studs. This thing is never going anywhere.
You could absolutely use pine wood, which would be significantly cheaper like Chris and Julia. I wanted to use pine, but John threw a mini fit about using cheap building materials in Lowe’s so I walked away and told him to pick out whatever d@*& wood he wanted to.
I actually… love the oak! It has great dimension and the grain is gorgeous. John really is the unsung hero of this project.
You may have noticed that the frames still have the protective cardboard corners and stock photos in them… I used a collection of frames from Wal-Mart that ranged between $10-$22 each, plus the clock which I got from Wal-Mart years ago so I have no idea how much that one was. We find we really do need a clock in this room so it felt natural to incorporate one into the photo ledge. I actually decided to keep all these frames (I love the arrangement), so they have since lost the protective cardboard pockets, but not the stock photos ;) I love that I will be able to switch them out throughout the years with other frames and pieces as my heart desires!
I’m still deciding what pictures to fill the frames with. It will probably be a collection of artistic black and whites, wedding photos and cats doing funny things. As you expected.