I’m continuing with my summer project to spruce up the bonus room (or the Lego Room). Although it is primarily a play room for the kids, I like to keep the wall color neutral. I use the kids’ artwork to give the room some personality and color. Its a great way for them to showcase their masterpieces and to give the room a fun feel.
I had frames of various sizes for the larger art, but they had several smaller, square pieces that I wanted to showcase along one wall. After scoring 8 square, black frames on clearance from Michael’s I decided to display them on ledges, instead of hanging each frame individually. Eventually, I’d like to place a couch under these ledges, but for now they need every inch of floor space for play.
I searched rustic picture ledges on-line and found a couple blogs that had great ideas and plans. A Girl and a Glue Gun and Shanty-2-Chic both have posts on this topic. I used a combination of both of their methods and love the result!
I made two, 4 1/2 foot ledges. One of the great perks of DIY is that you can customize your projects to your needs. I have seen 2, 3 and 5 foot pictures ledges at various retailers but I really wanted 4 1/2 foot ones so I could fit 4 frames on each ledge. And now I have them!
Each ledge requires two 1 x 4 and one 1 x 2. Since I was making 2 ledges, I bought double of everything in 6 foot lengths. The wood cost $45 at Home Depot. I used my miter saw to cut the wood down to 4 1/2 feet and later used the scrap pieces to test my stain and to support the ledges while I stained them.
After cutting the wood to the desired length, I used my orbital sander to sand it. I started with 120-grit sandpaper and then went back over all the wood with 180-grit. It is important to wear safety glasses, ear protection when using an orbital sander. Additionally, I like to wear gloves when I do my sanding. After everything was smooth, I wiped the wood down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and was ready to start with assembly.
Next I used my Kreg Jig to make pocket holes along one of the 1 x 4s. The pocket holes are on the backside of the piece of wood that will eventually be against the wall. Pocket holes are nice for this project because they hide the screws and are very strong. I drilled about 6 pocket holes in my 4 1/2 foot piece of wood. (If you don’t have a Kreg Jig, I think you could use wood screws. Drill pilot holes first to avoid splitting the wood and drill from the backside of the piece of wood that will be against the wall, just like the method using the Kreg Jig. I haven’t made these ledges this way before, but if I didn’t have a Kreg Jig, I think it would be worth a try.)
Once the pocket holes are made, I applied a small line of wood glue along one side of the wide edge of the 1 x 4 WITHOUT the pocket holes, then placed the wood with the pocket holes on top of the glue line and clamped the two pieces of wood together. The wood should form a 90 degree angle. I checked this with a speed square then used pocket hole screws to adjoin the two pieces of wood.
I allowed the glue to set for about 10 minutes and then removed the clamps and placed a line of glue along the front edge of the ledge. I centered the 1 x 2 on the ledge and clamped those two pieces of wood, then used 5 small finishing nails and a nail punch to further attach the 1 x 2 and reinforce the glue. Lastly, I covered the nail holes with wood putty and allowed to dry before staining.
Once the glue was dry, I wiped the ledges again with a damp cloth and was ready to apply the stain. I wanted the ledges to be black and I had a small can of Minwax Poly Shades on hand from a previous project. Poly Shades is a stain and polyurethane in one. It took two coats with a light sanding with steel wool in between to get a nice look.
I screwed each ledge into two studs and was ready to put the kids artwork on them.
- about a half day, plus drying time
Materials: (To make two ledges)
- Four 1 x 4s (any length you want)
- Two 1 x 2s (any length you want)
- Pocket hole screws or wood screws
- Finishing nails
- Wood glue
- Wood putty
- stain or paint
- steel wool
- Miter Saw or circular saw (optional, you can have the nice folks at Home Depot cut the wood to your desired length)
- Orbital hand sander (optional, although I would HIGHLY recommend one. It makes sanding soooo much easier and quicker)
- Kreg Jig
- Speed or carpenter’s square
- Nail Punch
- Staining or painting tools