A step-by-step tutorial on how to build a picture shelf.
After completing my gallery wall in our living room, I wanted to change our other picture wall. I have been in LOVE with the idea of a shelf that holds pictures. And I decided that was what this wall needed. Plus I had one more old wooden window that needed a home. And here is our wall today!
What do you think? Do you like the look of a picture shelf?
This build was pretty easy and did not cost a lot. Here are the supplies I used (this could give you multiple shelves).
BUILD A PICTURE SHELF
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CUTTING AND PREP:
First I measured my wall and decided how long I wanted the shelf to be. I decided to have the bottom one be 6 feet and then I used the extra 2 feet for the top shelf.
I then cut all three boards to 6 feet and made sure the extra was all the same size (about 2 feet).
After I took one of the 4-inch boards and placed Kreg Jig pockets about 12-16 inches apart starting at the edges (I placed 4 on the smaller shelf).
Then I used my orbital sander and sanded all the wood with #220 grit sandpaper. I wiped them clean after to remove any dust.
Now I started to assemble the shelves. Taking the one 4 inch board that had the pockets, I placed that on a flat surface (pockets facing up). Then I placed the 2-inch board alongside the 4-inch board, longer side going up. I adjusted the ends so they were level (if one side happens to be longer, it’s OK it can be cut). Once the ends were level, I took the clamps and clamped the two boards together. Then using the 1.25-inch screws, I screwed the boards together using the pockets.
Next, I added the other 4-inch board. I placed this board on the other side of the 4-inch board, the same ways as the 2 inches (long side up, horizontal). Once the ends were level, I clamped the boards together. To attach these together, I drilled screws straight into the boards (it’s easier to turn the shelf so the 2-inch side is flat on the surface). I first pre-drilled a 1/8 inch hole from the bottom of the horizontal board into the vertical 4-inch board. Then I used the 1.25″ wood screws and attached the boards together (again the spacing was about 12-16 inches).
At this point, I adjusted any ends of the shelf that needed to be level by using the miter saw, then sanding after. Then I applied a mix of special walnut and provincial stain to the shelf (I put one then the other stain on). After the stain dried, I wiped the shelf with mineral oil to bring out the color even more.
To install the shelf it will be helpful to have a second person (my daughter, who was 6, helped me). I decided where I wanted the shelf at on the wall, height and width, marking each with a pencil (DON’T use a pen).
Then I took my stud finder (wall kind!) and found the studs, marking again with a pencil. After I found two studs close to where the ends of the shelf will be. Then with the help of my helper, we held the shelf into place. I then pre-drilled a 1/8 inch hole through the shelf to the stud in the wall (only doing one side). Then I drilled the 2-inch screw into the hole but NOT making it completely flush yet.
I then placed the level onto the middle of the shelf and moved it until it was level. Then I pre-drilled another hole on the other side of the shelf, making sure it was on a stud. And again used a 2-inch screw to attach it to the wall but this time making it flush plus the other screw flush also.
And now our shelf was ready to place pictures.
SIDE NOTE: A great way to update picture frames is to spray paint them!
Does anyone else want to create a picture shelf? They are very easy to build!