AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Photo Ledge DIY

June 2, 2017

We are in full swing filming Season 5, and I can’t wait to share all of the fun projects Chip and I have been working on. I recently finished a job for a client who had a lot of family pictures she wanted to incorporate in her home. Instead of hanging a classic gallery wall, we built a simple photo ledge to make a statement.

You’ve probably seen these around, and they are super simple to make. If you aren’t looking for a gallery wall alternative, it also makes a great place to display books in your kids’ bedrooms or playroom. Learn how to make your own below!

Step 1 | MEASURE YOUR SPACE + GATHER YOUR MATERIALS

Quickly assess the space where you want to hang your ledge and determine how long you need your ledge (or ledges) to be. Then, make a quick trip to your local hardware store.

You’ll need:
 – a small can of wood stain
– a drop cloth (or something you can get dirty)
– wood glue
– a small can of wood stain
– a small paintbrush to apply your stain
– 2 clamps
– sandpaper (optional)
– a drill and screws to fasten ledge to wall
– wood (I chose pine wood, because I like the way it looks stained.)
– you’ll need three pieces of wood to build the ledge. Have your pieces of wood cut to the length you’d like your ledge to be.

Wood sizes:
– 1 inch depth x 2 inch width piece for the front of the ledge
– 1 inch depth x 3 inch width piece for the bottom of the ledge
– 1 inch depth x 2 1/2 inch width piece for the back of the ledge ( this is the part you will drill into your wall)

If your hardware store doesn’t carry these exact sizes (they are not all standard) then they will typically cut them down for you at the same time that they are cutting the length. If they don’t offer this service, just use the closest sizes they have as-is, and cut the length of the pieces using a simple handsaw. This ledge can be customized in whatever way you need or want.

OPTIONAL STEP | SAND

Using a sheet of sandpaper, you can sand down any rough edges before staining. I recommend this step if this ledge will hang in your child’s room.

Step 2 | STAIN

Stain your wood to the color of your liking. I usually cover the wood with two coats of stain and set it out in the sun to dry for about 15 minutes.

Step 3 | GLUE

Apply a good amount of wood glue to either side of your 1 x 3 inch piece (for the bottom of the ledge), and attach your front and back pieces to it.

Step 4 | CLAMP & DRY

Clamp your ledge together and allow the glue to set for a full 24 hours.

Step 5 | FASTEN TO THE WALL

Attach your new ledge to the wall with a drill and screws, drilling straight into the “back” piece of your ledge. Use strong screws and, for best results, drill straight into a stud.

Now it’s time for the fun part! Fill your ledge with prints and frames that are meaningful to you. I’ve always thought that artwork, family photos and your favorite quotes are the best way to share your story of home.

Be sure to comment below if you have any questions, and let me know of other types of projects and solutions you’d like to see on the blog! I’d love to see how your ledge shelf turns out, so tag me (@joannagaines) or @magnolia on Instagram!

in DIY

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  • Elizabeth T
    8:05 am, June 25, 2017
    I made these and they look beautiful, but they keep coming apart (the Gorilla wood glue is not holding.) How would you recommend reinforcing these without putting a nail right in the front?
  • Marylou
    7:03 am, June 25, 2017
    I love your show and watch it all the time. Joanna has such a flair for decorating and Chip is a master at his craft. Can't wait for the new season.
  • Sandra Coleman
    12:29 am, June 25, 2017
    This is my valid email address
  • Suzanne Coffer
    1:03 pm, June 24, 2017
    Love the arrangement! It's a refreshing way to display your photos.
  • Sharon L
    7:10 pm, June 21, 2017
    Just love your ideas.
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