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DIY Photo Ledge Tutorial

26 March 2013

Last week, I shared my finished and styled photo ledge Eddie and I made for our bedroom. Now I’m back to talk about how I made it so you can make your own!

DIY Photo Ledge Tutorial

We loved these ledges from ikea for their flexibility in changing out frames and decor, but wanted something longer (the longest ikea ones are 45″, and we wanted at least 60″). Here’s what you’ll need to make your own: Supplies:

  • Lumber: 1×2, 1×3, and 1×4 in the length of your final shelf
  • Primer (
  • Paint ( is plenty, I used un-tinted white in semi-gloss)
  • Screws (I used (6) 1.5″ #6 screws for assembly and (3) 2″ #6 screws for attaching to the wall)
  • Wood putty


  • Electric drill
  • Paint roller & tray
  • Putty spatula (like this)

Our home depot was actually out of 1x2s and 1x3s, so we actually got a 1×4 and a 1×6 and cut the 1×6 down to a 1×2, 1×3, and some leftover with our table saw. Once you’ve got the lumber, start by priming and then painting each piece. Then clamp them together, pre-drill, and screw to assemble. You can see how the pieces go together below:

Photo Ledge Tutorial

My center board was noticeably warped, so we did lots of clamping. Note that you don’t need to clamp the whole piece at once (I only have 4 clamps!). we started at one end, lined up the ends of the boards, and clamped about 6″ on either side of my screw (less on the ends, since you want to anchor the ends securely close to the edges) then pre-drilled, put in the screw, and moved the clamps.

Photo Ledge Tutorial

We screwed the back (1×3) on first, and didn’t worry about covering those screws since they’ll be against the wall. When we attached the front, we made sure to sink the screws in past the face of the wood so we’d be able to cover them up.

Photo Ledge Tutorial

Once everything was assembled, I sanded the wood around the screws on the front since there was a bit of tiny splintering. I then filled the holes with putty. After that dried (read your putty instructions, mine said two hours for deeper holes so that’s how long I waited), I sanded the putty even with the wood finish and painted over it.

Photo Ledge Tutorial

Voila – seamless photo ledge! To attach it to the wall, we first found the studs and marked them vertically with painters tape. Then we lined up the shelf where we wanted it – cenetered over the headboard and at a height we liked. We attached the shelf to a stud on one end with the drill at an angle so the screw is below the front lip of the shelf – this makes the screw invisible from the front. We then used a level to make sure it was nice and flat, and attached the shelf to two more studs in the same manner.

Photo Ledge Tutorial

Here’s the whole thing with all the decorations I have up there for now:

DIY Giant Ikea Photo Ledge

And here’s where you can find tutorials to the projects in that image that I’ve made myself and shared on the blog:

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 September 2013 9:12 PM

    長財布 ブランド レディース [人気の長財布]

  2. 12 June 2013 3:59 PM

    I LOVE the color on your wall!! Can you tell me what color you used to paint it? Thanks for the tutorial also :)

  3. 8 May 2013 3:30 PM

    This ledge turned out so great! What a fun tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  4. 3 May 2013 1:49 PM

    This is such a great idea. Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial. This is so much better than a bunch of pictures hanging crooked on the wall :)

    We’d love for you to share your posts with our readers at our weekly Finished Friday Link-Up.

  5. 1 May 2013 3:36 PM

    You have been featured at Craftionary. :)

  6. 28 April 2013 7:57 AM

    Looks great! My husband made one of these for our house as well, using Ana White’s plans. I love her! Love your navy wall, too. Oh, and that birch tree art on the left. Love it all! :)

  7. 26 April 2013 8:45 PM

    What a great idea! Something like this would work great in my hallway.

    Hugs, Smiles & Blessings,

    Fluster Buster
    Creativity Inspired by Frustration

  8. 24 April 2013 9:25 PM

    What a great idea and its so easy to make. I also love your headboard! Thanks for the tutorial!
    Diana @decoratemediana

  9. 24 April 2013 8:05 PM

    Love your shelf! I made some of these as well for my daughters reading nook to hold her books. They are so easy to make and perfect for any use!! Love how you decorated it!

  10. 24 April 2013 3:36 PM

    I made one of these as well. :)

    Thanks for sharing on Give Me the Goods Monday!

  11. 24 April 2013 12:59 AM

    Very cool:)

  12. 23 April 2013 4:25 PM

    Awesome! I’ve seen a similar project at AnaWhite called 10 dollar ledges. I want to make these.. the store bought ones are sooo expensive. Great instructions, very clear! Do you know what your final cost was?
    Thanks for sharing!!!!!

    • 24 April 2013 11:31 AM


      All I bought was the wood (less than $10) and small (pint, I think) containers of white semi-gloss paint and primer. I’ve still got most of the paint left, too! I’m on travel right now, but I’ll look up what I spent all together when I get home and let you know!


  13. Marsha permalink
    23 April 2013 9:14 AM

    Love your wall color. What is it?

    • 23 April 2013 2:18 PM


      Thanks! I’m out of town right now, and can’t remember what color it is off the top of my head. I’ll try to remember to look it up when I get home and let you know, though!


  14. 22 April 2013 10:57 PM

    Awesome ledge! Thanks for the tutorial!! We’ll be featuring it over at Someday Crafts tomorrow, so if you have a minute, we’d love it if you’d stop by!

  15. 22 April 2013 10:45 PM

    Fabulous! We have only bought our ledges before… but they are so simple to make! Thanks for sharing this tutorial!!

  16. 22 April 2013 8:55 PM

    I had those photo ledges from Ikea and they were not always long enough. Their finish also looked a bit chintzy close up. I like this much better.

  17. 22 April 2013 10:19 AM

    I’ve been wanting to do this to my living room for a long time! Yours looks awesome! Gotta love these ledges!

  18. 22 April 2013 10:05 AM

    Great job! I have been making to make my own photo ledges but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Now the math is done for me, hooray!!!!

  19. Diana Rambles permalink
    21 April 2013 8:42 PM

    Very nice!

  20. 21 April 2013 12:24 AM

    Wow, it looks great! Amazing photography too. Great to find your post via Sundae Scoop.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  21. natashalh permalink
    4 April 2013 5:02 PM

    Love it! It has such a great, professional appearance. My man would love this project – I’ll have to share it with him.

  22. 4 April 2013 4:18 PM

    We just wanted to let you know that your craftgawker submission from today would be perfect for dwellinggawker as well. We can publish your submissions on both sites as long as the content is relevant for both. Thank you for submitting!

    Maria at gawkerverse

  23. distresseddonna permalink
    1 April 2013 9:35 PM

    Thanks for the tutorial on how to build the photo ledge. I love how you have incorporated your projects into your decor.

  24. 26 March 2013 3:21 PM

    This looks good!
    I’m still thinking, if those from IKEA would fit at my room. If not – now I know how to build my own. Thanks!

    Love, Midsommarflicka


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