How to make a DIY picture ledgeHow to make a DIY picture ledge How to make a DIY picture ledge How to make a DIY picture ledge

DIYs tend to come in two forms: just-for-fun, or practical. Here on The Crafty Gentleman, I’ve definitely got posted a fair share of each, as well as some that blur the line a little – everything from a felt MacBook cover (made out of necessity to protect my tech), to a felt fajita (which was most definitely a “just for fun” project!). But my latest DIY definitely falls into the former category: a custom made DIY picture ledge shelf.

The basic story that lead to me making this was: Hey, a picture ledge would be a cool addition to my living room! *Does a Google search for picture ledges*…darn, I can’t find any that are the size I need. What should I do? *Flash of inspiration* Well d’uh, I’ll just make one!

Internal monologues aside, if you’re looking for a way to add a perfectly sized picture ledge to your space, then read on for the full tutorial.

How to make a DIY picture ledge

Custom DIY picture ledge shelf

Supplies and equipment

  • 1 length of approx. 90 mm wide timber
  • 1 length of approx. 70 mm wide timber
  • 1 length of approx. 35 mm wide timber
  • Hand saw or jigsaw
  • Wood clamp (you may need several)
  • Wood glue
  • Power drill with drill bit and countersink
  • Several screws
  • Optional: Wood plane
  • Optional: Electric sander (or sandpaper – but this will take longer)
  • Optional: wood paint


To make things a little easier to understand, I’ve made a diagram of the cross section of the final DIY picture ledge and used arrows to highlight where you will drill the screws. The steps below will explain how to join and fix the wood together to achieve this cross sectional shape.

DIY picture ledge cross section

  1. Start off by cutting your wood to size. Measure the length of the wall you wish to cover, and cut each piece of wood to this length.
  2. Take the 90 mm wide piece of wood and lay it flat. Make a series of pencil marks at regular intervals down one edge of the wood, approximately 1cm from the edge and at intervals of approximately 20 – 30 cm.
  3. Use wood clamps and a work bench to position the 35 mm wood perpendicular to the 90 mm wood that you’ve just marked.
  4. Ensure the edges line up as best as possible, then drill pilot holes straight through the 90 mm wood (in the positions that you marked in step 2) and into the 35 mm wood. You’ll want to go deep enough into the 35 mm wood, so that your screws will be able to drill all the way in.
  5. OPTIONAL: use a countersink drill bit to create small grooves in each of the drill holes you’ve just made in the 90 mm wood, so that the screws can sit flush. This isn’t necessary, but it will help to give a professional finish.
  6. Take the two pieces of wood apart and apply a moderate layer of wood glue to one of them. Put them back together again, with the pilot holes lining up exactly as they were before, and clamp tightly in place. You should see the glue ooze out of the sides – this is good, it means that they’re being firmly pressed together! Wipe the excess glue off with a damp cloth immediately.
  7. With the glue still wet, drill screws through each of the pilot holes to permanently secure in place. Leave the glue to dry overnight, with the clamps tightly holding the wood together.
  8. You’ve now got two pieces of wood joined together – the base and the front of the DIY picture ledge shelf.
  9. To add the back piece of wood, follow the exact same procedure as steps 2-7, except with the 70 mm wide piece of wood. When you’re done, the cross section of the final piece should look like the diagram above.
  10. When the three pieces of wood have been securely glued and drilled together, you can use a wood plane and sander to smooth down all of the joins and edges. As with the countersink in step 5, this is totally optional, but it helps to give a professional finish. This step was actually pretty important for my picture ledge, as the timber I used had a natural curve – so the pieces didn’t sit flush against each other. But after an afternoon of planing and sanding, I soon put that right!
  11. Once you’ve finished smoothing the edges, you can paint, stain or varnish the picture ledge however you choose. I went for a gloss white, to match the wall and allow the artwork to really stand out – but I reckon a stained wood or bold colour paint would look really good too.

How to make a DIY picture ledge

I am super psyched with how this picture ledge came out. It definitely doesn’t look like a DIY, despite being pretty easy to build! It was also pretty cheap to make, since I already owned the drill, plane and jigsaw – I just needed to buy the timber and paint. And, because I made it myself, it fits perfectly in the space. Hurrah for DIY!

What do you think; reckon you’ll give this a go? Let me know in the comments! – Mike.

Don’t forget to Pin this image, so you can try it later!

Find out how to make your own bespoke DIY picture ledge, which you can customise to the exact size you want. Click through for more.