DIY photo ledge under $15

DIY Photo Ledge

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to decorate your living space, look no further! It was so easy building this shelf, anybody can handle it with a few simple tools. I love the simple wood texture it has, as well as having a place to display my favorite memories.

For this project, you will need:

  • (2) 1x3 select pine wood
  • (1) 1x2 select pine wood
  • Wood glue
  • 1.5" nails
  • 2" screws
  • Drywall anchors
  • Wood stain in your color choice

The wood comes in different lengths. We choose to buy the 6ft length and we cut it to 5ft to fit the length of our wall the best. If you have a shorter wall, you can cut it shorter, or you have the option to purchase a 3ft long piece. The length is up to you! This type of wood is really affordable and a 6ft piece is only $3-5 depending on the width. They are even cheaper if you get the shorter lengths. 

The 1x3 will be used as the bottom part of your shelf as well at the backing. Remember this when buying because you will be to double the amount of your 1x3 board. For example, if you want a 6ft long shelf, you will need to buy to pieces of 6ft long board to accommodate the bottom and the back. The 1x2 will be the front lip of the shelf. See picture below. 

If you do not have the tools to cut the wood, you will want to purchase the 3ft boards and either put them next to each other on the wall, or you could stack one above the other for a different look!

Next step is to stain or paint your wood pieces the color of your choice. For our shelves, I used a Minwax stain I've used for other projects. The color is called Jacobean, and is one of my go to colors. You can purchase this stain at local tool stores or even department stores. 

*Pro tip: paint on your stain in long even strokes along the length of the board. This ensures even coverage, and reduces streaks and unwanted dark spots. Wipe off with a clean dry rag. If you let the stain sit on an area too long it will soak into the wood more and might leave it darker than you anticipated. 

Once everything has dried pretty well (usually 24hr dry time) and the pieces were cut to our desired lengths, we proceeded to lay out the wood. We applied wood glue to the sides that would be nailed together. This step isn't exactly necessary, just ensures the best durability. 

The bright dots indicated the parts that we nailed. We were able to use our nail gun to build this shelf, but if you do not have that tool you can do it the good old fashion way with nails and a hammer, or you can use a drill to screw it together. Because we used a nail gun, the holes on the front were barely noticeable, even less so with the stain on it. If you have nail or screw heads showing, use your stain or a paint color that is very close to paint over them to make it less noticeable. 

When you have your shelf assembled, it is time to put it on the wall! Since this shelf will be somewhat weight bearing, it would be a good idea to find the studs in your wall. We drilled the screw right through the 1x3 into the stud in the wall. I was not worried about painting the screw heads because I knew my decor that I was putting on the shelf would hide them anyway. We used these dry wall anchors to be extra protective! (But really you can purchase these anywhere, even hobby lobby.)


Then once your shelf is on the wall, all that is left is to decorate! I already had a vision for our shelf when I decided to build it. I wanted to keep it simple and classic and only put some leaning frames that went with the colors of our living room. I stuck to natural textures and my accent is black. I add things in during holidays and I will frequently switch out pictures for the seasons. 




Hope our enjoyed this tutorial! For further help and videos, check my Home Project highlights on our Instagram page @stockbridgedesignco

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