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DIY projects

DIY picture ledge

Once we’d finished decorating the bedroom we stared at the massive space above the bed and wondered wtf we were going to do with it. Could whap a big statement poster up, or maybe a nude self-portrait? We decided in the end that a picture ledge would be perfect for a few prints and small plants. If you fancy making your own, here’s what you need to know.


Planning

To help work out ideal dimensions, we found that cutting a long bit of card and holding it above the bed worked well. After a few cuts, we decided that 110cm wide and 10cm deep was perfect. If you already have in mind what you’re going to put on the ledge it’s worth measuring this and using that to define the depth.

In terms of what wood to use, we planned to add a stain so any cheap softwood would do the trick. The picture ledge will need a back & bottom section plus a front lip.

Cutting & sanding

Once you’ve got your wood, it’s time to measure, mark and cut. I used a circular saw but you could just use a hand saw.

With your back & bottom section and front lip cut to length you can grab some sandpaper and neaten up all the cuts. If you buy planed wood then you won’t need to sand the other surfaces.

Assembly

The first stage of assembly is to glue the front and back sections to the bottom section. After spreading wood glue onto the surfaces that make contact, use at least 4 clamps (ideally more) to apply pressure. You might find when tightening the clamps that it alters the sections’ positioning so be careful to avoid this happening or you’ll have a wonky shelf.

I added some screws but this is overkill, the glue would be more than enough.

Finish

Depending on the style of the room your picture ledge is going in, you might want to just leave it naked or apply a protective coat of varnish. We wanted to match the colour of the door and bedside tables so chose to stain the wood. Before you slap this stuff on, do a test section on the back to make sure the finish is as you expected.

Getting it on the wall

Once you’ve decided exactly where to fix your picture ledge, use a tape measure to mark the positions of your screws. We were drilling into brick so after marking up 4 positions, hammered in some wall plugs then simply screwed through the front of the back section and into the wall. This will leave screw heads showing so you could use wood filler in these but they’ll be covered by the stuff on the ledge so I didn’t bother.


And that’s it, pretty bloody simple ey. This is a really cheap and quick project so if you fancy dipping your toe into woodwork without having to get loads of gear this is a great place to start.

Equipment

  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw or wood saw
  • Clamps
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Combi drill

Materials

  • Planed softwood
  • Wood stain
  • Wood glue
  • Screws & wall plugs

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