I Built That!

DIY Wall Ledge – Part I – The Build

How to build a wall ledge to fit your space | The Chelsea Project Blog | www.thechelseaproject.com

I have extremely smart girlfriends.

The other day, Girlfriend and I were talking about one of my recent posts that explains how to build a bookcase (instructions here).  In passing, she says, “I just love the bookcase and maybe somebody else can build it…but you lost me at furring strip.”

Huuuum. The furring strips are first mentioned in Step 1.  “Yep,” she confesses, “that’s when you lost me.”

What…..an ah-ha moment!  I mean, really.  Just because I stack wood all day doesn’t mean everybody does….or that everybody can or wants to pick up the lingo.

Thank you, Girlfriend.  Today, we try again….and see if using less words…..and more visuals will entice Girlfriend to wheel out her trusty saw.

Meanwhile, let’s make a wall ledge.


Item list:

1 by 4 pine board – I used a leftover – originally purchased as an 8 foot stock piece.

Quarter round molding – purchased by the linear foot

Screen molding – purchased by the linear foot

1 by 2 pine board – I used a left over – originally purchased as a 12 foot piece for finish molding.

Wood glue – many to choose from many at the home improvement center

Wood screws – depends on your wood and wall

Wood filler – many to choose from at the home improvement center


I used four different types of lumber, but they are all exactly the same color.  When assembled, the ledge lost all visual definition, so this colored version…however crude…. will build along with the steps to help identify what pieces go where.  You know…… like Legos.

Step 1:   Create the ledge.  Mine is 48 inches long and I used a 1 inch by 4 inch (which actually measures 3/4 inch by 3 and 1/2 inch)  pine board.  Marked with blue.


Step 2:  Attach a lip to the ledge (optional).  My lip is 37 and 1/2 inches long and is centered in the middle of the pine board.  It’s made out of quarter round molding and glued to the pine board.  I wanted a lip because I wanted to lean accessories against the wall and didn’t want a slip.  Marked with red.


Step 3:  Attach screen molding to the front and sides of the 1 by 4.  I bought (yea..no scraps) a 60 inch strip.  It covered the front and both sides.  I did miter the joints on my ledge, but you don’t have to.  Butt joints work, too, and require only straight cuts.  (instructions here)  Then glue the molding to the 1 by 4.  Marked with brown.


Step 4:  Attach supporting strip.  I had a leftover piece of 1 inch by 2 inch pine finish molding that was 44 inches long.  Perfect.  I predrilled holes (including a counter sink) in the top of the shelf and used wood screws to attach the shelf to the supporting strip.  Seen here tagged in black.IMG_0545Step 5:  Attach quarter round molding to the support strip (optional).  I like a finished look so I use lots of molding.  The same quarter round that was used for the lip was attached at the junction of the shelf and support wood and on the bottom of the support wood.  Illustrated by the red ends.IMG_0546

The molding at the bottom of the support piece looks like it is too small, but when the piece is in place against the wall, the tiny gap disappears.  If the shelf is used in a location where the side is visible, then suggest to use a bigger size of quarter round.  This is not a problem for me, so I just used a scrap piece.

Step 6:   Apply wood filler over the screw heads and fill any gaps.  Wood filler is a wonderful thing.  It covers a multitude of cutting sins.  Apply generously and let dry.  Then sand the entire unit until smooth.


Step 7:  Predrill holes (include counter sink) in the support wood and attach the unit to the wall.  The type of screws needed depends on the type of wall and whether you can screw into a stud.  If unfamiliar with hanging shelves, suggest to consult with the expert at your local home improvement center.


Please note that there are only six screws used in making and attaching this unit.  All of the molding is glued, but not nailed.  Please consider if your unit might require more nails or screws and adjust accordingly.

Step 8:  Attach unit to the wall, apply wood filler over screw heads, let dry, and then sand until smooth.


Step 9:  Finish the raw wood with your favorite paint or stain.  Finishing the unit will be covered in Part II.  I plan to use a dark charcoal chalk paint and a light buff.  Will I wax or polycoat?  We will just have to see how the wood responds.



As I look at the nearly finished ledge, I’d like to call it a Pottery Barn knock-off…… but it’s really not.  It’s more like a Pottery Barn first cousin, once removed.  Truth be told, it’s the closest thing I could get to a PB ledge with lumber scraps and limited skills.  But, hey….baby steps.

The good news is……

….Girlfriend is looking for her saw.

When she sends me a photo…..I’ll send you an update.

But, for now….

You go, Girlfriend.


Until next time…..

Please…….don’t forget to PIN……

Easy Pottery Barn Inspired Wall Ledge

Happy building,


No Comments

  • Reply Nancy January 23, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Great illustration!

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog January 23, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks! It was the best version of an x-ray that I could come up with on such short notice. lol.

  • Reply The Cedar Shake Cape January 23, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I love your writing style you crack me up! Great instructions, looks like its going to be fabulous! Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

  • Reply Melanie January 24, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Great instructions with the color!

  • Reply Jayne January 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    The shelf looks great! Good Instructions! My hubby does all the wood working for us! I do everything else, sewing, painting, repurposing. He’s a happy camper when he is building.

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    […] How to Make the Ledge (instructions here) […]

  • Reply DIY Wall Ledge – Part II – The Finish and the Fake Wall | The Chelsea Project January 31, 2015 at 4:27 am

    […] Finishing the ledge was like a sweet dream.  After thoroughly sanding, I applied chalk paint in a charcoal black color.  Right now, there is no wax or poly sealer.  I’m not sure what I will do with it, but for the moment… the shelf is A-ok.  Make ledge instructions here. […]

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