Build Picture Ledges for Children’s Books

I searched high and low for a little DIY on how to build picture ledges for children’s books. Unfortunately, most of the search results had huge holes missing from their processes. For example, they would show the wood…and then the finished ledges. I was like…WOW! These people are superheroes! So fast and efficient that I missed the whole process! So I put together my own project guide so you can build a children’s picture ledges from scratch, without any super powers!


Time Required:

Under $20

Purchase ListMaterial Cut ListTools RequiredSafetyRelated Posts
1 – 1x3x6 Pine
1 – 1x2x6 Pine
1-1/4″ Pocket Screws
3″ Wood Screws
Back Board:
1 – 1×3 @ 32″
Bottom Board:
1 – 1×3 @ 32″
Front Trim:
1 – 1×2 @ 32″
Kreg Jig & Accessories
Power Drill
11/32″ Forstner Bit or regular 11/32″ Bit
1/8″ Bit
Wood Glue
Elmers Wood Filler
Power Sander or Sanding Block
Sanding Paper
Speed Square
Foam Brush/Paint Brush

Build Picture Ledges for Children’s Books

This is how you check to see if a board is straight. If it swerves or bows in any direction, that’s an indication that the board is in fact…not straight. Hahah. OK, great! Moving on…

1″ thick stock is actually 3/4″ thick. I’m not sure why they lie to everyone about this. The lies have got to stop, people!

We’re adjusting our kreg jig to account for the 3/4″ material thickness. Notice the thicker part of the bit is at the 3/4″ mark, this is how you correctly set your jig up.

For material of 3/4″ thickness, we’ll be using 1-1/4″ screws. I accidentally picked up “fine” grade kreg screws. I usually use “coarse” with pine. But don’t you worry about me, babe, I’ll be fine.

There is no end to my lame jokes, I’m so sorry.

I mark 2″ from the ends, then every 8″ thereafter.

Since I’m building (2) ledges, I transfer my marks onto the second board.

On your mark…clamp…drilllllllll!

Very nice, very nice. You did great!

Apply glue liberally to the bottom of the board we just drilled.

Slap it on top of the other 1×3…

And then clamp that bad boy. (3) clamps seems to do the trick.

Using a wet cloth, wipe any glue that has been clamped out of the joint.

Make sure you clamp in such a way that the front 1×2 (top) isn’t being clamped on an angle. You want it completely flush and level with the 1×3.

Straight and level!

Here’s how it looks all glued up.

Using wood filler I patch any major inconsistencies that are present in the wood.

The end was kind of fudged up so I went to town. Be sure to sand the wood filler with a fine grit sandpaper after it sets. Wipe any dust before finishing/painting the ledges.

I opted to paint my ledges with some DIY chalk paint rather than staining. But you can do whatever you like!

Now in order to attach the ledges to the wall, I need to locate the studs and transfer my measurements to the them.

My studs were located 14-1/4″ and 30-1/2″ on my ledges. Remember, your studs will probably not be the same as my studs. So uh…find your own studs, buddy!

I transfer those marks to the actual ledges, going 1″ down from the top.

Using a 1/8″ bit I pre-drill into the ledge.

Next I use a 11/32″ bit to countersink the screws.

A little rough but the screws will be covered by books, anyways!

I mark and pre-drill into my studs with the 1/8″ drill bit.

I get the first 3″ wood screw 3/4 of the way into the stud, then lay my level on the top of the ledge to ensure that it’s level.

Once level, I screw the second screw completely into the stud and finish screwing the first screw.

I threw some books on there to momentarily feel good about myself…!

I used a larger book as a point of reference for where to place the second picture ledge. I want to make sure it’s not too low, but not high enough so my daughter can’t reach it.

Rinse and repeat the above process we used on the first ledge for the next one!

Throw on a few books so you can feel good about yourself, too!

And that’s a wrap! The look on my daughter’s face was worth every ounce of time and effort put into these ledges (which honestly wasn’t much). She absolutely LIT UP when she saw all of her favorite books in one place and my heart proceeded to melt all over the carpet. I’ll have to get carpet cleaners out next week or something.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

November 18, 2014 at 03:11 PM

Looks great!

One step you skipped was actually screwing the first two boards together using the holes from the kreg jig. Or was it intentionally skipped as a nod back to the opening paragraph?

I need to get one of those jigs. My daughter will be moving into her new room soon to make way for baby brother. She’ll need these ledges!

November 18, 2014 at 04:11 PM
– In reply to: Brian

Thanks Brian! No it wasn’t a reference to the first paragraph…I just forgot to mention that I screwed right after clamping the boards into position! (In other words, a MISTAKE!) Haha!

Once you get a Kreg Jig you’ll see the world like Neo in the Matrix after he realizes he’s “The One”. A whole new realm of possibilities!

My two year old LOVES picking books to read off the ledge and putting them back. I’m sure your daughter would love these in her new room, too!

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