So our living room was really crying out for something over the sofa after the wall went white. Picture ledges have been really popular over here for years but I’ve never had one so I figured I’d try it out. I mean what can be more practical and versatile than something where you can change your art around in seconds.
I have to say I surprised myself with the choice of finish. It’s oak! It’s not a material I’d normally go for.
1) Because there was oak mania over here for a number of years and I hated every bit of it. Oak kitchens, oak furniture, name it and it was available in oak. Boring. And 2) I’ve not really been into wood that much. But I’m beginning to warm towards it. I think the apple started it.
So why oak I hear you say. Well, I wanted a picture ledge and I wanted it NOW so I had to use whatever I had available at home. All I could find that was semi the right length and dimensions was two pieces of oak trim that we bought for the boat and which we ended up not using. I brought them upstairs thinking I could always paint them white but as I was trying them out over the sofa I realized that I kind of liked them as they were. That’s why.
Anyhoo, I thought maybe you’d like to build a picture ledge too so here are the instructions.
Here they are the two pieces that make the picture ledge. If I had had the choice I might have made the piece that the pictures stand on slightly deeper but this is what I had to work with. As you may be able to see the thinner piece has one curved edge which was perfect because it makes it look like I actually spent some time thinking of the design which in fact I didn’t.
After cutting both pieces to the same length I added wood glue to the front of the actual ledge. DIY doesn't get much simpler than this.
I used clamps to hold the two pieces together until the glue had dried. I’ve said it before but clamps are the best. Truly and extra pair of hands when you only have two. Make sure to wipe off any excess glue seeping out before it dries. I left this in the garage and went to do other things for a few hours. Wood glue usually dries faster than that but because we’re mid winter over here the garage/workshop is pretty cold and also a little bit damper than upstairs so I preferred to wait a bit extra before taking the clamps off.
After a little bit of sanding with a super fine grit sandpaper to make sure I wouldn’t have any glue residue on the wood I used mineral oil to oil the ledge.
I checked my supplies to see what other stuff I had available that could darken the unfinished oak slightly and got Wille in to advise me. I made a sample on an off cut, brought it upstairs and had him tell me which one to go for. To the left is a walnut stain, in the middle the unfinished oak and to the right plain mineral oil. Wille said to definitely go for the mineral oil finish because the other was to dark and showed the grain too much. I love that he has an opinion on these matters!
To hang the picture ledge I again used what I had, two fat L-brackets which I believe came with some appliance/small piece of furniture or other. I predrilled a hole in the ledge about 50 cm/20 inches from either end and screwed the brackets in place. I realize that this isn’t the best looking hardware so I placed them at a distance from the sides where I knew I could hide them behind whatever went on display on the ledge later.
And here it is screwed into the wall above the sofa but I’m going to have to show you the finished result another day because I'm running late. Dinner to be made, laundry to be hung, bed sheets to be changed. Watch this space!