Easy $20 DIY Sliding Picture Ledge Shelves

When we showed you the our girls’ room closet transformation last week, you may have noticed the empty wall to the right of the closet doors… well, it’s empty no more! These sliding picture ledge shelves were a quick and easy build and they give that narrow section of wall both a purpose and some style — in less than an hour of work time!

All in all, these rustic wood ledge shelves cost under $20 and took less than an hour of hands-on time (just waiting for the stain to dry!). The modified photo ledges feature a lip on the lower shelf to hold the frame on the shelf AND a lip on the upper shelf to prevent the frame from tipping and falling off the shelf — plus, we love the way it gives the wall a bit of gallery style and makes it into a continuous full wall art installment instead of a series of shelves. Get the building instructions below and watch the video from our YouTube channel to see how fast and easy these are to put together — a great beginner building project!

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Build Your Own Set Of Wood Sliding Picture Ledges For Under $20 Video Tutorial #remodelaholic

DIY Sliding Photo Ledge Shelves

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We used the wood shelves to fill an awkward small wall space, adding family photos and a much-needed calendar to the 3 shelves. (You might recognize the gold frames and colorful photo mat from our color-binge neutral living room update a bit ago!)

Fill An Empty Wall Quickly With $20 DIY Sliding Picture Frame Ledges #remodelaholic

These shelves are so easy to adjust to whatever size frame, calendar, dry erase board, chalk board, cork board… you get the idea. You could also mount your favorite prints (from our new shop 😉 or our collection here) on boards like this tutorial shows and then slide them on the shelves — seriously, anything you want to display can go on these shelves, and you can make them any length or stain them any color (especially if you use our favorite color-washing trick for colorful wood stain!)

Easy Diy Picture Ledge Prevents Photo Frames From Tipping And Falling #remodelaholic

We also think this would be a great solution to hiding those can’t-move-em indoor eyesores on the wall — a shelf like this could cover up cords, breaker box access doors, alarm control panels, cable or phone jacks, etc while still maintaining quick and easy access — maybe even be adapted to cover up a television (now the gears are turning!)

Easy Set Of Sliding Picture Ledges Made From Inexpensive Hardware Store Lumber #remodelaholic

The top section fits the frame nicely so it won’t tip or fall in the event of an earthquake, or, more common around here, from kid roughhousing, slamming doors… or maybe a sledgehammer taking down a wall somewhere… If you prefer the frame to fit more snugly against the top shelf lip, or to sit a bit more vertical without leaning, you can stuff a couple of grocery bags behind or cut a piece of foam to wedge the frame in place, or use a deeper frame than we did.

Create An Easy Gallery Wall Arrangement With Sliding Picture Ledges #remodelaholic

Where would you put a set of shelves like this? Get the building instructions below and watch the video above and you’ll have a snazzy new set of sliding photo ledge shelves in no time!

How to Build a Set of Sliding Picture Ledge Wood Shelves for $20 or Less

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Materials to build a set of 4 20-inch picture ledge shelves

Recommended tools

  • carpenter’s square
  • miter saw or miter box
  • level
  • drill
  • countersink drill bit (or just a larger drill bit like we used in the video)
  • brad nailer, or hammer and small nails


Easy Diy Sliding Picture Ledge Shelves For Simple Art Gallery Wall #remodelaholic

Building Instructions

Step 1: Cut the boards to length.

For a set of 3 shelves plus a top ledge, we cut 4 sections of each board (the 2×2 and the 1×4) so from an 8 foot board, you could make the shelves a bit wider at closer to 24″ if you wanted, without needing to buy additional boards. We’ve included our sketch-up layout and dimensions for these 22″ shelves below for reference.

Step 2: Stain.

Since we were using a prefinished wood for the front of the ledge shelves, we stained the cut ends and the 2×2 sections to match, using a custom stain mixed from two stains we had on hand. This is the only step that takes very long… waiting for the stain to dry.

Building Plan And Sliding Picture Ledge Dimensions Video Tutorial #remodelaholic

Step 3: Measure and mark the shelf and stud locations.

The total dimensions our thin-edge 16×20 frames was only about 16.5″ by 20″ so we measured out an 18 3/4 inch gap between the *top* edges of *each* 2×2 ledge to give us the gap size between the shelves that we wanted. We found the stud and predrilled holes in the 2x2s so we could screw directly into the studs.

Quick Remodelaholic Tip: When attaching something like this to the wall, predrill the holes and then insert the screws partway into the board, to save you time drilling the screws all the way through the board while holding the board in the correct spot on the wall.

Step 4: Add the ledge fronts.

Mark the ends of the 1×4 boards, then hold them in the correct location on the 2×2 ledge and nail in place.

Then just slide the photo frames into the picture ledge and voila — an easily changeable gallery wall style set of shelves. Where will you put a set of shelves like this in your home?

Decorate An Empty Wall In An Hour With Easy Diy Wood Sliding Photo Frame Ledges #remodelaholic

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