Hanging pictures on the wall is tedious. You have to measure the distance between each one, space them perfectly, make sure they're level, and then as soon as somebody walks by they're crooked. Then, when you want to change out a picture, you have to either find one that exactly fits the spot you already have, or rearrange the whole wall. Rather than deal with that nonsense, I decided to make a couple of shelves.

    I used two 1x3s, to form the base and back of the shelves, and a 1x2 for the lip on the front, to stop the pictures from sliding off. I clamped them together, and attached them with 2 inch wood screws, making sure to pre-drill the holes so that the wood wouldn't split. It took me about an hour per shelf, but that's only because my little friends ran off with my C-clamps and I had to keep moving one wood clamp. If you have more than one clamp, it's really only a 10 minute job. For a wider shelf, use something wider than a 1x3. I'd also recommend mounting the front lip on the top of the base and then drilling from the bottom, instead of in the front like I did, because then you won't see the screws. But, eh, live and learn. 
     I painted the shelves with leftover trim paint to match the chair rail and crown moulding in my bedroom. 

    After the shelves were dry, my husband and I used 3 inch wood screws to mount them on the wall, making sure they were hung from studs. The only level I have was  freebie that came with a drill, and not very good at determining if a surface is, in fact, level. So I just measured the distance from the ceiling to each end of the shelf to determine if it was level. Once the shelves were on the wall, and the level was in the trash, we put a few pictures on the shelves, and they look great!

cousin larry
3/1/2013 10:46:24 am

might be too late but do you have any other pictures of the shelf? I can't see how they are attached to the wall (no supports underneath??

Also, I will figure out how to re create the water level tool that i used to make my deck. It's an amazingly simple and cheap tool that works perfectly every time. I'll let you know when I figure it out again. While it can work, you really don't want to use the ceiling as a reference to measure from because they are rarely perfectly level themselves. Your shelf will slant perfectly along with the ceiling grade, although you could get lucky.
I hope you keep up with your wonderful projects and web site, they're fabulous.

3/2/2013 07:20:58 am

I added a third picture, so that you could see more clearly how the shelves were attached. Since these shelves are only going to hold small pictures (and occasionally small children), I didn't add any extra brackets or support to the bottom; I just screwed the back piece of wood to the wall studs.

I would love to know how you made a level. That kind of project sounds like something I could get on board with!

tim curry
3/1/2013 09:18:35 pm

Nicely done Cassie. I like the way you approach things, simple, easy, not a lot of tools or trouble. Also like the way you spend a little money to get a lot in return.

You may want to get a torpedo level, 2' level or a 4' level to make things easier. Yard sales are a great source of these types of tools. The torpedo level (Nick should like this one) is handy, small (about 9") and if you get the right one, will have a magnetic side so it will stick to metal surfaces as well. Sooner or later this is a handy thing to have.

3/2/2013 07:28:38 am

Good call on the level, Tim. We had another one, but Nick hung a mirror with it once, and one side of the mirror ended up about 8 inches higher than the other. When I saw it and told him it was crooked, he said it couldn't be, because he used the level. It turns out that the level was upside down... I don't know whatever happened to that one. It probably ended up in the garbage, too.


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