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Picture Ledge

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I've got a diploma or three that I wanted to hang in my home office. Unfortunately, the spot I chose just isn't going to work. I want each diploma to be on a stud, there are three studs, but the spacing is 16 inches. The diplomas are all 17 inches wide.

So I looked into floating shelves and picture ledges. A 60-inch floating shelf is kind of pricey though:

So I decided to build my own and spent thirty-odd bucks at the hardware store. Here's my haul and my plan:

(The broken blender was not used)

The vertical board is wide enough (36") to hit all three studs so I can distribute the load and the horizontal board is wide enough (60") to hold all three diplomas. The boards are from an eight-foot 1"x4" plank that I had the lumber yard cut for me (one cut is usually free).

My mother got me a cordless drill for Christmas, so I was eager to put it to use, and before doing anything else I pre-drilled guide holes for the screws I would use for final assembly. I was mindful to place my holes such that the imperfections of the wood would be maximally hidden in the final product. Then I sanded the rough spots off the plank.

I decided to stain the wood to a dark color. All the doors in my apartment are painted an espresso brown (cabinets too, as you can see), which has buttressed my inclination to buy dark furniture. So I mixed a big can of red mahogany stain with a smaller can of ebony stain. After staining and drying the wood, I applied a polyurethane lacquer for protection and shine:

Originally, I had bought some of the buttons used on the bottom of chair feet to act as the lip of the shelf. But after getting them out of the package, I was worried the nail was too long and would split the plank. So I picked up some wood buttons and stained them. I also got the drill bit needed for them:

My hole drilling for those kind of sucked and the varnish did not help since it pulled stained wood off as the drill bit caught it. But I got it all together and I'm pretty pleased with the final result.

(The Moab Ad-Vertiser is an ideal drop cloth)

After letting it dry overnight, I attached it to the wall. In total I used six 2½" screws to attach the ledge to the wall.

I am a little disappointed that the "red mahogany" varnish is not all that red. I picked it to go with the red of my diploma frames. But that fell well short of my intention.

I think I'll put a line of photos below the shelf. Of course, now I want to figure out where I need another shelf, so I can build it.

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