If you’re anything like me, you change your mind on what you want adorning the walls in your home…..daily.  I like to change decor by the season, by the holiday, and by my mood.  The downside of my ever-changing wall art, is that we are constantly patching and re-painting holes in the wall – only to put new holes in the wall right after.   I saw a 5′ floating photo ledge on the Pottery Barn website for $149 and I thought that would be the perfect solution, but I refused to pay $149 for a shelf.   So, with my husband spearheading the project, we decided to DIY this floating photo ledge our self, and it ended up being one of the easiest DIY’s we’ve ever done!  And it only cost us $30 + a few tools and stain/paint that we already had.   Because of how beautiful, stylish, and functional they are, I had him make me two!

To make your own, you’re going to want to make sure you have the right tools & supplies first.  You’ll need the following, which we already had or got at Home Depot:

  • (3) planks of wood in your desired size, and type of wood.
    • You’ll want the board you are using for the back to be the widest piece (this is the piece you secure to the wall).  The board you use for the bottom of the shelf should be wide enough to hold the artwork you have in mind.  The board you use for the front lip of the shelf should be the most narrow piece.
    • We made two shelves, one with (2) 1″x4″ boards and (1) 1″x2″ board.   The second shelf we made used (1) 1″x4″, (1) 1″x3″, and (1) 1″x2″ board.   
    • We used pine for both.
  • Wood glue
  • Tape measure
  • Nail gun (or a nail & hammer if you don’t have a nail gun)
  • Miter saw 
  • Wood stain or paint


To start the project, you will want to measure out the desired size of the shelf you’ll need.  The nice thing about making your own instead of buying from Pottery Barn, is that you can customize the size. We chose to make both shelves 5′ long so we could fit a few pieces of art/photos on each.

Step 1: Measure + Cut

Once you have measured the space where the shelf will be hung, you’ll want to cut all (3) boards to the same length.  Again, we chose to make 5′ shelves so we cut all (3) boards to 5′ exactly.   We cut 2″ off the end of the board first, and then measured out 5′ from there.  We did that so that both ends would have cut edges, instead of the rough edge that the boards were purchased with.

Step 2: Glue Together

Once all boards were the same length, we held the pieces together to make sure we knew which piece was being used as the back, the bottom, and the front.  Once we had it all figured out, we applied nail glue to the edges of the boards and attached them together.

Step 3: Nail Together

Using the nail gun, we put a nail every 1′ to make sure the boards were secured together and strong enough to hold the weight of our artwork.   Once all (3) boards are attached together, you will have a lop-sided “U” shape shelf.  It is now ready for stain or paint!

Step 4: Paint or Stain

As I mentioned before, we made two shelves for two different rooms.  I decided to stain one, and paint the other.

Step 5: Fasten to the Wall

Once it was all dry, we found the studs in the wall and screwed directly through the back of the shelf into the wall.  We used pretty strong screws to make sure it could hold up the weight of our artwork and decor.

Step 6: Fill the Floating Shelves

Decorate with your favorite canvases, prints, family photos, or whatever else you’d like!   We chose to use our favorite framed prints and quotes for the shelf we hung in the dining room, and canvas prints of our wedding day for the shelf we used in our office.  It’s a great alternative to the gallery wall.

  The shelves can be wide enough to hold bud vases with your favorite florals, wreaths, or large letters, too!  And if you’ve got small kiddos, consider using these as book shelves in their room.

And the great thing about this floating photo ledge is that you can change up what you decorate with as often as you’d like without having to get out the hammer and nails!

Seriously, it was that easy!  If you know us by now, you know we strive for easy, quick, and inexpensive DIY’s (hence our DIY faux-shiplap wall, DIY hollow wooden doors, and now this!)  It took us under 20 minutes to assemble the shelves, and then we just had to wait for the paint/stain to fully dry.

Good luck making your own floating photo ledges!   And have even more fun decorating, and re-decorating as often as you wish!