After staring at a blank space on the wall above our sofa for almost two years now, I have finally filled the space. I won’t put holes in the wall just for the sake of filling the space with something I will get tired of quickly or something that doesn’t really fit well. So, there it was, empty for all that time. Until now…
I was in the shed a few weeks ago and saw some boards propped up against the wall that were left over from my fireplace project and the CD shelves we built. I thought I could use them to make a photo ledge over the sofa, and finally have somewhere to place the frames I had hidden away in a closet. The only additional cost for this project was getting the photos printed for around $15. I had everything else, including the stain and polyurethane.
The stain color I used is English Chestnut Wood Finish stain from Minwax, that I coated with their Helmsman Spar indoor/outdoor urethane. I used the stain and polyurethane for the top of my outdoor buffet, so I already knew it would be the right shade for my shelf.
Before I take you through all the instructions, I’ll start by showing you the exact measurements of the boards I used. The length of the board was just over 5 ft. but you can cut the length to any size you want. I like the width of the boards because the large board provided enough space for displaying the frames but doesn’t stick out too far on the wall. The smaller 1 1/2 in. board on the front was enough the keep the frames from sliding but also allowed us enough room to add the screws to the back using our drill.
I measured each board carefully…then measured again. It never hurts to double check! Then I drilled holes for the screws. I placed five screws along the back board and the front board to make sure the pieces would be secure.
I set the screw heads down into the wood far enough so that I could cover them with wood filler and they wouldn’t be seen. I did use a wood filler that can be stained but I regret that I didn’t use a color closer to a wood shade so the places I filled wouldn’t show up. They did a little but you have to look real close to see it.
Once I filled all the screw holes with wood filler, I sanded them smooth with my Black & Decker mouse. This is definitely one of my must-have tools. I don’t know how many projects my trusty little sander has helped me complete now.
Then the fun part began…staining! I love the rich, beautiful color of the English Chestnut stain. I applied two coats of stain then coated it with the semi-gloss polyurethane. I wanted it to have a shiny finish and I knew the shelf would need plenty of dusting so I wanted it to have a smooth surface.
You can see the difference the polyurethane makes….
Now for attaching it to the wall, you will need all these materials…plus a drill! We carefully measured the shelf to be centered above the couch and located the studs with the stud finder so we knew where to add the screws. We used screws that were a little thicker than what we usually use. I don’t know the exact size so I placed one beside a pencil so you could see the size comparison.
Since my Gramma always used chalk to mark her clothes for sewing, I thought the same would work for marking the shelf. I swiped my daughters sidewalk chalk and marked where we needed to place the screws. This worked much better…no need for erasing pencil marks.
We just used screwed them in from the front. I know there are other methods to hang the shelves but I figured since the frames would cover the screws, it really didn’t matter. Since we set the screws through it and into the studs, the shelf is very secure!
I’m very happy with how our picture ledge turned out and that I finally have something on the wall there above the sofa. I’m still playing around with the frame arrangement. Now we can proudly display photos of our kids which makes a nice focal point in our living room!