If this shelf ledge looks familiar, it’s because it’s made with the wood scraps left over from the super long version on the other side of the bathroom. That half of the bathroom was making this neglected half jealous, so I had to make it its own shelf. (Plus it gives me more room for plants, and a place to store extra toilet paper.)
When I was searching for how to make a shelf ledge, I kept getting results for building a picture ledge. I didn’t want to put pictures on mine, though, I just wanted a shelf. The main difference is that a picture ledge has a front lip, to hold the pictures, and it’s often constructed so that the screw holes would be visible if they weren’t covered with pictures.
So I adapted those instructions to make this shelf ledge, and I figured I’d share a tutorial for this smaller version. I made the larger one exactly the same way, except with more screws through the back. You could adapt this to pretty much any size, just screw the wood together every 1-2 feet. I was also originally going to add towel hooks on the longer version. But I haven’t found hooks I like, so I haven’t done it yet.
Wood – I used reclaimed wood, but two lengths of 1×4 would be what I would have used if I were making this with new materials.
Screws – For the shelf itself, 1 1/2″ to 2 1/2″ screws, plus screws for hanging it on the wall.
1. I previously cut the two pieces of wood to equal lengths, and sanded, stained and sealed them. The wood I used for the shelf piece has a rounted, decorative front edge, but your wood will most likely have a flat front edge.
2. Decide how you want your finished shelf to look. I want to add towel hooks to mine, and I wanted as much shelf space as possible, so I aligned the shelf edge with the top edge of the backing piece.
You could also align the shelf along the middle:
Or the bottom:
3. Clamp the front piece to the back piece, using a piece of scrap wood to keep from damaging the front of the shelf with the clamp.
4. About an inch from the edge, drill holes that are halfway through the thickness of the shelf. Repeat every foot or two.
5. Screw the boards together.
6. Now it’s time to hang your shelf. Keyhole hangers work really well for this. You’ll need to find studs, drill pilot holes, and add screws for hanging.
7. Measure really carefully where the keyhole hangers need to go, and drill pilot holes. My reclaimed wood had the bonus of having two raised areas on the back, so I was able to use those to help me with the keyhole hangers. I’ll demonstrate on a scrap piece of wood how to deal with it if you’re not so lucky, though.
If you just have normal wood, you’ll probably want to drill a large, shallow hole behind where the keyhole will go. It will allow the shelf to get as close to the wall as possible. A Forstner bit will do the job easily.
8. Attach it to the wall. I won’t lie, on this one it took me more than one try to get it this level. But a trick I learned is that screwing your wall screws in more or less can affect whether the shelf is level, so fiddle with those before moving your screws (or keyhole hangers).