Hey y’all and Happy Thanksgiving!

This build is super easy and fun. We have a bare wall behind our couch in our living room and decided to build a shelf/ledge so that we could rest pictures on it. I found a sleek design from shanty2chic that my wife liked. To give the shelf some character and match other trim in our house, I added a decorative bead. It turned out great.

Check out the DIY starter kit for this shelf here.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial and happy building!

DIY Wall Shelf

Step 1: Mitre boards to size

My shelf will be 68″ wide to fit my wall. First step is to measure both 1×4 boards and the 1×2 board to 68″. I like to use a square to mark the 68″ line.

Next, use a mitre saw to cut the boards to size.

Here are the mitred boards loosely positioned together.

Step 2: Rout the decorative bead

I used a beading bit to rout a decorative edge to the shelf. You can use any bit that you prefer. I used a beading bit because it matches the trim work in our home.

Here is how the bit looks when mounted in a handheld router.

This is the actual antique beading bit that I used. Here’s a link to a beading bit that is very similar.

I used a handheld router to rout the top edge of the 1×2 front piece and the 1×4 back piece. This router is one of favorite tools!

Note: if you are using a handheld router for the first time, practice on scrap wood first. I also always practice on scrap wood to ensure that I have the bit set at the correct depth.

The bead bit adds a nice touch to the shelf and gives it some character.

Step 3: Attach back and bottom boards

To join the back and bottom pieces together, I decided to make pocket holes using my Kreg jig. This tool will transform your life! Go buy it now.


Using the 3/4″ pocket hole setting, use a power drill to create pocket holes that are about 12″ apart in the 1×4 bottom board.


Use Kreg right angle clamp and 1 1/4″ kreg screws to secure the bottom piece to the back piece. The final result is shown to the left.


Step 4: Attach the front piece

To secure the front piece, I used my nail gun along with 1 1/4″ brad nails.

Apply some gorilla glue to the bottom board where the front piece will go and then clamp and nail the board into place. I put a nail in about every 6 inches.

Allow the glue to dry for a few hours.

The next step is optional but you’ll want to do this if the bottom of the shelf will be visible to hide the pocket holes.

Grab pocket hold plugs and insert them into the holes. This was tricky – I used a hammer… be careful not to damage the wood. Don’t worry if the plugs are sticking out a bit – you’ll sand them down smooth later.

Here’s the final result after securing the front piece. Notice the small nail blemishes in the front – we’ll smooth those out later before painting.

Step 5: Fill holes

Next, grab some wood filler and a putty knife.

Cover up the nail blemishes first. Cover the hole generously… you’ll sand it down smooth later.

Step 6: Sand the wood filler and pocket hole plugs

Next, use 120 grit sand paper to sand the wood filler spots smooth.

Finally, use a sander to smooth the pocket hold plugs to the surface. After sanding the plugs, I applied wood filler, let it dry, and then sanded it smooth to fill in make it as smooth as possible.

You may also need to sand the left and right edges of the shelf to make it easier to apply paint as the edges tend to be rough.

Here’s what a pocket hole plug looks like after sanding it down.

Step 7: Prepare for mounting to wall

I started to prime the shelf for painting and then decided it would be easier to paint after getting it on the wall.

For wall mounting, I wanted to secure the shelf into wall studs and also hide the screws.

First, I used a stud finder to find the location of studs on my wall. Then I marked the stud locations on painter’s tape and used the tape to transfer the stud locations onto the back board of the shelf.

To ensure each hole is at the exact same depth, I used a Kreg mult-mark tool to precisely mark the pilot hole locations of where I will screw the shelf into the wall studs.

Remove the blue painter’s tape and then use a 7/64 bit to drill pilot holes through the back board.

Next, I practiced creating holes using a 1/2″ bit just deep enough so that a button plug will cover it. This will create a nice avenue for you to screw the shelf into each wall stud… and allow you to cover the hole to hide the screw with a button plug.

When creating the 1/2″ plug hole, it’s important to not go too deep. I don’t have a drill press so to help with that, I used blue painter’s tape to mark the depth… when you can’t see the end of the bit anymore, you know you can stop drilling.

Each pilot hole should look like this after creating the 1/2″ button plug holes. This is where you will screw the shelf to the wall.

Step 8: Secure to wall and paint

I used 3.5″ SPAX screws to secure the shelf to the wall directly into the wall stud locations I marked previously. Use a level and another person to help keep the shelf level while you drill the screws into the wall studs.

Then, I covered up the screws with 1/2″ button plugs and a little glue.

Let the glue dry and then paint. I used high gloss, interior white paint.

The finished product!

All in all, we are very happy with how this turned out. Happy building!


The beaded edge adds great character:


These materials are specific to my design and space requirements. Please adjust the materials you need per your space design.

Item Size Quantity
1x2 Boards 6ft 1
1x4 Boards 6ft 2
SPAX Wood Screws 3 1/2" 5
1/2" Button Plugs 10
Kreg Pocket Hole Plugs 10
Kreg Screws 1 1/4" 10
Brad Nails 1 1/4" 10
Sand Paper - 120 grit 1 sheet
Bead Router Bit 1
Painter's tape 1 roll
This cutlist is specific to my design and space requirements. Please adjust the cutlist per your space design.

Item Cut Dimensions Quantity
1x4 Board (for back and bottom pieces) 68" 2
1x2 Board (for front piece) 68" 1

Please share your feedback or post your questions on how to tailor this plan to your specific space below. Happy building.

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