How to Build a Floating Picture Rail

Well I told you I’d fill you in on two more projects after the master bedroom reveal, and here’s the first one: building the white picture rail we hung above Stephen’s dresser.

After looking all around town and even online for the picture rail I had in my head, I pretty much decided a 3 ft long, sleek and simple white picture rail didn’t exist.  At least, didn’t exist at a reasonable price within a 6 hour radius of Northwest Arkansas (IKEA, why oh why do you have to be in Dallas and not sell your stuff online!!?).

Enter Super Stephen!  I showed him a picture of what I was going for (I think from IKEA’s website) and his immediate response was, “We can make one of those, easy!”

A quick trip to Lowe’s later, and we came home with this:

A set of clamps ($10), some wood glue ($3), and two pieces of oak ($12), cut to 36″ long by the friendly folks at Lowe’s.  In case you’re wondering, the two boards were 1x2x48″ and 1x4x48″ when we bought them.

A bead of glue added to the edge of the wider board…

… and some clamping and wiping action later…

… and the shelf was ready to dry overnight.

In the morning, I removed the clamps and sanded it down and then gave it a quick coat of primer and then 2 coats of our white trim paint.

Once the paint was dry, we put the shelf in place above Stephen’s dresser, used the stud finder to mark where our screws should go in the shelf, and took the shelf out to the garage to pre-drill the holes for the screws exactly where the studs would be in the wall behind the shelf.

Here is Stephen with the shelf ready to go, screws in place and all, getting ready to drill those screws into the studs.

It only took two holes and that shelf was staying put for good!

Lastly, we needed to fill the holes where the screws went into the shelf with some putty and a bit of paint, and the finished product looked like this!

Not bad for $25 and about 30 mintues of work, huh?  The best part is we now own clamps and wood glue for shelves galore, so another shelf just like this one would only cost us $12 in wood! 

Booyah! Take that IKEA!  😛

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10 Responses to How to Build a Floating Picture Rail

  1. Casey says:

    You are lucky to have such a handy husband!

  2. Mr. Post says:

    Those are some mad skillz right there. How did you decide on the shelf dimensions? Were they based on the IKEA shelf? Or did you use the picture frames as a gauge for the width and depth?

    • Meredith says:

      Thanks Michael! To answer your question, we used the width of the dresser for the width of the shelf (after double-checking that the frames I chose would fit), and the depth was just “what looked about right” at Lowe’s when we bought supplies. Basically we just needed enough depth to be able to lean the frames up against the wall and not too much depth for the shelf to interfere with anything we put on top of the dresser. Totally a do-able project if you want to add some interest to your walls!

  3. That looks great! I would love to have one of those in my room!

  4. Pingback: Master Bath Phase 2: Installing Board and Batten | Welcome to Heardmont

  5. I love this! I had just put a lovely picture rail in my last studio, maybe 2 months, before a sudden move. I was so sad that my new studio had nothing like it. The picture rail was a bit complicated for me to pull off myself (I had help before) and it was a bit expensive for me to do anytime soon. However, this one looks inexpensive and like something I could do myself. I can’t wait to try it next week.

  6. Chad Matthew says:

    The shelf that was built here and in the bathroom, how have they held up over time? I love the look but worried about the ability of it to withstand wait over time.

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Chad,
      To answer your question – yes both shelves have held up beautifully!! Seriously, no warping or sagging. They’re great!
      Hope that helps,

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