Category Archives: Woodworking

DIY Simple Floating Ledges

I love these shelves.  Well, actually I love anything that is easy to build, but creates a big impact and these floating ledges definitely do just that.  I came across these plans several years ago on Ana White’s site and built a set out of some scrap wood.   We used them in our rental home in Austin (you can read about those here).  Prior to our move to Colorado those shelves were sold in a yard sale in an effort to clean house before the big move.

This time around I had a different plan for the new shelves I was going to build.  The previous set had held family photographs, but the new set was going to hold my kid’s framed art work.  I haven’t kept everything that they do just my favorites, but I was surprised at just how many different pieces I wanted to frame once I got started.  It was more then enough to easily fill the three 8′ foot long shelves.

floating ledges 1

The shelves only took a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon to put together and a big part of that time involved sanding them down.  I differed slightly from the plan as I used 1×3’s for both the back and bottom pieces.  The ledge was created by ripping a 1″ wide piece from a third 1×3.  In total the project required 8 – 1×3 furring strips at 8′ feet long.

floating ledges 2The shelves are stained in Special Walnut from Minwax.  The same stain used on the scrap wood floating shelves I put up in another part of the same room.  It’s a nice rich brown without being too dark or red.  Each shelf is screwed through back and into studs in the wall.

floating ledges 3My favorite part of this project is how much fun the kids have had going back over their old art work and telling everyone  who asks about each piece.


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DIY Scrap Wood Decorative Box

My out of control scrap pile has officially dwindled down to a couple of completely manageable bins .  Earlier projects like the  headboard and floating shelves sucked most of the life out of it.  But, those projects motivated me to keep working towards utilizing as much of it as possible, without purchasing anything new (yet).  The most recent result was this little decorative box.  Easy to build and perfect for all those little, bitty pieces you just can’t make yourself throw away.

The base pieces.  You start with these pieces to create the base structure.  The ? marks are there because you can use scrap pieces of different heights, just be sure you use all the same size depth.  I used 3/4″ stock for the the bottom (7×12) and the skinny strips you see (13.5 x ? & 7 x ?) and 1/4″ stock for the interior sides (4.5×7 & 4.5×11.5).

decorative box base piecesStart assembly by gluing and nailing the short skinny strip ends (7x?) to the bottom piece (7×12).

sides decorative boxRepeat with the long skinny strips.  You want the pieces flush with one side of the bottom.  You can see the skinny strips are not all the same height and it really doesn’t matter as long as there is enough extending past the bottom to attach the side pieces.

decorative box side

Then dry fit the sides of the box into the base to be sure everything fits properly.

dry fit decorative boxOnce you know everything fits properly, pull out the longer pieces leaving the shorter ones in place.  Those shorter pieces will just be used as spacers at the moment.  Use a good sized bead of glue  along the interior side of the base and then place the long sides back in place and clamp (pull the short ends out to clamp).  You could also nail these in place with a brad nailer.  I didn’t have any nails short enough, so glue worked alone.  I just had to have a little patience to allow everything time to dry.  Once dry repeat these steps for the short ends.

clamped decorative boxAfter all the interior sides are in place and set permanently it is time to start adding the decorative sides.  This is where all the little pieces come into play.  You want to use 3/4″ stock – the same as used for the skinny strips.

Start with the short ends (no in process pictures, sorry, I spaced).  Mark your side wall 1/4″ down from the top.  Do not place any pieces above that mark.  Apply glue to the side wall and glue each length in place.   My short ends were horizontal strips in various heights @ 7″ long.  The pieces should be flush with the ends of the short side.  These could also be tacked in place with 3/4″ brads, but glue alone works fine too.  Clamp the pieces to the side wall once they are all in place.  Let dry.

side pieces glued in place

Finished short end.  You can see the 1/4″ gap left at the top of the side.  It’s very important this measurement is the same all around the box.

finished side of decorative box

After both short sides are in place you can start the long ends.  Mark 1/4″ down from the top same as you did for the short ends.   For the longer sides I went with 3″ height along the length in vertical strips (because I have a ton of short, itty bitty pieces), but you could do longer strips in various heights just like the short ends or any other arrangement that works for you.

in process long side

I only nailed the first piece in place.  The rest of the pieces were just glued in place.  Keep going until the side is filled.


After all those pieces were in place, I cut a 13.5″ long strip the height needed to meet the 1/4″ mark near the top of the side wall.

finished long side decorative box

Repeat for the other long side.  My long sides are very similar, but not exact.  Like I said before it ‘s a puzzle you can put together in whatever design works for you and the scrap you have available.

With all the sides assembled, glued and clamped, it is time to assembly the top.

top for decorative box

Super simple to assembly.  Attach the 7″ long pieces with glue and nails to the short end of the top.  Repeat with the 13.5″ long pieces along the remaining two sides.

sides attached to top

That’s it.  Finished top.  Don’t worry if it looks a little off in the photos.  Some sanding is going to make it all look pretty.

finished top decorative box

Now it’s time to see if it all fits together.

finished box 1And it does.  Yay!


Now that it is built it is time to sand it down.  I did not fill in the nail holes because this is going to have a more old distressed look when I get done with it, so the nail holes just add to that look.

The almost finished box after loads of sanding…

scrap wood decorative box

I’m still debating on the exact finish I want to use.  The stain I would like to try is only available online (for me) and I’d have to order 2 quarts.  I don’t want to try it that bad.  Another possibility would be a faux distressed paint finish, but that would cover all the variances in the wood which doesn’t really appeal to me either.  More thought will have to go into this one.  Stay tuned…

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