Barn Beam Ledges

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 09/29/2010 - 18:00
Starter Projects
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Easy to build shelves that would be complimentary to any room. they have the look of a barn beam.

You are probably pretty used to me being excited about every plan that I post.  I wouldn't post a plan if I was not excited about it.

But when I actually have the time to build, photograph, and post actual photos, I'm just all that much more excited to share.  Especially when I can look at the actual product, and know that you are going to be just as happy with your shelves as I am mine.

I'm pretty happy with them!

What do you think?  Not too bad for a couple of boards, eh?  And the best part about these shelves?  They are lightweight, easy to hang, and super sturdy.  You could build them as long as you want without compromising strength.  And you could also build them wider - but I wouldn't go too much wider, perhaps at most a 1x8 (but I haven't tested a 1x8 just yet).

And the ends are all finished and boxed in!  So are the bottoms, for a completely finished bar beam look.

Yet without the weight of an actual beam.

And what do you think of the whale art?

It's yours to print out if you want.  Just go here to get the graphic, adjust the colors, and print.  I'm really loving silhouettes right now, especially animals in child's rooms.

Dimensions are shown above. My shelves are 1/4″ shorter to conserve lumber. Yours can be any length.


Shopping List

To build a shelf exactly like mine, 24″ long, you will need:

1 8′ 1×4, some 2″ finish nails
a scrap piece of 1×2 at least 7″ long
some glue, two 2 1/2″ screws
and Early American Stain by Minwax.

Cut List

4 – 1×4 @ 23 3/4″ (just shy of 24″ to account for the saw blade and get all four pieces from 1 1×4)
2 – 1×2 @ 3 1/2″

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander


Step 1


Use 2″ finish nails and glue to build the frame as shown above.

Step 2


Nail faces to frames with 2″ nails and glue.

Step 3

Keyhole Hangers

Find a drill bit slightly larger than your screw heads. Measure down 2″ from the top and 2″ from the outside. Drill a hole.

Step 4

Find a drill bit slightly larger than your screw heads. Measure down 2″ from the top and 2″ from the outside. Drill a hole.

Step 5

Step 6

Then with a smaller bit, sized the same as your screw shaft, drill another hole slightly above the larger hole.

Step 7

Then use your jigsaw to cut from the larger hole to the smaller hole, to make a keyhole shape.

Step 8

And there you have it. No hardware required! Also, I tried a different type of hanger, a nail-on picture hanging kit, and wasn’t happy with the outcome. The shelf didn’t sit flat with the wall. With the keyhole hanger, if you adjust your screws (screwed securely to either a stud in the wall or with an anchoring system) so that exactly 3/4″ of the shaft is exposed, your shelves will sit perfectly flush with the wall. Couldn’t be happier with the results!


Charles (not verified)

Wed, 09/29/2010 - 20:10

Great Idea... good look without the weight. These will look great in our log cabin. I'm going to add a groove, or 'plate rail' so I can adjust the 'slant' of framed pictures. I will sand the top of the frame to make it easier to keep them dust free. Thanks for the idea, and of course the "easy to read" plans. BTW, my 12 yr old Grand-daughter is making two of your square bar stools from plans !

Valerie (not verified)

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 02:55

No way! Oh my goodness I <3 it! I was wanting this very thing for above my sofa but I was going to go about it a tooootally different way. Um, the harder way. So a million thank you's for posting this. You just made my day. Thanks Ana!

Laura (not verified)

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 03:12

Here I had planned to make the 'floating' shelves, but now I have to make a decision! argh!

Amanda (not verified)

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 03:38

OMG! This is EXACTLY what I've been needing for my kitchen! Anna, I love the stain you used too -- it is so rich!

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