DIY Bookcase Ledges for our Nursery

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Bookshelf ledges by TwoPlusCute header

In our nursery, the book situation was a little…blah. For the longest time we used a basic – so basic it was ugly – cabinet that I came to regret the 20 dollars it costed. If you don’t like an item, even 10 cents are too many.

Enter the DIY bookcase ledges. A project so simple that I was bound to make it difficult.

For one, I nailed the 5 ledges twice. Because the first time, even with my painstaking attention to detail, my brain was – apparently – in a completely different dimension than the rest of me and so, I nailed every.single.ledge, wrong.

Nursery bookcase ledge DIY by TwoPlusCute


Even when I figured I had botched the nailing while I was doing the third ledge, somehow I went ahead and nailed the next two, also wrong.

Thankfully, because I was having a lazy day, I hadn’t used wood glue – only nails. Which makes for flimsy shelves that come apart easily. Win?

In that case it was win, as I could take the ledges apart and re-nail them right. They turned out fantastic! DIY wise, it is as simple as it gets and hardly world’s greatest woodwork.

However, they added so much dimension and practicality that I love them dearly. The small slice of wall they went on, was narrow, small and half hidden behind the door. It was a wasted space. Adding the horizontal ledges, created the illusion the wall is way wider and made the whole room look bigger.


DIY tutorial for wooden bookshelf ledges for nursery, by TwoPlusCute



Five 1 x 4 inches by 8 feet planks (we used pre-primed composite ones) to make the actual shelves

Three 1 x 2 inches by 8 feet, to make the front stopper piece (stops books from sliding off)

50 galvanized finishing nails and ten 2.5 inches  (6.35 cm) screws for mounting on the wall



1. Cut the 4″ x 8’s – or have them cut – in half.

2. Glue and nail the two halves perpendicularly, trying NOT to mess up such a simple task – like I did. If you glue, I strongly suggest you use clamps – there is no way around that if you want a good fit.


Nailing the bookshelf ledge by TwoPlusCute


3. If you are doing this alone and have a toddler to keep an eye on, improvise a way to stabilize your contraption in your living room, so you nail the front ledge. Depending on how good you are in Tetris you can end up with something like this:


Using props to nail bookshelf ledge by TwoPlusCute
Obviously, I was never very good in Tetris…


4. Find the studs and screw the first shelf. Use all means available to ensure that first shelf is level. We used this Auto-Leveling Laser with Stud Sensor (<-affiliate link).

We still messed up – because we are awesome like that – even though we had the right tool and professional help:


The Cute using the stud finder


We only missed two out of the ten drills so, all in all, it was a good day. I am not afraid of patching (will show you my masterpieces soon) and it was a very quick fix.

5. Using the first shelf as guide, measure equal vertical distances, adding your bookshelves starting from the bottom and working up (will make your life way easier). I gave plenty of height – 15 inches – between shelves to allow for large books to fit nicely.

6. Step back and admire your handiwork.


Bookshelf ledges for nursery


7. Feel proud and satisfied.

8. Realize that you still need to fill, sand and paint but decide to leave that for another day, because you just can’t wait to see how they look with books on them.

9. Pour yourself the beverage of your choice and continue admiring your awesome DIY.


Following advice no 8, I started adding books. A tricky thing to add, as The Cute kept stealing them. Eventually, I persevered:


Bookshelf ledges DIY by TwoPlusCute


Total cost for 5 bookshelf ledges made out of composite boards, each shelf four feet long, was – rounded up – about 56 dollars (hm, maybe we could find a cheaper material?). Plus 50 nails (10 per shelf) and 10 screws (two per shelf). The ledges are up a full week now and there has be no change in their shape. They are not to climb on but they hold all those books you see in the pictures, without budging one bit.






Even unpainted, they look beautiful! Love them, love them, love them! That slice of wall went from being useless (and narrow looking), to be super practical, full of interest and the most alluring kind of gallery wall in my book (oh a pun!) there is.



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14 thoughts on “DIY Bookcase Ledges for our Nursery

  • March 16, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Wonderful job. I love that you have made use of an unused space. Nice DIY skills. 🙂

  • March 16, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Oh my goodness — it looks great! We have 3 small book ledges in the kids’ bedroom. I’ve loved them; both for how they look and because the kids choose to read more often since they can see the covers.

    • March 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Glad you like them Lora. 🙂
      You are so right, with the visible covers, kids are attracted exponentially to grabbing a book to read.

  • March 11, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    I didn’t even notice they were not painted. Either you did such a great job or I was blinded by all the great books! Either way it looks great. And I’m rooting for Cute to keep on stealing those books! Have a great weekend.

  • March 11, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Love your idea! So smart, and it frees up so much floor space. What a lucky little girl to have a Mommy so talented:) Pinning!

  • March 9, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I’m going to pour myself a beverage of my choice and admire your handiwork! 😉 Really, really great job! I love how it fills up that wall plus kid books make such happy wall art. 🙂

  • March 9, 2016 at 7:36 am

    I love it! It really does add dimension to the room. It’s a great idea that can be used anywhere in the house! BTW……you are amazing! I wouldn’t even attempt carpentry….maybe because it wasn’t considered a woman’s thing when I was growing up. In any case, you rock and are a great model for Cute!

    • March 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      I know what you mean, t wasn’t a thing back when I grew either.
      Thank you for your very sweet words! 🙂


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