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DIY Prairie Style Paint-stick Gallery Ledge

Creating something out of nothing is always a great accomplishment, turning left overs, extra pieces and scraps of wood into something fun and functional is a rewarding feat.

With a few remnant boards, some fresh paint sticks, a few screws, nails and paint I transformed a blank wall into a space that invites layers of photos, prints, with texture and dimension.

Materials: 3X30 inch primed white board   1” white panel nails

                1X2X30 inch primed FJ board     2” white deck screws

                 21, 5-gallon paint sticks              Sample size Behr Swiss Coffee paint


Tools:     Small brad hammer                      Tape measure

                 Stud finder                                   Hand miter box and saw

                 Level                                            Drill

                 Yard stick                                     Pencil

                 Glue gun                                      paint brush

Step 1:  Stop by your local Home Depot and pick up 7 packs= 21 sticks, of 5-gallon paint sticks (21 sticks will edge a 30-inch ledge). While you are at the store have a lumber associate cut the paint sticks for you measuring 6-inches from the top.

I used scrap wood that measured 1X3X30 inches with a cleat that measured 1X2X30. Check the cull cart while you are at your Home Depot, this ledge can be constructed at any length you choose, or you can purchase the wood right off the shelf and have it cut.

Step 2: Sand all rough edges of wood and paint sticks, then paint each piece and allow to fully dry.

Step 3: Measure, line up, and pre drill pilot holes through the back edge of ledge and into the cleat; I measure in at 5 inch intervals. This way you can screw the ledge right into cleat easily once it is attached to the wall.

Step 4: Using a stud finder locate and mark studs, decide the height of gallery ledge and mark height at stud site. I use a yard stick for this, sometimes I find that tape measures actually fight with me.

Step 5: Using a level and attach the cleat to the wall at the studs.

Step 6: Next line up the painted paint stick ends, and one by one attach each one with a dab of hot glue to hold in place. I placed each one with 1 inch above the shelf to create the edge guard, line each one straight up and down, check with level once in a while for plum…. because a little off will cause the whole line to be crooked. This ledge is no where perfect but that is the charm of it!

Step 7: Now with the tiny brads, nail the sticks in place

Step 8: Once all the edge sticks are in place, line up the pilot holes on the ledge to match the cleat, screw in place. 


Prairie style is to find the beauty in, and to re-purpose items of that are used daily, to turn an object that functions one way and redirect it to something…...simply unique!

Finishing up:

Once I screwed the ledge to the cleat and added a few of my favorite prints, I decided that I wanted to add just a few finishing touches to the gallery edge. I found a few pieces of trim edging from past projects, using a hand miter box and saw I cut the trim pieces to 30 inches each. Next I painted the trim pieces, after the trim dried I applied wood glue, then attached clamps to secured the trim in place. The straight edge of the trim added just a bit more texture and dimension, plus finished the edge more precisely and evenly.

The previously dark, empty wall at the top of the stairwell now shows some interest; the gallery ledge displays a collection of a few great finds, mementos, from a trip to France.

Taking the display one step further I added a string of battery- powered, slime wire lights that operate on a timer illuminating the ledge and adding the perfect, subtle glow. The lights shine for 6 hours and then turn off for 18 hours making for the perfect evening light….it is so nice!

This gallery ledge evolved from looking at packages of paint sticks…...and wanting to use a few scraps, some bits and pieces and left over millwork…. also a need to display some art.

Have fun with this project; change the color, why not make it multi-color, alternate the edge, build it with a child…. packs of paint sticks are less than a dollar!!!

Show us what you come up with! What can you create with paint sticks…? hmmm, I am already thinking about what I can create with the other ends, the scraps of the paint sticks…...something from nothing!

Enjoy, be creative!


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Posted 2017-01-26T19:14:08+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS Maureen_HD_BOS