Here’s a simple way to display favorite photos, and do it with understated style. This photo shelf is really just two boards, but adding a few curves and gluing on molding dresses it up a lot.

Difficulty easy


Kreg Tools

Other Tools

  • Jigsaw
  • Miter Saw
    Miter Saw
  • Compass
  • Drill (cordless)
    Drill (cordless)
  • Sander


Wood Products

  • 1 Board , 1x4 , 96"
  • 1 Cove Molding , 3/4" Thick , 96"

Hardware & Supplies

  • 8 1 1/4" coarse-thread pocket hole screws
  • 2 6" hangman picture hanging systems
  • 1 Wood glue

Cut List & Parts

  • 1 Shelf , 3/4" x 3 1/2" x 47 3/4"
  • 1 Back , 3/4" x 3 1/2" x 47 3/4"
  • 1 Front Molding , 3/4" x 3/4" x 49 1/4"
  • 2 End Molding , 3/4" x 3/4" x 4 1/4"


  • Cut the Shelf

    Cut one Shelf and one Back to length from a 1x4 board, as shown in the cutting diagram.

  • Drill Pocket Holes

    With your jig set up for 3/4" stock, drill pocket holes in the rear face of the Back.

  • Add Curves to the Back

    Lay out the curved shapes on each end of the Back using a compass. You’ll set it to a 2 3/8" radius for the outer curves, and to 2 3/4" for the inner curves. If the two arcs don’t meet exactly when you lay them out, that’s okay. Just connect the lines. Cut the shapes with a jigsaw, and then sand them smooth.

  • Join the Back and Shelf

    After sanding the Back and the Shelf, connect them using 1 1/4" coarse-thread pocket-hole screws.

  • Cut Molding to Fit

    Cut one piece of Front Molding to length, as shown in the cutting diagram. Note that each end gets mitered at 45° to allow the molding to wrap around the Shelf. Also cut two pieces of End Molding, mitering one end of each piece where it will join to the Front Molding.

  • Attach the Molding

    Glue the Front Molding and End Molding in place on the Shelf. Take care to align the miters. To hold the pieces in place as the glue sets, use masking tape.

  • Finish the Shelf and Add Hangers

    After the glue sets on the molding, you can sand as needed, and then stain, finish, or paint the photo shelf to suit your tastes. Then add hangers, and hang the shelf on the wall.