As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY Art Studio Shelving...great use for molding!

"I've got a plan so cunning, you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel!" - Sir Edmond Black Adder

Art Studio Shelves

I remodeled last year, but just getting to the display shelves now!  I wanted a place to display my paintings for open studio visits, to see my work while I'm preparing for a show, and to get them off the cluttered floor!  

I thought about using gutters after seeing how awesome they work for kids rooms and library racks. But, there was this issue of the front of the gutters not only concealing the bottom few inches of my paintings, but I figured I would run a risk of damaging whatever area of the painting connected with the front of the gutter. 

I knew what a needed. A plate rack, so to speak. something with a groove, or better yet, a tiny lip at the front of a narrow shelf that would allow a painting to lean without sliding off. Also, the shallow profile would keep my small studio looking as large as possible. I wanted this shelf to come already shaped with the lip on it. After some time standing in front of every possible piece of wood and shelving solution Home Depot had, I realized this project required my repurposing skills because this thing did not exist. 

Well, here it is!  

I had already re-purposed a melamine shelf into a table top, used tiles as shelves, used tables as benches, and made cabinets into, why not use a piece of molding for a shelf or ledge?  I haven't seen anyone do it before, so I spent the whole morning creating this tutorial to share with you so you can go do it, too.  Additionally, you can put screws into the front of the 2x2 under the molding shelf and hang things there!

The step by step picture guided tutorial will help you in case the process isn't intuitive to you. Anyone with a little skill can do this, but you may need a helping hand if you aren't used to drilling or if you don't have a lot strength or leverage to drive screws.  If you have any questions about any of the steps shown here, please ask in the comment section and I will answer. It might help someone else and I can edit the tutorial for others!  Thanks!

Molding as art display shelving

Below, I have provided 3 sets of directions: 1) No brainer instant DIY for existing shelves, no power tools necessary, 2) Quick instructions for those who already know what they're doing, and 3) Complete step by step tutorial with pictures and notes.



for those with existing shelves (and the power tool inept!)

Not handy at all AND you already have shelving?  

VOILA! Laying a strip of molding on any existing shelf or table at the wall allows you to have paintings leaning there, securely held in place without have to do any additional work!  (I have not found it necessary to tape the molding in place, but you may desire it, personally.)

Lay a piece of molding on a table top or shelf for instant secure display of art!


Complete Instructions for DIY installing Art Studio Shelving 

You will need:
  • 2x2" beam (really 1.5"x1.5", but they are called 2x2.)  I bought pine at about $8 per 8 foot length. Make sure to select straight beams. Look down the beam to eyeball whether it is curved. (Have the associate at the home improvement store cut them to whatever size you will be needing.)
  • 3.5" wide pine wall molding strips, about ~$2.15 per foot. One 8 foot section was less than $17.50.
  • 4" wood screws for securing the 2x2 to the wall.  3 screws should suffice for an 8 foot length, spaced at 32" apart.)  If your shelf will be less than 32", then 2 screws per shelf. 
  • 1.5" screws or nails for securing the molding to the 2x2. (I like screws because I can easily remove the shelf if I need to by unscrewing instead of risking damage by pulling nails.)
  • Table Saw (optional, will be used to shave a small profile off the back of the molding to make it lay flat on top of the 2x2. Note: You can still attach the molding without altering it, but there will be a small gap under the front of the shelf where it lays on the 2x2.
  • drill (make sure you have a fully charged battery!)
  • Forstner bit (whatever size is larger than the screw head.)
  • drill bit (same size as smooth part of screw.)
  • wood plugs (optional, for covering your screw heads later.)
  • paint (optional)

Quick instructions if you know what you are doing

1) Attach 2x2 to a wall or other object where you want a shelf.
2) Secure molding by screwing down from the top into the 2x2.
(You could do steps 1 and 2 in reverse, but it will depend on how long and skinny your drill bit/shaft is to be able to drive that long screw into the wall under the shelf without marring it.)

Detailed illustrated instructions

Decide where to put your shelf, mark the wall and pre-drill holes into your studs.

Prepare the 2x2 to mount on the wall.

Secure the 2x2 to the wall.

Run the back of the molding through the table saw to remove the profile where it will attach to the top of the 2x2. (optional, but good.)

Attach molding to the top of the 2x2.

Start freeing up floor space and gain display space.
Hey, you are even ready for an open studio event!

Have a great day,



  1. Love it! Thanks for the detailed directions - I know how long things this well illustrated can take! Great idea - much better than a gutter!!

    1. Thanks, Stacy! (yes, it took the whole day - worth it if it helps others!)

  2. They look fantastic! I wish I had designed my studio with some shelving like that, it is a great way to see your work all at one time. Didn't realize you were so handy with saw!


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