A picture shelf is a fun project that you can do using some picture frames, some wood glue and a little bit of creativity. Mr. Jeff Roberts, who teaches shop classes at Central High School in Rapid City, South Dakota, has had his students make a particular type of picture shelf for 10 years. This is a project that students enjoy, he says, because it is fun and produces something long-lasting and nice to display.
Gather and assemble materials to make a picture shelf. A picture shelf, according to Mr. Roberts, can do two things at once: it can display pictures and it can be a place to set framed pictures, knickknacks or anything else. In order to make this type of picture shelf, you will need to gather together about six different types of picture frames. Mr. Roberts says some students like to use six of the exact same types of frames and some like to use different sizes. The catch is that they should be all made of wood and each of them needs to have a flat top--so you can't use picture frames shaped like hearts or shapes without that flat top. The most successful picture shelves are those made by students who choose six frames that are 4x6 or 5x7 inches, although you can make a larger shelf if you like.
Lay out the six frames side by side on your workspace. Don't leave any spaces between them, unless you've done this type of project before and want to leave space as an artistic choice. Set your six frames side by side and measure their length of them all together. Use wood glue to glue the six frames into place, unless you want to leave spaces between them. Mr. Roberts suggests that only advanced students try to leave spaces, because it usually doesn't work.
After the glue has dried on the six picture frames, cut a length of 2x4 that is two inches longer than the length of your picture frames. Sand this wood into a shape that you like. You can sand down edges or corners or leave it as is. Set the 2x4 onto your work space and attach your line of six picture frames to the 2x4. You want to attach the tops of the frames to the 2x4, and you want the tops of the frames to line up with the edge of the 2x4. Mr. Roberts says that when you turn the shelf over, you should see the frames hanging down, and they should be flush with the shelf itself. Use screws to attach the frames, if possible.
Varnish and paint your entire project--the 2x4 and the picture frames. Attach two strong hooks to the backside of the 2x4 so you can hang the shelf on the wall.