THE LAND OF NOD catalog is so dreamy. But since the thought of going back to my fancy, big girl lawyer job is not so dreamy, I need to keep on dreaming of ways to create The Land of Nod’s looks on my stay-at-home-mom budget!
Today I’m sharing a hack of one of my favorite creations from The Land of Nod. So, without further ado, feast your eyes on the handmade rainbow book ledges I created for my son’s nursery:
This all started with a prime piece of vertical real estate behind the door in my son’s room,
this pile of wood cut by a lovely gentleman at Lowe’s,
and a dream.
The above photo is from this post on The Land of Nod’s blog, Honest to Nod, and it was the inspiration for this project. If you’ve browsed Embrace My Space you know that I’m not afraid of color. I am, however, averse to power tools and carpentry. I guess I am a DIY-only-the-pretty-parts blogger. I usually bring in an expert to do the dirty work (i.e., electrical, installing molding, sewing straight lines, painting tall walls, hanging very heavy objects and installing window hardware). But, with the help of the tools at Lowe’s and confidence in my ability to use a hammer and some nails, I completed my first carpentry project since my days of middle school shop class.
Before I get into the details, here’s a list of the SUPPLIES I used to make five 30″ book ledges:
- 10 pieces of 1X4 lumber cut to 30″ in length (for the back and base of my ledges)
- 5 pieces of 1X2 lumber cut to 30″ in length (for the front “lip” on my ledges)
- 1 1/4″ steel nails
- Gray Spray Primer
- White Spray Primer
- Satin Clear Coat Spray Paint
- Colored Craft Paint
- Hand-Held Electric Sander
- 80 Grit, 120 Grit and 240 Grit sandpaper
- Steel Screws for hanging in Studs
The lumber department at Lowe’s cut all of my pieces to size for FREE, which is great because this is the tricky part! At least for an inexperienced carpenter like myself. One afternoon when my son went down for his nap, I nailed together two of the 1X4s to create an “L” shape. To do this, I hammered one nail right into the middle of one of the 1x4s, then I hammered in an additional nail at each end to make sure everything was lined up nicely. I hammered in a few more nails across the back just to make sure the ledge was sturdy. I did the same with one 1X2 across the front to make the little lip that sticks up on each ledge.
This photo shows one of my book ledges after its been nailed together. As you can see, the edges are a little rough, so after I had all of my ledges pieced together I blasted them with my hand-held sander. First I used a rough grit sandpaper to take away all the big knots, and then I made additional passes over each piece with a finer grit sandpaper in order to get a super smooth finish. Some of my lumber was really knotty. I slapped some spackle on the knots and grooves that were too deep for me to get a nice smooth finish over just by sanding. I also wiped a glob of spackle over the nails across the front lip of the book ledges. I wanted to be able to paint over the nails without them showing too much. After the spackle dried, I went back over those spots with my hand-held sander using a fine grit sandpaper.
I wiped my ledges down with a wet cloth to remove all the sawdust, then I sprayed them with spray primer. Since I was using a few dark paint colors I opted for a gray spray primer on the ledges that I would paint red, green and blue. I used white spray primer for the other two ledges, which I would paint yellow and aqua.
Because I knew I wouldn’t need much paint, I saved a buck by purchasing small containers of craft paint from my local craft store. I used multi-surface paint in a satin finish. After brushing a few coats of color onto each ledge, I sprayed them with a very fine coat of satin clear finishing spray in order to protect the ledges from scrapes and scratches.
All told, my supplies cost under $30. The wood was approximately $9 and I spent an additional $15 on paint and primers. I used coupons at my craft store for the craft paints. NEVER go into your local craft store without a coupon! There’s always a great coupon to be found online.
While I was intermittently sanding and painting (this process took me a few days because it’s been SO stinkin’ humid the past week), I mocked up the shelves using Scotch Blue painters’ tape. I always like to do this because it allows my eye to actually see where the finished product will hang, which is always better than eyeballing it!
The ledges are spaced with 12 inches from top to bottom, which allows us to display our taller books. This is how they look up on the wall.
This might be my favorite project. EVER. I adore the colors on the covers of children’s books, and displaying them this way shows all that glorious, quirky art.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I did NOT hang these myself. My handyman hung them for me because I don’t trust myself to hang something that my son could potentially rip out of the wall. I paid him $40 to do the job. He used steel screws to anchor each ledge directly into two wall studs. Yes, this means there are holes in the back of each ledge. But since I display the books across the ledges the holes are hidden. It would be easy enough to plug the holes with spackle and touch them up with paint, but I didn’t even bother.
We have a lot of our favorites displayed here. My son can only reach the bottom two shelves without assistance, but he can see the front of all the books, and he will ask me for help when he wants to read one that’s up higher.
I’ve always loved my son’s room, but it’s always nice to add something extra to a space to make it functional and even more lovely.
The only other update I’ve made to his room after the addition of the Pottery Barn Kids blackout roman shades last spring, is the Crayon Rug from The Land of Nod. I really liked the previous rug we had in the room, but because it was a thin flatweave rug, it always bunched up under the furniture, and it was really annoying to have to straighten it out all the time. That old rug now lives in our foyer, which you can check out here.
I also picked up a few striped Room Essentials canvas baskets from Target to contain the spillover of books and toys that cluttered our storage cubbies before the installation of the book ledges.
If you tally up the cost of all of my materials and labor for installation, I spent less on my entire project than the cost of TWO of these color bar ledges The Land of Nod used in their version.
Before starting a project, it’s always smart to do a cost-time/energy analysis of a project before deciding whether it’s worth your time to DIY or if you should just spring for the real thing. In this case, the small time investment (less than a week of afternoon naps) combined with the fact that the DIY version cost less than half of the store-bought version makes this one a good DIY bet.
The other benefit to DIY in this case is that I was able to customize the size and colors of the ledges to work perfectly with my space!
What do you think? Have I convinced you to give this one a go on your own? Remember, if you’re not into color like me, you could certainly do a lovely, neutral version of this project to match your space! An ombre variation would also be stunning.