(For one pair of ledges; adapt as needed)
- 1 x 6 pine board, 12 inches long (for platforms)
- 1 x 3 pine board, 12 inches long (for backs)
- Skewback or solid crown molding, 1½ inches high and wide, 12 inches long (for bracing)
- Gloss or semi-gloss latex paint
- Tape measure and pencil
- Combination square
- Jigsaw, or a miter box with handsaw
- Sandpaper or sanding sponge, 180 grit
- Microfiber dust cloth
- Hammer and finish nails, 13/4 inch
- Wood glue
- Paintbrush (to spread glue)
- Drop cloth or newspaper and spacer blocks
- Synthetic-bristle brush, 1 inch or 1½ inch
- Power drill (with bits) and screwdriver
- Carpenter’s level
- Cleat picture hangers, with fasteners (and wall anchors if needed; see step 6)
- Cut the pieces. Using the tape measure, pencil, and combination square, mark 5½ inches from one end of each board. Also mark 4 inches from one end of the molding. With the jigsaw or handsaw, cut out the pieces. Measure, mark, and cut identical sets of parts for as many additional ledges as you want.
- Sand the wood. With the sandpaper or sanding sponge, smooth any splinters, but don’t round the edges. Wipe clean with the dust cloth.
- Assemble the platforms and backs. With the hammer, tap two finish nails into the top of each platform piece, near the back. Place each nail 3/8 inch from the long edge and 1 inch from the narrow end. Tap in the nails just far enough for the tips to protrude on the other side. With the paintbrush, apply glue to the top edge of one back piece. Align the glued area under the nails in the top piece, lining up the back surfaces. Hammer in the nails. Repeat for the other ledges.
- Add the bracing. Measure in ¾ inch from each end of the back piece, underneath the platform, and make a pencil mark. Brush glue onto the back and top surfaces of a molding piece. Press the piece into place against the top and back, centered between the pencil lines, and hold it for a few minutes. Repeat for the other ledges. Let dry.
- Prime and paint. Position the drop cloth or newspaper, and place the ledges, wall side down, on the spacer blocks. With the brush, apply primer to all the visible surfaces, taking care not to leave any drips. Brush with long strokes in the direction of the wood grain. Let dry. Brush on the paint, using the same procedure. Let dry. Apply a second coat, and let dry.
- Mount. Decide how you want to arrange the ledges on the wall. Identify which locations have studs behind them. Using the drill, screwdriver, and carpenter’s level, attach the cleat picture hangers to the studs and to the backs of the ledges. If you can’t find studs, use wall anchors instead. Hang the shelves.
If you have tiled walls above the bathtub, attach the ledges with removable mounting tape strong enough to hold several pounds, or drill through the tile as if you were installing hooks on tile.