DIY Rainbow Book Ledges for Children's Books

Sara Bates
by Sara Bates
6 Hours
I've been in LOVE with the color bar ledges from The Land of Nod for as long as I can remember. But at $30 a pop, the total price to create the whole rainbow was a little steep. So I took matters (and lumber!) into my own hands and made this fabulous hack for a fraction of the cost!
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 pounded one nail right in the middle, then I did one on each end to make sure everything was lined up nicely. I pounded in a few more nails across the back just to make sure the shelves were sturdy. I did the same with one 1X2 across the front to make the little lip that sticks up on each ledge.
I sanded each picture ledge using my hand-held sander, then wiped my ledges down with a wet cloth to remove all the sawdust. Next, 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.
I hung the ledges to create a rainbow-inspired installation. Each ledge holds books with coordinating colors to give the rainbow effect maximum impact!

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 can potentially rip out of the wall. I paid him $40 to do the job. He used steel screws to anchor my ledges directly into the wall studs. Yes, this means there are actually 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.
This is one of my favorite projects! It is so playful - perfect for a playroom or nursery, and it keeps the books from cluttering up our storage cubbies!
Although there isn't enough space to display all of his books, I was able to make sure most of his favorites are here and easy to see!
This was the perfect addition to our DIY nursery!
Sara Bates
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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3 of 4 questions
  • Sheenaireland Sheenaireland on Jan 22, 2017
    where did you get the gorgeous rug?

  • Rr Rr on Jul 11, 2018

    I too am writing to ask about the rug, lol. Perfect for our bedroom... The book ledges are a great idea too — right next to the bed!

  • Virginia ann bowman Virginia ann bowman on Jul 25, 2018

    I agree......where did you get the colorful rug?

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2 of 91 comments
  • Virginia ann bowman Virginia ann bowman on Jul 25, 2018

    Yes!!!!Love it and the colorful atmosphere is creates.

  • Susie Susie on Oct 20, 2020

    My son is grown, but would love to display his favorite childhood books! Nothing is better for life’s learning than prioritizing reading. Great work!