Wall Pedestal/Gallery Shelf




Introduction: Wall Pedestal/Gallery Shelf

This instructable is here to show you how to make a gallery or studio wall pedestal that hangs flush on the wall.  These are great for displaying 3D art work in a gallery or for shooting slides.  These are very cheap to make and very durable.  

Step 1: Supplies

Here is the list of supplies needed to make the shelf:
1. 1/2" or 3/4" MDF (medium density fibreboard)
2.  Wood Glue
3.  18ga. pneumatic brad nailer
4.  nails for brad nailer or wire brads for manual hammering
5.  table saw
6.  wood screws
7.  wall anchors
8.  drill or drill/driver
9.  #8 countersinking bit
10.  small bubble level
11.  pencil
12.  tape measure
13.  wood filler
14.  paint
15.  sand paper 120 or 180 grit

Step 2: Logistics

Ok, this shelf looks really simple to build but can be really frustrating if you don't understand geometry, or my terrible writing skills.  Geometry is the only math class I passed in high school the first time I took it, but I still suck at it.  This is where common sense comes into play.  You will need to determine what size shelf you will be making.  Length, depth etc....  I usually cut my pieces to size before cutting any beveled edges to complete the shelf.  Just my preference, do what works for you.

In this case I cut a 6"x6" square on the table saw.  Then I cut that in half to make the end caps for the wall pedestal.  After that, I then cut a 7 1/8" x 16" rectangle to define the top surface of the pedestal.  The bottom support was cut at 8 13/16" x 16.  Adjust these measurements for whatever size of pedestal you are making.  The top surface will get one miter cut at 45 deg., while the bottom face will get both edges mitered at 45 deg.

Step 3: Construction- Step 1

Now it's time to assemble the parts once they have been cut to size and the edges mitered.  Start by standing the top surface (the piece with one 45 deg. edge) on end, while placing on triangle flush with the flat edge.  

Step 4: Construction-Step 2

Apply glue to the edge of the triangle that will be attached to this surface.  Be sure to use enough glue to cover the edge.  It's better to use too much glue than too little. Used a 45 deg. clamp to hold in place while you nail it together.  If you don't have a clamp, hold it in place by hand, but be sure your hand are clear of any nails that might go astray.  Repeat this for both sides and wipe away any excess glue with a damp rag.

Step 5: Construction-Step 3

In this step you attach the front face to the pedestal.  Be sure to glue all of the edges that come into contact with each other before nailing.  

Step 6: Construction-Step 4

This is what the back of the pedestal should look like now.  The hollow area in the back will allow you to add a french cleat to hang the pedestal flush on the wall.

Step 7: Construction- Step 5 the Cleat

Now, you need to cut two pieces of MDF 2" x 14" with a 45 deg. miter on each, to make the cleat that the pedestal will hang on.  After cutting the miter, I usually drill and countersink at least 3 holes  to attach the cleat to the wall.  By using a french cleat, the pedestal can be easily installed without any connectors showing from the front.

Step 8: Construction-Step 6 the Cleat

Now attach the other part of the cleat under the top surface and flush with the back.  

Step 9: Construction-Step 7 Attaching Cleat to the Wall

now the other half of the cleat need to be leveled and attached to the wall.  First I normally determine the height I want the pedestal at.  Then I attach the cleat to the wall with just the middle screw.  This allows the cleat to move up and down on this pivot for leveling.  After the cleat is level, put in the other two screws to hold in place.  Now hang the back, or the flat part of your shelf where the other cleat half is on the wall resting on this cleat.  This is just to test it to be sure everything fits properly before finishing and painting.

Step 10: Construction- Step 8 Finishing

Use wood filler to fill any nail holes or cracks, kinda like bondo.  Once filler is dry sand with a sanding block.  This keeps your edges nice and crisp.  If you use a power sander be aware that it might round over the edges.  After sanding, prime and paint the pedestal whatever color you like.  For most situations white is the standard color

Step 11: DONE!

Hang pedestal on the wall once the paint is dry and add art work.  You can also use paintable caulk to make the pedestal seamless with the wall to give the illusion of a natural protrusion from the wall.

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    9 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago

    How did you cut the 6x6 in. square in half? Or how do recommend cutting it in half if your square is too big to cut on a chop saw?


    Reply 1 year ago

    Haven't been on here in a while, but thank you


    1 year ago

    Very good!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sure, what type of work are you into? Check out Martin Puryear, Lee Bontecou, Tom Friedman just to name a few resources. As far as ideas for pieces, I have never ending concepts, forms, etc...