How to Build a Ledge Shelf with Crown Molding

Easy to Build Shelves

Shelves are one of those decor pieces one can never get enough of… They are versatile in the way that they can hold books, office or craft supplies, photo frames, or display pieces from a collection. While I am trying to improve my crown molding cutting skills, I came up with an easy tutorial on how to build a ledge shelf with crown molding. It can be a little tricky, but it is very easy to do, and several can be built in a day!

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  • Scraps of crown molding
  • 1×6 boards
  • Wood glue (<– affiliate link!)
  • 1-1/4″ brad nails
  • Dry Dex or paintable caulk


The shelves can be as long as you want them to be, so cut the 1×6 board to length first, then cut the bevel in the boards.

Set the rip fence on the table saw at the width of the board minus the thickness. In other words, I am using a 1×6 so I set the rip fence at 4-3/4″ from the blade, then tilted the blade to 45°. I ran the boards through the saw, then used a miter saw set at the same degree to cut the bevel in the sides.

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Cutting crown molding is very tricky. Crown molding comes in three different spring angles – 38°, 45°, and 52°. The scrap molding I am using is 38°. In order for the molding to fit on the 1×6 board correctly, the miters in the crown molding will have to be cut to correspond with the spring angle.  I use a jig (the Crown Pro jig from Kreg) which makes cutting crown molding very easy but crown molding can also be cut resting on the bed and fence of the miter saw.  You see, a regular cut is a tad harder to make on crown molding because it is a compound angle (an angle cut to both its vertical and horizontal planes) and a regular 45° cut won’t work. Sandra at Sawdust Girl does a fabulous job of explaining the cuts without using a jig. She just rocks like that and her article explains it way better than I ever could!

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I cut two pieces of molding to use as templates – one left outside corner and one right outside corner – in order to mark the bottom of the molding for the cut (the molding is cut upside down). I marked the length of the front of the board on my piece of molding. I lined up my templates on the piece, then marked the bottom to make the cut. It is easier to cut the piece a tad longer than the shelf because it can be trimmed to fit.

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Cut one piece with both ends cut for an outside corner, then cut two smaller pieces for the sides – one will have an outside left corner, and one will have an outside right corner. Horribly confusing, I know!

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Secure the longer front piece of  molding to the 1×6 using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails. Then position and secure the sides.

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Use Dry Dex or paintable caulk to fill any gaps where the molding pieces meet. I definitely use a filler because I still have a hard time getting the angles right. Then lightly sand and paint the shelves.

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To hang the shelves, a strip of a scrap 1×2 (shorter than the inside of the shelf) can be secured to the wall studs with screws. If the studs cannot be located, auger anchors would be the next best choice. Position the shelf over the 1×2, then place a couple of screws through the shelf into the top of the 1×2.

So what do you think – is it easy to build a ledge shelf with crown molding? Once I got the marking of the angles figured out, I thought it was easy peasy and cranked out several shelves over a weekend. I hope you find it easy, as well! Have any questions? Let me know at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Originally posted 2014-03-13 08:00:56.