Evan and I both paint so our walls are covered in art. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – but it means we don’t have much wall space for photos. However, we have these dining room shelves with extra space, so we sprung for some nice cherry hardwood (#treatyoself) to build this photo stand.
- Wood (the size and type is up to you)
- two 8×10 acrylic sheets (or whatever size works for you)
- A pocket hole jig
- Pocket hole screws
- Stainless steel standoffs
- Miter saw
- Sander or sandpaper
- Some sort of finish (we use this oil)
Step 1: Cut to Length
This photo stand is made of a front (vertical) face and a bottom (horizontal) base that meet at a 15 degree angle. It looks kinda like an upside down 7. If you’re a beginner, I’d suggest doing a 90 degree angle with these two pieces, so that it looks like an upside down T (⊥).
It can be whatever size you want. Our vertical face is about 13”x10.5” and our horizontal base is 13” x 5”.
If you found a piece of wood that’s wide enough, you’d just need to cut 1 piece for the front and 1 piece for the bottom. We made all the cuts on our miter saw. We fell in love with a particular piece of cherry wood that wasn’t wide enough, so we joined 2 pieces together for the front piece.
Step 2: Cut Angles
To make the 15 degree angle, cut 1 side of the bottom piece at 15 degrees and BOTH sides of the top piece at 15 degrees (so that the top of the top piece is parallel to the ground, and the bottom side of the top piece lines up with your bottom piece.) Again, we used our miter saw for this.
Step 3: Drill Pocket Holes
We drilled pocket holes into the bottom of our base using a pocket hole jig. We did two, though looking back we kinda wish we had done a third for good measure. We won’t attach the bottom piece to the top piece yet, but it’s easier to go ahead and make the pocket holes now.
Step 4: Attach Metal Stand-offs
To attach the first piece of the stand-off directly to the wood, we used our drill to make small pilot holes through both acrylic sheets and the wood at the same time. This ensures that everything lines up when we assemble it. After the pilot holes, we removed the acrylic sheets and screwed the bottom of the stand-offs to the wood.
Then we drilled larger holes through the acrylic only. Put a piece of scrap wood under your acrylic to prevent damaging your work table.
Step 5: Join the Wood
Joining the front and bottom pieces of wood was the only (somewhat) difficult part of this project. We built a custom jig to help us clamp the two pieces at this angle by cutting some scrap wood to fit on the outside and inside of the angle.
If you do a 90 degree angle instead of a 15 degree angle, clamping will be easy. Screw through your pocket holes to attach the two pieces.
Step 6: Sand and Add Finish
After joining, we sanded our edges with a random orbit sander and gave the whole thing a quick once over. Note, the once over would be easier to do before adding the metal stand-offs.
We finished with a single coat of our favorite wood oil.
Step 7: Assemble
Layer the acrylic sheets and your photo over the part of the stand-offs attached to the wood, then screw on the top part of your stand-offs.
We like this type of photo display because you could display a single photo like we did here or a grid of smaller photos. Hope you like the tutorial and let us know if you have any questions!
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