Build Our Mantel: Pottery Barn Decorative Ledge Knockoff

As promised here is a tutorial for our Pottery Barn Decorative Ledge Knockoff. Essentially the whole ledge boils down to two hollow “boxes” and some trim – and a lot of finishing.

By “knocking off” the ledge, we were able to customize it to fit our space – which would have been about a foot too small for the Pottery Barn ledge. We started with the larger “box” and built onto that.

DIY Pottery Barn Decorative Ledge Knockoff

The first thing Dean did was to cut out four pieces (a box without a top or bottom) from new pine. The front and back pieces were each 49 1/2 inches by 8 inches and the side pieces were 8 inches by 8 inches, all with mitred corners. These were nailed together with finishing nails. (You could use glue as well if you’d like, but it’s not necessary).

Then the second “box” was cut from some scrap we had in the shed. This was actually only three sides: one piece cut to 48 inches by 5 inches and two cut to 5 inches by 7 1/4 inches. Dean nailed these together on the mitred corners and then notched out a 3/4 inch square to tuck this box into the bigger box. Affix to the larger box with some more finishing nails.

The bottom was added. It is was a new piece of pine cut to 48 inches by 5 inches. No mitres. Notice the hollow box? This makes the ledge lighter to hang.

And then the top was added. This was also a new piece of pine, cut to 52 inches by 10 inches.

After that, it’s all about trimming it out.

We used upside down baseboard at the top, some smaller trim on top of that as well as under the big “box”. And we used some thin scraps to cover up the joint between the bottom and the lower box. Here’s a picture with the parts all labelled.

Does that make more sense?

After then entire piece was built, Dean filled all the nail holes and any gaps with DAP Drydex Spackling. It is pink when wet and then turns white when it’s dry. Love that stuff!

Then it was my turn. I sanded off all the excess DAP and wiped the entire thing with a dry cloth to remove all the sanding dust and debris.

Now as much as we love the profile shape of the ledge, we love the paint treatment even more.

Pottery Barn’s website says they stained their ledge first and then painted and distressed it. Since we were on a tight timeline for the Crafting With the Stars contest, I opted to paint two layers of chocolate brown as our base coat (to eliminate the oil stain and acrylic paint dry-time combination). I had a sample pot of a chocolate brown from Home Depot on hand already too, so that kept costs down.

After the brown paint was dry (maybe or maybe not helped along by a blow dryer), I used a large brush and long sweeping strokes to apply DecoArt’s Americana Weathered Wood Medium. I adore the natural looking chippy crackle this gives!

Then it was time for some old white paint. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but you could use a flat antique white.  I wanted to be sure that the paint was thin enough to sink into the crackle, so I dipped my Purdy brush (honestly the best brush around!) into the paint and then dipped it in a bit of water to thin just slightly. Again I used long sweeping strokes, this time over the Weathered Wood Medium. It took three thin coats, sinking into the crackle medium, to get the coverage I was going for.

Next up was the distressing. After helping the paint-drying along with my handy dandy blow dryer, I sanded edges and flat parts. Because this was a project for a knockoff competition, I kept my Pottery Barn inspiration photo nearby and focused my distressing on the same general areas as theirs. To add even more to the chippy look, I scraped a metal ruler edge along some parts to really peel the paint up. A quick wipe of the cloth removed all residual sanding dust and paint chips.

The final step was to seal the ledge. Using a lint-free white cloth (a decent facecloth or some cheesecloth will do), I rubbed Minwax Natural Finishing Paste Wax all over the entire piece. I wanted to add a little bit of aged colour too, so in some places I rubbed on some Minwax’s Dark Finishing Paste Wax over top of the natural wax. Again I looked at my Pottery Barn inspiration pictures.

We attached some keyhole hangers to the back and hung it up…

And voila! A finished knockoff of the Pottery Barn Decorative Ledge. Pottery Barn sells their ledge for $399 U.S. Since we had almost all the supplies on hand already, our ledge only cost us about $40. A tenth of the price!! We bought new wood for the bigger “box”, small trim and top ledge piece, some sandpaper, as well as some finishing nails. We had on hand the wood for the lower “box”, the baseboard and the thin wood that wraps around the bottom piece. We also had all the paint and brushes in our paint closet too.

So what do you think? I know we ask that all the time, but we really love to hear what you think! Do tell us. Do you love our ledge as much as we do?

P.S. We call this our mantel…see it all dressed for the seasons here, here and here.


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Time to Chat

  1. 1


    I love the weathered wood medium! Thanks for the tip! And your mantle/ledge looks great! Just the right amount of weathering and distressing. Good job!

  2. 7


    Hi, Shannon

    Love looking around your blog. Love the lovely piece you and your hubby created. I am stopping by from link party and I am a new follower. Have a great weekend.


  3. 11


    Seriously? This is the! I LOVE it…you did a great job! Now, it’s off to the hardware store to purchase my supplies so I can get started…I have literally been salivating over this piece in the catalog for over a month now knowing we could make it…$400 for essentially what’s just wood? No thank you! BUT thank YOU for the sweet tutorial! Linkin up!

    • 12

      aka design says

      Kennesha, you will so love it when it’s done!!!! Be sure to come back and show us when you it’s finished!

  4. 16


    Wow! This looks great! How inspiring… I’d love one of these in my home! Found you via Homemaker on a Dime.
    Now following you. :)
    PS – I’m going to pin this on Pinterest!

  5. 22

    Sarah says

    I really love this! I’m planning on building myself a mantel soon too… I really wish that our house had one for decorating seasonally & such. I’d love to know how you hung this on the wall.

  6. 23

    Kathie says

    Hi love your version WAY more than PB’s – both the price and the style! Do you have a tutorial for the FALL banner? Please say yes!

  7. 24

    Susan says

    I love the ledge/mantell!! I’ve always loved to decorate a mantel, especially for holidays. We just moved in June and our new house (scaled down) doesn’t have a fireplace OR mantel!! This is a great replacement or new touch!!!

  8. 26

    Deb says

    This is absolutely awesome! I have been asking my husband to build one of these for our fireplace and your plan is the best one I’ve seen!

    Can you give me the overall dimensions of your ledge? I think the top to bottom length will need to be altered to fit over our fireplace.

    Thanks for sharing!!!


  9. 28

    Kristin says

    LOVE this project (and hoping my hubby will be inspired too b/c I’ve got plans… ;-))! What a wonderful knock-off. Loved it so much I featured it on my blog Vignettes this weekend for a great weekend project idea! Hope your day is a great one…

  10. 30

    Peg says

    Just handed my husband the Pottery Barn catalog yesterday and asked him to make it for me. Now he has direction! Thanks so much for sharing. I love it!!

  11. 32



    Great tutorial! Had a go at this myself and have been really pleased with the result! Not as professional finish as yours Shannon & Dean, but I’m happy with it and it now sits proudly over our bed!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to create this great website and all the tips etc! Couldn’t have made this so successfully without the help here.

    Have a look at my finished attempt here:

    Cheers from the UK!

    Scott xx

  12. 34

    Angela says

    Hi. I love it!!! Even if I do love PB I do not like the high rip-off prices when someone as clever as yourself can reinvent the same at a fraction of the cost. Sorry PB!!! It is beautiful!
    Could you loan out your hubby. What a GREAT man to put together all of your ideas & you get to do the creative touches. You are very blessed. I have enjoyed looking at all of your DIY ideas this morning.
    Thank you for sharing. Angela

    • 35

      aka design says

      Hi Angela, I hear ya! I love PB and RH – I just cannot justify the prices!!! And I totally agree, I am very blessed to have Dean for my hubby! Glad you enjoyed poking around our little blog this morning!

  13. 36

    DCNGA says

    Great PB DIY! Thank you! Do you have an approximation of how much it weighed once completed? Where I would like to place it cannot handle excessive weight.

    Thank you!

    • 37

      aka design says

      I do not know what it weighed. It does need to be hung somewhere solid as it isn’t exactly light. Plus the display items on top add some weight too.

  14. 39

    Elizabeth says

    Hi! I just found your blog and I am very interested in learning how to make that barnwood-looking square that you have on the mantle. I have looked everywhere and can’t seem to find it. Could you direct me to the right page?