DIY “brass” gallery/shelf tipping rails (much cheaper!).
I have loved the look of this delicate brass gallery rail for years. They are usually installed along the front of shallow shelves as a beautiful decorative accent to prevent items from sliding off the shelves.
I love anything made of brass, but I especially love beautiful little details like these pillars and rails. I’ve been wanting to incorporate it into my basement kitchenette, but real brass options don’t come cheap.
I ended up creating my own version that I think looks and works just as great.
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These were very cheap (I spent less than $80 on the tiles) so I splurge.
adhesive tile setting mat
I really like the installation.
It makes installing tiles so much easier and faster with much less confusion. However, it’s more expensive than mortar, so you’ll pay for the convenience.
After tiling, injecting grout, and caulking along the countertop, I installed a long, shallow ledge just above the tile backsplash.
I used poplar wood for this project and had plans to drill holes in it. I usually use pine wood, but pine wood is soft and cracks easily.
Only 3 pieces of wood are required, but in my latest version I used only 2: the back part (mounted on the wall) and the bottom part.
I calculated the cost of the brass posts and rails for the long shelf (about 9 feet long) and it came to a total of $200. I’m happy to splurge, but I was hesitant to order because I thought I could make something similar for less.
then i saw
This post by my friend Carly, and the wheels began to turn. I went to a craft store to see what kind of wood I could find to make this.
For this DIY version to work, I needed to be able to drill a straight hole through the wood peg. As a test, I tried to drill a hole with one, but I couldn’t drill a straight hole.
So instead, I made a small holder/jig for my little man. 🙂 I firmly nailed some wood chips around it for a snug fit.
I wrapped it with painters tape to prevent the wood from splitting at the entry and exit of the drill.
The hole height should be consistent across all pegs so that the rails are level across the finished shelf. I marked the same location on each and used a 1/4 inch drill bit to drill the holes.
Once the dwarves were all done, I made sure the holes had a consistent height.
The one on the left is a test piece that I ended up not using.
Since these are wood, I lightly sanded the pegs before final painting to keep the grain from showing. It definitely helped make it look more like solid metal.
After cleaning the metal bars, I also sprayed them.
I think spraying them took longer than installing the whole thing. Spray it a little, let it dry, and flip it over. Spray it a little, let it dry, and flip it over. 😂 We recommend holding them and spraying them half at a time.
Once everything was dry, I lowered everything into the basement for spacing. There are 7 pegs, 2 of which were installed at the ends. So evenly spaced he placed five.
I used a small drill bit to drill a hole in the bottom of each peg.
Be careful not to split the wood along the way. The key to doing this is to go slow with the drill, starting with small bits and working your way up to larger bits as needed.
I used the same small bit to drill the first hole in the ledge followed by slightly larger holes.
A mistake I made in this project was drilling holes big enough for the screws to avoid splitting the wood when installing the pegs.
I attached a screw to the bottom of each peg from the bottom of the shelf.
Again, be patient and slow when installing the poles. I took the time to drill the holes first, so I never had any issues with the shelves or pegs splitting.
I lifted each metal bar to see where it should be cut, and used the metal blade of the vibrating tool to cut it. It only took a few seconds to reach halfway down the rod. Then I snapped off the excess.
If you plan to do this project and need a significant reduction,
this cheap hacksaw
A tool worth having.
Once everything is in place, the rails are going nowhere. It’s incredibly safe and holds up well against the frames and boards on this narrow shelf.
You can also use wooden dowel sticks for the rails, but they are not very sturdy, especially if there is more than food or something between the posts.
we love it! Friends came over this week and got lots of compliments on my cute DIY tipping rail. 🙂
It took a bit of work, but I saved over $180 by doing this myself. 3 rods were $12 for him and $4 for wooden pegs.
A closer look reveals that the ‘brass’ pillars are wooden, but require inspection. Unless you’re an expert on brass gallery rails, I don’t think anyone thinks anything of wood anyway. 😉
I’ll have a few more projects completed and shared here before I do a full tour of the space.
Creating my own version of this gallery rail project was well worth the time. Now thinking about where I can add these around the house. I love little decorative details.