How to Make a Simple Picture Display Rail

Show off this summer's collection of postcards and photos with this easy woodworking project.

If you've found that your photos never make it off of your phone or cards stay stashed in a storage box, give them the spotlight they deserve by creating your very own picture display rail for a desk, windowsill or mantel.

DIY Wooden Picture Display Rail


Tools and Materials:

1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 36" sanded, finish-ready wood board
measuring tape
pencil
chop saw
table saw
sandpaper
tung oil
lint-free dusting cloths

DIY Wooden Picture Display Rail

To get started, decide on the length you want your picture rail to be. To display many pieces of ephemera together, select a 20-inch length. Measure the length on your piece of wood and make your cut on the chop saw. (Tip: Use a higher-toothed blade and a sacrificial board behind your piece to help prevent tear-out.)

DIY Wooden Picture Display Rail

Set your table saw blade length to 1/2" and make your first pass with the wood board. Add a second opening by making an additional pass on the opposite side.

DIY Wooden Picture Display Rail

With your cuts made and display wells created, lightly sand the rail to remove any rough areas. Brush away any dust with a clean, lint-free cloth. Finish the display rail by adding a coat of tung oil to all four sides and each end. Depending on the stain you're hoping to achieve, allow the display rail to dry and then additional coats of tung oil. Let the piece dry completely before adding your picture, postcards, greeting cards and other paper souvenirs. 

Next Up

How to Make an Adjustable Dog Ramp

Are your fur babies having trouble getting up on the sofa or getting into the car? Build a portable ramp that extends from 16 to 30 inches so they can always be right next to you.

How to Make a Wooden Blanket Ladder

This easy blanket ladder project is the perfect handmade accessory for storing and displaying quilts and throws.

How to Refinish Wood Furniture

Follow these simple steps on how to refinish wood furniture that include stripping, sanding and staining.

How to Make a DIY Floating Frame for Canvas Art

Give your canvas artwork an easy, sleek upgrade by creating a DIY floating frame using scrap wood. It only takes a few easy steps to give your space a trendy refresh.

How to Make a Decorative Pegboard Shelf

Need wall storage but can’t find just the right shelving unit? Try this modern take on an old-school storage idea. It’s easy to build and you can customize the colors however you’d like.

How to Build a Ledge Bookshelf

Learn how to build narrow floating shelves that are perfect for a kid’s room or living area, or any small space.

How to Make an Outdoor Spiral Bench With Built-In Planters

A bench doesn’t have to be a rectangle or square. Learn how to build a three-sided spiral bench with built-in planter boxes.

How to Make a Combination Outdoor Planter and Privacy Screen

Gain some privacy in style with this easy-to-build privacy screen great for small decks or patios.

How to Paint a Wooden Outdoor Barn Quilt

Looking to add color and style to your porch or patio? Check out how easy it is to make a decorative quilt barn to hang in your outdoor or indoor space.

How to Build a Murphy Bed

Get step-by-step instructions on how to construct a hideaway bed for a studio apartment or guest bedroom.

What's New in Handmade

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.