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.


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

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.)

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.

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. 

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