April 18, 2013

Behind The Scenes: How-Tuesday

Yesterday we shared one of our latest weekend projects that was featured over on the Etsy How-Tuesday series — recycling a shipping pallet into an indoor/outdoor storage unit. Thanks for all the kind words and comments on the project! Today we thought it would be fun to give a little behind the scenes look into the project along with a little step-by-step for how we finally figured out how to work with our picture rail molding.

First up, a few behind-the-scenes shots. Mary as the shipping pallet Vanna White above — and me doing the test shot before we shot her:

She make's a much prettier Vanna, yes? It's funny — we always take a lot more photos than we ever end up actually using for any one blog post. In the end, for the How-Tuesday post, we decided to forgo any "people shots."

We snagged a couple shots of one another getting shots of the project:

And just as a reminder, always wear protective gear when using spray paint:

And here's one of the hazards of not wearing protective gloves:

I think I already told you that Mary played this one off as "nail art." I call it — entire hand art.

OK! Onto picture rail molding!

What is picture rail molding you might be wondering? It's basically a type of ornamental trim that has a protruding round lip, allowing for picture wire to hang from curved hooks on the molding. It's particularly popular in older homes like ours where the walls would have originally been made of plaster, since hammering nails into the wall would have damaged the plaster or the plaster material might not have been strong enough to support the weight of a heavy framed picture or painting.

Here are some inspiration shots we've been collecting since we realized we had picture rail molding to give you a better idea of how pictures hang from the molding:

Images sourced from Apartment Therapy and Little Green Notebook

See the last 5 silhouette renderings of classic trim molding types to get an idea of the "protruding lip" we were explaining above:

Image sourced from Blue Ox

We've really wanted to try using the picture rail molding in our house but didn't know the proper hardware to use or where to get it. After a little research and a visit to the more local of the hardware stores in Richmond (Hello, Pleasant's Hardware), we were all set to tackle hanging the pallet for some "final project pictures" from the picture rail molding in our living room. It turns out, they make molding hooks especially for picture rail molding. We went with a super basic hook just to get the job done for the project, but there are lots of ornate options out there to choose from.

For example, find several decorative options, including this one of Mary's favorited over on House of Antique Hardware:

We wanted to take the "after shots" of the indoor pallet version in our family room since we felt the bright spring yellow we painted it would pop best against the gray painted walls we have in this room. We didn't have plans to leave the pallet in this spot on the wall since we're actually using it for the outdoor option against our garage out back, but it was a great indoor fit for the shots.

I pulled out our old library ladder and got Brandon to help me. Once you have the correct hardware for picture rail molding, the rest is fairly straightforward. The hook is like an "S" shape so it can wrap around the curves of the molding.

We measured exactly halfway between the trim on the space of wall we'd be hanging the pallet and hammered the picture molding hook directly into the molding where we'd be hanging the central wire.

Once the hook was securely in place, we measured out and doubled the length of wire we'd need to have the pallet hang at our desired height (adding a little extra for wrapping the ends). After wrapping the excess wire tightly through and around the loops I'd screwed into the pallet, we were ready to hang our new storage shelf!

The end result? Voila:

Not too bad for our first attempt with picture rail molding, right?

Here's our favorite detail shot from the entire project:

After getting the shots for the post, we took the pallet back outside for use in the garden, and are now brainstorming what piece of framed art we could hang in that space with the wire from the picture rail molding since we thought it looked so cool and actually goes with the period of the house.

We originally had our giant metal letter "V" in this space, but are beginning to rethink it since we love the idea of hanging something with the wire. Wherever we end up, we'll be sure to keep you posted.


  1. Looks great! I'm intrigued, it looks like you just wrapped the wire onto itself to hold?

  2. Oh my goodness... a whole pallet being held up by one screw into the picture rail? Is that enough?

  3. So awesome! Thanks for posting the "how to" - I was looking forward to it from your previous post!


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