Combine wood and marble to create a display shelf with clean lines and an appealing natural look.
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From a 1 x 4 board, cut two pieces about 33 inches long for the frame rails (A). Miter one end of each piece. Stack the pieces and miter-cut the other ends to length (Tile Display Shelf Project Diagram). Repeat for the frame stiles (B).
By stacking the boards to cut opposite parts the same length, you’ll help the frame go together without gaps in the corners.
Cut the plywood back (C) to size. If you don’t have a circular saw or table saw, have a Lowe’s associate cut the plywood back to size in the store.
Glue and tape the frame together on a flat surface. Check the corners with a square. Remove the tape after the glue dries and sand the outside face smooth.
The frame and back are sized to work with the marble subway tiles shown. If you prefer a different type of tile, resize the frame and back as needed to suit the tile layout.
Apply a thin bead of wood glue to the plywood back (C) about 1/2 inch from the edges. Position the plywood on the back of the frame to leave 1/2-inch insets between the plywood edges and the outside frame edges. Drill 7/64-inch pilot holes -- taking care to avoid breaking through the front frame face -- and screw the back to the frame.
Drill 7/64-inch pilot holes through the back 3/8 inch up from the inside edge of the bottom frame piece. Measure between the inside edges of the frame and cut the shelf (D) to length. Hold the shelf in place against the inside edge of the bottom frame piece, and extend the pilot holes in the back into the edge of the shelf. Glue and screw the shelf to the plywood back.
Apply a clear or painted finish of your choice to the frame, shelf, and back. Sand lightly and add a second and third coat as needed.
Cut two of the marble tiles in half and dry-assemble the tiles on the back to check for fit. (Tiles should fit loosely.) Beginning in one corner, use construction adhesive to fasten a half-tile to the plywood back. Add three whole tiles and a half tile to complete the first row. Then glue four whole tiles for the second row. Repeat for the remaining two rows with staggered grout lines.
If you prefer a different tile pattern, you can also stack whole tiles instead of staggering the edges.
Drill pilot holes and install two D-ring hangers on the back.
Designed as a display shelf, this project also works as a place to drop off keys and mail by an entryway.