Picture of Magnetic Key Shelf

Problem: So, it's spring and time to clean up our house again. Like many people, we have a collection of car keys, house keys, work keys, wallets, cell phones, dog leashes, and other odds and ends that collect on a table inside our entry door. We have a shallow pewter bowl that collects all of those things that we need to get before we leave the house and it's always overflowing.

Solution: My wife noticed in a magazine a wooden shelf for sale at Meriweather Field Gear a wonderfully creative wooden shelf with embedded rare earth magnets for organizing the type of mess that we were dealing with. I liked the product but the particular shelf that they had available was only 12" and had only 3 magnets. I knew that I could make something more suitable for our space.

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Picture of Materials and Equipment

Materials Needed:

24" x 3" x 1" craft wood board (red oak)

24" x 4" x 1" craft wood board (red oak)

(I think these were around $7 together)

3/4" spade drill bit


2 medium sized tension clamps

6 3/4" round x 1/8" round rare earth magnets - available from Magcraft through Amazon. Cost was about $17 with shipping.

Wood glue - Elmer's is what I used, but any brand is good for this

Elmer's Probond glue - nice specialty glue that I used to glue in the magnets

Sharpie (not pictured)

Tension clamps

Wood stain - I used MinWax English Oak and Antique Walnut

Polyurethane - I used Behr semi-gloss

Brushes or rags to apply the above

2 #12 3" brass wood screws

Wall anchors to fit the above screws if you're not putting this into a stud

3-5 standard 2" wood screws

6 #10 3/4" wood screws (1/2" might have been better but I didn't have any)

3366carlos1 year ago

awesome! I used little hooks on mine, but magnet would be nices

gkohy1 year ago
does the magnet effects the car keys?
Bannockburn (author)  gkohy1 year ago

No, although the magnet is very strong, it should have no effect on key fobs.

Although if you have a keychain debit card- I've only seen one in all my years- (today coincidentally is my birthday and I'm still sinking into the idea I'm getting old so no, I will not mention my age ;)) on my twin sister's keychain so they aren't all that common but they are out there- the magnetic strip on the keychain card can have it's data get stripped and no longer function so I wouldn't suggest someone with one of those use this key rack, but it should not effect anything else.

I was also slightly worried about the effect the magnet may have on car key fobs. I've found an old magnetic knife holder designed for the kitchen which I was thinking about I bedding into the shelf to have one long magnetic strip as opposed to multiple different single magnets. Would a stronger magnet have an effect on the key fobs at all?

Bannockburn (author)  spaxton21 year ago

Generally no because key fobs use RFID chips instead of magnets. A very strong magnet could potentially be a problem but you're talking a strong electromagnet not something "weak" like these ferro or ceramic magnets.

cosmicbowler made it!1 year ago

That's awesome! I made my own slightly different version. To the Cloud!

Cloud Keys.jpg
Bannockburn (author)  cosmicbowler1 year ago

awesome, CB!

Great instructable and great use of neodymium magnets!

apperrault1 year ago

I am going to ask what may be a newbie/naive question but why not get regular industrial magnets? My wife and I are having our house painted and looking for a new key/stuff storage solution. This may just be what we are looking for

Because because regular industrial magnets are surprisingly weak and depending on the weight of your keychains, the amount of keys on the individual keychains, weight of the lanyards (etc.), they may weigh too much for regular industrial magnets. Also, something as simple as the vibration of a door opening and closing could knock the keys down but the chances of this happening is negated with a stronger magnet.

Cambenora1 year ago
Aha! I've finally found a use for those old HDD magnets I've got lying around. Great instructable, Bannockburn!

Nice shelf and great instructable--even I could make one now. thanks!

Good idea thanks!

Great idea! Easy to grab and go!

Bannockburn (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago

Thanks Penolopy, that was the intent. Glad you like it.

kenbob1 year ago

I like this! good job.

Yatam1 year ago
Very nice! I like the idea and the looks very much! Gonna try that sometime!