Picture of Magnetic Tool Rack
A thrifty, nifty method to make a good looking tool rack for your lab, garage or shop using recycled materials and magnets.

When we moved into our new house the lovely missus let me have a room down in the basement to make into a hobby room. But only on one condition. That the room remains neat and tidy! So in an attempt to get organized I needed a workbench and tool rack that wouldn't blow the budget.

Find in the next few steps how I did it , and take from it what you need to construct your own set of racks that meet your needs.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials
I found a set of old and busted metal shelves in the garbage, and knew I could ressurect them into something I could use.

You might be able to find shelves in the garbage, or you can buy a new set at most home centres or IKEA. These shelves were 36"x18" and were rusty.

I used salvaged 1" thick pine boards for the frame and tool holders, that were used at one time to hold a futon mattress off the ground.

I picked up the rare earth magnets at Lee Valley tools. (

I used the following
3/4" Rare earth magnets. Part # 99K32.11
3/4" rare earth magnet cups. Part # 99K32.54
Anti-slip magnet discs. Part # 99K34.53

1/2" flat head screws
3/4" self tapping metal screws
3/4" wood screws

Step 2: Tools Used

Picture of Tools Used
I used the following tools to get the job done.

Hand Tools
Clamps (Can you ever have enough?) Clamps are optional if you have some buddies around to help you hold the frame while you drill

7/8" forstner bit for drilling the recess for the magnet cup. You could also try a spade bit, but the point of the bit may come through your work

Other drill bits for drilling pilot holes and holes for your tools

Wire brush

Power Tools:
Cordless/Cord drill
Table saw
Mitre (chop) saw. You can use a hand mitre saw, or even a jigsaw if you are not picky about your joints
Drill Press (optional)

Rust paint
Sandpaper (60,100,120,220) grit
Wood Glue
pfred18 years ago
Here's a tool organizer that makes use of magnets:
It looks pretty neat to me!
yep,,space necessity is the mother of invention,nice job of producing it
Rokko86524 years ago
Very, VERY nice idea you have going on here. I'm cheap and lazy and no longer have even a fraction of the tools I had, and that added to a lack of funds is making me stick to my trusty pegboard.
I have those same orange handled pliers set, really handy! I love the idea of being able to move the tools around easily for projects you're working on at the moment. Have you found that any of your tools have become magnetized because of being on the board?
fingers are over rated.
bfk6 years ago
Awesome idea! And when I need to, I can just lift the socket wrench holder off, carry it out to the driveway and stick it to the fender of my truck!:) I wonder if the local home supply store has any dented, flush steel doors they plan to scrap? That would be two 7-1/2' x 3' panels I could use.
packrathacker (author)  bfk6 years ago
Check out IKEA. They have metal shelves that would work ok. I am considering using them for another magnet project
that is really cool! +1
That is super nice. I have to reorganize my garage and this will work perfectly.
bdl7 years ago
That is one of the tidiest workshop spaces I've seen (apart form the Great Norm Abrams). Fantastic instructable though. Very nicely done. Keep 'em coming.
Ferrite8 years ago
This is a much better type of tool rack instead of the magnetic strip variety.
Dude, that's awesome. I really need to make one of those, my dad's so anal about his shop being clean, I think that would help alot
enigma4878 years ago
i can't help but notice that between the picture that comments on the removed guard and the gluing, that a band-aid appears on your thumb....
packrathacker (author)  enigma4878 years ago
Ya....unrelated accident. I was testing some jack stands and pinched my thumb in the cam. V. painful and it bled like crazy. I know I should put the guard on the table saw, but I am v. careful to keep my fingers away (famous last words) .
Jesus105558 years ago
Thats really neat! I hope one day when I have a space of my own, to put up one of these. good work! :)
appsman8 years ago
OK, fess up. What did you do to your left thumb? The best safety training is hearing about other people's "Ooops". At least there's still a whole digit in there.
packrathacker (author)  appsman8 years ago
Unrelated accident. I was testing some jack stands by pushing down with my hand... unbeknowst to me the pin wasn't in all the way and I slammed my thumb in between the base and the stand... It was pretty painful and there was lots of blood...but I'm feeling much better now :)
pronteon8 years ago
Very clever and useful. I've never seen cup shaped magnets before. Nice.
packrathacker (author)  pronteon8 years ago
The Lee Valley site has a little snippet on how the magnets and cups work together
Thanks for the link! Not too pricey after all.
packrathacker (author)  pronteon8 years ago
Actually the cups are just steel, but there are machined to fit the magnets perfectly. The cups "redistribute" (for lack of a better term) the magnetic field and give the magnet much greater holding force.
gfixler8 years ago
Fantastic work. I think this will be a nice future addition to my hallway/pretend shop (tiny apartment, *sigh*).
packrathacker (author) 8 years ago
I appreciate all the kind words. Thanks guys
mikesty8 years ago
Damn, this is fantastic. You definitely have my vote for best magnet project! It's so clean and awesome. Basically, fridge mags for manly men :)
lsocoee8 years ago
nice looking and clean rack, but I have to say I think you need to reclaim some ownership. If your marriage is anything like mine, then your wife owns most of the house, but I draw the line at the theater and the garage. She has no say-so in those areas. It's a matter of principal-also, if I give an inch, she'll take a mile.
Eh, uh, nice rack. I mean...Nevermind..
techlore8 years ago
Great Instructable and a nice simple idea with great possibilities. Thanks for sharing. Hope my desk is never as messy as Crash's. LOL
radiorental8 years ago
very nice
Good Idea. I agree with Crash.... It's still cleaner then Crash's desk :P And alot cleaner then my room right now... Got a pile of junk here and there and everywhere (I was going to put under where, but that just sounds silly :D ). Now if I only had the wall space :(
Crash21088 years ago
Hell, it's still cleaner than my desk.