Introduction: Hooked: DIY Wall Shelf With Hooks

About: I am an architect in training. Graduated with a masters in Architecture Design. My masters research was in materials and its cultural heritage. I enjoy exploring diffrent materials and methods of working, alo…

This project has been many months in the making, stemming from the simple thought of how do I store all my bags 'fashionably'. Bags are one of those weird niche things that I end up collecting. It seems a shame to leave them in a pile in the closet. Like most projects this idea came after hours of mindless Pintrest scrolling, googling, spacing out, and soul searching.

I intended this project to use few tools and only hand tools. It is getting quite cold in Western New York, and I would like to limit the time spent outside on the porch sanding and cutting. The bulk of project can be completed with as few as 3 tools, and a diligent woodworker could have it done in a day. For those more equipped, A table saw and drill press would make quick work of this project.

I cover many topics in this Instructable, from Laser cutting fabrication, cold metal bending, some simple woodworking, and some knot tying.


This project is made out of

- Oak boards

- Rope cord

- 1/4" sanded face plywood

- 6 copper grounding wire

Tools I used

- Dewalt circular saw

- Dremel hand rotary tool

- Dewalt drill and driver

Step 1: Sizing the Wood

The boards for this project are left over oak from my pile of wood. These were originally bought from Home depot.


- (2) 4" wide by 4' long oak boards @3/4" thick


- Circular saw

- Straight edge OR Saw guide

- Tape measure

- Speed square


  1. If you are purchasing new wood, be sure to note the nominal width of the boards. Nominal sizes are the ACTUAL size of the wood. For instance, if you buy a 2x4 board, it is a nominal size of 1.5"x3.5". Home depot and Lowes typically list this on the tag (due to a law suit...)
  2. If, like myself, you are using some left over boards, you will need to size them. Begin by cutting the board to length. Measure out 4 inches, and use the speed square to make sure the cut is perpendicular to the side of the board.
  3. To cut the board to width without a table saw, the best option is to use a circular saw guide. This allows you to quickly set the cut width without the worry of moving straight edges.
  4. If using a straight edge, measure out and mark the cut. Next, measure the distance from the saw blade to the edge of the saw base. Mark this on the board. Clamp your straight edge to the board, and make the cut.
  5. I began by ripping a 1/8-1/4" off one edge of the board. The board I used was very ruff and a cut is much easier than sanding the edge.
  6. Next, I cut the board to the final width of 4". Be sure to hold the saw firmly against the guide, and against the board. While cutting hard woods, the saw likes to lift out of the board. This causes the cut to be at an angle, or even kick back.

Step 2: Drilling Holes

Like I said at the top, a drill press will make quick work of this step. However, if like myself you only have a hand drill, you'll do just fine.


- Hand drill

- 1" forstner bit

- Small drill bit (1/16")

- Straight edge ruler

- Tape measure


  1. Determine how to lay out the holes. For my shelf, I set the holes 1-1/2" from the bottom, separated 4" apart, and set in from the edge 3".

Step 3: Treating Wood

With the wood cut, its time to prep it before assembly. One piece was far older than the other, and had plenty more wear and dark streaks within the woods grain, which I enjoyed. To replicate the look and blend the new and old board together, I used a method that I used often.


- Acrylic paint


- Blade or sharp straight edge
- Rag

- Sand paper


  1. Start by sanding the pieces. It is best to have a smooth surface before proceeding. I started at 60 to get rid of the ruff patches, and worked up to 220 grit.
  2. When done, wipe the wood down with a dry rag to check for snags, then blow off the dust with an air hose.
  3. The next step varies by how you would like the wood to look when finished. For a more textured look, follow the instructions from my Concrete End Table. Using a wire brush will open up the pores in the oaks soft wood.
  4. For this project, I skipped the wire brush. This will lighten the amount of paint that can make it into the pores.
  5. I chose to use acrylic paint for this project. Begin by applying a heavy coat of acrylic to the surface. Use a rag to rub the paint into the pores and down the board.
  6. When the acrylic wont rub down the length of the board farther, use the rag to wipe the excess from the surface.
  7. Next, use sand paper to clean off the rest of the excess acrylic. Due to the pores, only the paint on the surface will be removed. I used 120 grit sandpaper to do this, although if the paint is harder to removed, work your way down the grits.
  8. Once all surfaces have been treated, let dry overnight.

Step 4: Finishing Holes

Granted this step could have been taken before treating the wood, or even before hand.


- Dremel or Router

- Small depth router bit


  1. For this, I used a Dremel. These are much easier to handle than a regular router. With a router base, you can purchase a set of bits for the Dremel to use.
  2. I used a scrap piece of oak to test how deep I wanted the router bit. For this project I used a chamfer bit, however a fillet bit would also work.
  3. I worked my way around the hole clockwise, against the direction the Dremel spins. (looking at the dremel, it is clockwise, but upside down, counter clockwise!)
  4. Take your time when doing this, moving too quickly could damage the wood or cause it to splinter.

Step 5: Assembly

Once dry, it's time to put it all together! There are plenty of routes of jointing, from complex woodworking, to glues and screws. For this method, I used finishing nails and screws to complete the slightly more rustic feel.


- Drill

- Driver

- Nail gun w/finish nails


- Danish oil

- Finish screws

- Glue


  1. Start by dry fitting the pieces to ensure they fit properly.
  2. Apply glue to the front edge of the top board. Apply a bead along the entire length, then use a finger or some scrap wood/cardboard to spread it out.
  3. Set this atop the board with holes. I used finishing nails to quickly set it into place. You can also use clamps and leave it for an hour till the glue sets. (Aint no body got time for that!)
  4. Next, set the side blocks. This will help square the two longer boards. I set them in from the side so they are not as clearly present. Glue them in place and use the nail gun to set them.
  5. Next, I used screws to tighten the joints into place. Again, this can be replaced by a set of clamps, depending on your preference of finish.
  6. I laid out tape where each screw was to be set, in order to darken the marks rather than mark onto the wood.
  7. I am using self taping wood, rather than drill pilot holes. Inset the screws into the wood, and tighten till the join in the back tightens up.
  8. Let dry overnight. Then, loosen the screws to remove the tape before resetting. Another option is to remove the screws, and drill out the hole. Then, set dowel rods into the hole, cut to length, and sand.
  9. When finished, sand the surface smooth at any joint. Then apply danish oil with a rag (or oil of choice)

Step 6: S-Hooks

I wanted to use something a little 'classier' then a clothing hook. S hooks can be bought from the store, but not at this larger size.


- Wire cutters


- #6 Copper Grounding Wire

- 3" pipe fittings


  1. Begin by finding the correct sized pipe fitting for the size of hook you want to make. I purchased 3" fittings. Attach these to a table/board so it doesn't slide around.
  2. #6 grounding wire is commonly used for grounding underground plumbing. This wire makes sturdy hooks that will hold their shape, while being easy to bend and shape. This can be found in any big box store, either in a packaged bag or in their "wire by the foot" rack.
  3. Begin by stretching out the spool of wire to get it semi straight.
  4. Measure out 1 foot of wire and cut with wire cutters.
  5. Use a scrap block of wood with a hole slightly larger than the wire drilled in it. Feed the wire through this hole to straighten out the wire.
  6. Wrap one open end around the 3" fitting, about 3/4 of the way around.
  7. Flip the wire around and wrap in the opposite direction.
  8. Work by hand the wire in order to get the desired shape.
  9. I then used a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the very end of the wire around to cleanly terminate the wire.

Step 7: Gravity Hooks

These are a fun addition to this project. I thought of using this as a great way to hang bags father down from the shelf, leaving more room for clothes and other items.


- Sand paper

- Wire cutters

- Pliers

- Laser cutter


- Johnson's paste was

- 1/4" plywood

- 1/4" Pronged T-nuts

- 1/4" flush finish bolts

- Rope cord


Designing the Hooks

  1. For this step, it is a near necessity to have access to a laser cutter or CNC. Without this, you could possibly use a jig saw and files to shape the hooks.
  2. Begin by laying our the design of the hook. Begin by laying out the top part of the hook. This will determine the overall size of the hook. I made mine at 3" long and cut them out to use to sketch.
  3. I used the top part as the template to begin laying out the hook portion. This portion would need to form a fulcrum in order to pivot around. Thus, the hole needs to be 1/2 the distance the holes are separated on the top parts.
  4. Next, I designed the hook for the bottom part. I did this by hand with a french curve to achieve a more organic shape.
  5. When finished, I snapped a picture of the sketch and imported it into Rhino (My preferred CAD modeling software) and drew it out in the computer.
  6. Export this in a compatible way to use with your laser cutter/CNC and cut it out.
  7. Next I quickly sanded down each face to remove the burn from the laser cutter, followed by applying wax paste to each piece with a rag.


  1. I assembled the hooks with T-nuts and bolts, to allow the hooks to pivot freely.
  2. Begin by trimming the pins from the back of the nuts with a pair of wire cutters. I used a small pair of pliers to flatten out the nut after the cut.
  3. Each hook consists of 3 top and 3 bottom parts. The T nuts need to be set into each hole of one top and one bottom piece. Set these 4 nuts using glue on the bottom of the nuts. Begin to layer the remaining pieces on top. Tighten the nuts down with bolts, using glue to hold into place. Do not set a bolt into the top hole of the hook, fill this with one last T-Nut. Loosen the bolts slightly so the hook can move freely. Follow the video for further clarification.

Tying the knot

  1. Once the glue has dried, its time to tie the cord for the hooks. For this step, I used a Uni knot, commonly used to tie fishing hooks.
  2. Feed the string through the top hole of the hook, pull about 18 inches of slack through the hole.
  3. Double over the string so that there are 3 lines of string, and its end points down.
  4. Take the remaining slack and wrap it around all 3 string parts, then tuck the loose end into the little loop left at the end of the warp.
  5. Pull the knot tight much like tightening a tie, by sliding the knot down towards the hook.

Step 8: Attaching to Wall

finally the moment of truth, time to attach to the wall! I never know what I am getting into when I decide to attach something to the wall. I live in an apartment that is a converted barn, so the studs are intermixed with barn beams.


- Driver

- Torpedo level

- Stud finder


- 2-1/2" screws


  1. Begin by using the stud finder to try to find studs. Swipe the finder left and right till it identifies something. Mark the left and right side of when the signal goes off. Always double check this mark either higher or lower on the wall to check for false positives.
  2. In my case, I only found one 6" wide "stud". This happened to be a barn beam. Other than this, and the studs on the left and right to attach the closet doors, there was NO studs in this wall! Apartment living....
  3. Due to this, I wanted to check for studs. I received a couple questionable positives from my stud finder, so I explored it with some finishing nails. You can use a hammer to sink finishing nails into the wall. If it sinks into the drywall, no stud. If it is hard to drive all the way in, stud!
  4. I marked the center of the wall between each closet door, I wanted to center the shelf between the two.
  5. I started 3 screws around the center of the backer board, then set the board on the wall and center it on the mark. I then drove the center screw into the board.
  6. Use the torpedo level to level the board, then drive the other two screws.
  7. I set two shorter screws into the left and right side of the board just to keep the board from tipping around. The center screws will be holding most the weight.
  8. Next, set screws on the top part of the shelf, so it is easier to drive them into the backer board.
  9. Set the shelf on the backer board and drive in the screws.

Step 9: Finish

This project has been a fantastic quick little project. I love when weeks of day dreaming, planning, sketching, and searching ends in a game plan, and it all comes together! Have fun with the ideas I lay out in this project.

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