Introduction: Wall Organizers

I like to keep my sewing/craft room neat and put away but at the same time I like to have commonly used items in easy reach.  I like the idea of having pegboards to hang tools on but don't like the cluttered look they give the walls.  Same with thread organizers and stands.  Having thread out in the open means it can get dusty and sunlight can fade and damage the thread so it's best to have it stored away.  My solution was to build a couple of wall organizers that keep tools covered but still let me get to them quickly and easily.

I covered my wall organizers in fabric and ribbon in the stye of a memo board but you could use any covering you like. I think these would be fun using artwork or a picture frame as the cover as well.

Memo board, artwork, picture  frame, etc. for cover
1 x 2 pine board  (about 75" total cut into 2 - 16" pieces and 2 - 20" pieces)
1/2" square dowels (about 75" cut into 2 - 16" pieces and 2 - 20" pieces)
2 small hinges
1 small box latch type closure
wood screws
finishing nails
wood glue
picture hanging brackets or wire

For the thread holder version:
1/2" square dowels (cut into 5 - 14.5" pieces)
3/16" round dowels (cut into 3" pieces 50-60 pieces depending upon your choice of spacing, see step 3)
5 wooden knobs

For the pegboard version:
14.5 x 17.5 piece of pegboard
1 x 2 scrap for 1/2" blocks (see step 5)

Step 1: Pick a Cover

The first step is to decide what you want to use for your cover.  I used two memo boards (which I also made) but you can use anything you like.  How about some favorite artwork, a couple picture frames, maybe some posters, or a bulletin board or whiteboard. 

If you want use a poster or unmounted artwork you'll need to mount it to some type of backing.  If you're using a picture frame or already framed art you probably won't need to do this step.  My memo board was made with plywood paneling as the back and this worked fine.

Measure your cover.  Mine is 16 x 20 so those are the dimensions I'll be using for the rest of this tutorial.  If your cover is a different size you'll have to adjust accordingly.

Step 2: Build the Frame

If you're making the pegboard version:

Take the 1x2 pieces and join them to create a box that is the same size or slightly smaller than your cover.  I chose to use mitered corners for mine but straight corners would be just fine as well.  For mitered corners cut the 1x2s at a 45 degree angle on the widest edge so that the resulting box is 2" deep (actually 1 1/2" since that is actual size of a 1x2).  Glue each corner and clamp until dry.  I used a couple of small finishing nails to reinforce the corners. You could do the same or use wood screws.

Take the 1/2 square dowels and do the same thing to create another frame the exact same size as the 1x2 frame.

If you're making the thread holder version:

For the thread rack you may want to drill the holes for the dowels before you assemble the frame.  Take your 20" pieces and pencil a line down the center of each board along the 1 1/2" side.  Along this line mark at 1 1/2", 5", 8 1/2", 12 1/2", and 16 1/2".  On one board drill a 1/4" hole at each mark going all the way through the board.  On the second board drill a hole at each mark but only dill half way through the board. You want this hole to only be 1/4" deep so mark the drill bit at this depth and be careful not to drill all the way through the board.  Use a drill stop if you have one.  Make sure the holes are drilled on the inside facing side of the 1x2 so that when assembled the holes are on the inside of the frame facing upward.

Build the frames as described above but only glue up three sides of the 1x2 frame.  Attach the two short sides to the long piece with the holes only 1/2 way through.  You'll attach the final side after you insert the thread holders.

Step 3: Thread Holders

Below is how I made the thread holders.  If you want to avoid the tediousness of  this step or if you already have one you could take apart a premade thread rack and use the holders in this wall organizer. 

I used 1/2" square dowels for the uprights.  Cut 5 of these 14 1/2" long. 

Next decide the placement of the holders.  I use both the narrow thread spools (like Gutermann) and wider (normal sized) spools so I wanted space for both sizes.  I made two of my uprights for narrow spools and three for normal spools. You can choose any configuration that works for you.

For the narrow spools I marked the square dowel at 1" intervals (starting at 1/2" from the end) for 14 holders per upright.  For the wider spools I marked them at 1 1/2" intervals for 10 holders per upright.  At each mark drill a hole half way through the square dowel.  I angled mine slightly upward (approximately 70 degrees) but a straight 90 degrees is fine (and easier to drill).

On either long end of the square upright drill a 3/16" hole in the center 1/4" deep .  These will be for the round dowels that are used for the handles and pivot points.  Cut the 3/16" round dowels into 5 pieces 1 1/2" long and 5 pieces 1/2" long.

Cut the 3/16" dowels into 3" pieces.  I used 58 pieces...depending upon the spool spacing you decided on your number may vary.

Into each hole you drilled place a drop of wood glue and then insert a 3" dowel piece.  On one end of the square upright glue a 1/2" dowel piece and on the other end glue a 1 1/2" piece.  If you placed the dowels at a slight angle (like I did) make sure that the 1 1/2" piece is attached to the top of the square upright with the 3" dowels angled upward.  Allow the glue to dry. 

Step 4: Finalizing the Thread Holder Frame

Finish the thread holder frame.  Place each square upright into the frame. The end with the 1/2" dowels (which should now be attached into each upright with only about 1/4" remaining exposed) should sit into the holes on the bottom of the frame.  Place the top of the frame so that 1 1/2" dowel pieces at the top of each upright go through the holes in the frame. 

Glue and nail or screw the corners together and allow to dry. 

The final step is to glue the knobs onto the top of the dowels above the frame. Be careful not to use to much glue and don't let it drip or run down into the frame or you will glue the uprights and prevent them from being able to rotate.   I found some small wooden knobs in the craft woodworking section that looked like small pots and had a center hole the right size to fit over the dowels.  If you can find something similar great, otherwise you could use a wooden ball and drill out a hole to fit over the dowel.  Or even just leave the dowel ends as is.  The idea is just to have something to grab onto and use to rotate the upright so you can remove the thread spools.

Step 5: Attaching the Pegboard

To make the pegboard organizer you need some attachment points to secure the pegboard to the frame.

Take the scrap cutoff ends of the 1x2 board and cut 4 blocks.  You want to create a block that is about 1/2" deep.  This creates a bit of space between the wall and the pegboard (if the pegboard is too close to the wall you won't be able to slide the hooks and hangers onto the pegboard).  Onto each corner of  the 1x2" frame glue one of these scrap blocks.  Attach them so they are flush with the back of the frame.  Allow the glue to completely dry.  

Take your piece of pegboard and lay it into the frame.  It should be resting on the corner blocks with about an inch of space between it and the surface of the frame.  Place a wood screw through the pegboard into the block at each corner.

Step 6: Attach Cover to Frame

Take your smaller frame, made from the 1/2" square dowels and attach it to the back of your cover.  I used 5/8" wood screws to screw through the 1/2" dowels and into the plywood back of my memo board.  If you used a picture frame or other thicker material  for your cover you may want to use longer screws.  Whatever it takes to securely attach the cover to the smaller frame.

Step 7: Finalizing the Organizers

You should now have one smaller frame with the cover attached and a 1x2 frame with either thread holders or pegboard attached.

Use two hinges to attach the cover frame to the 1x2 frame as seen in the 1st picture. 

Place a small latch closure on the outside of the frame to hold the cover closed as seen in the second picture.

Finally add a hanging system to the back.  I used picture hanging wire (as seen in the 3rd picture) but you can use any type of hanger you like.

Hang the organizers on your wall.  I ended up adding a couple of L brackets to help secure my organizers to the wall so they couldn't tilt while in use.  Depending on your hanging system you may or may not need these.  Just make sure it is secure to the wall and doesn't move when the cover is swung open.

Enjoy having all your tools neat and organized!

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