Hey guys! Today we’re gonna walk through how to make an easy DIY entryway coat rack, magnetic key holder, organizer shelf…. DIY thing to put your stuff on when you walk through the door.
We’ve included plans for this project but it’s really customizable. You could make it any length you want, rearrange the shelves, have more or less hooks, etc, whatever best fits your space and needs. Have a tiny wall? Make a 2-ft version with one shelf. Got 8 kids? Well you’re gonna need a lot more hooks my friend. You get the idea.
This is a great project if you’re new to DIY and woodworking and don’t have a ton of tools. We just use two power tools and some basic supplies. See below for the full list of tools and materials, plus some optional stuff that will make things a little easier but aren’t 100% necessary.
TOOLS / MATERIALS:
- Knobs or hooks (we used these)
- Sawtooth hangers or heavy keyhole hangers
- Circular saw
- Neodymium magnets
- Hand saw
- Speed square
- Fine grit sanding sponge
- 600 grit sandpaper (or 320 if you have a light hand)
- Super glue/CA glue
- 1x8 premium pine (for the backing)
- 1x4 premium pine (for the shelves)
- ¾” square dowel (for the shelf lip)
Step 1: Make Circular Saw Jig (optional)
We made all our cuts with the circular saw, but lining up the blade can be tricky, so here is a quick tip if you want really accurate cuts:
Make a jig using a scrap piece. Raise the blade so it doesn’t cut all the way through, clamp a speed square to the scrap, mark a line where the speed square is, and cut a groove. Now you have a guide that shows you where the blade will cut when you line up the speed square with the mark. We used this to line up our cuts.
Technically, instead of a groove you could just cut through the scrap piece, but the groove shows you the thickness of your cut.
Use the jig to mark where your speed square should be clamped, and clamp it to the piece you’re cutting.
Step 2: Make Your Cuts
We cut the 1x8 first, since it will make up the backing the runs the length of the entire organizer, and everything else will be based off that. For our space, we cut it to 35”, but you can make this length whatever you want.
Then we cut two pieces of 1x4. We cut one piece to 24” for the higher shelf, and one to 9-¾” for the lower shelf. We wanted the shorter shelf to be wide enough to hold an envelope so we could put mail there, and we eyeballed what length we thought would look good for the longer shelf. We also cut a square ¾” dowel the same length as the shorter shelf to act as a shelf lip.
After our cuts, we gave everything a light sanding with fine grit sanding sponge (which we love BTW, since it's flexible it wraps around wood corners easily).
Step 3: Attach Large Shelf
We didn’t do any fancy joinery for this build, everything is connected with countersunk screws placed in spots that won’t be seen.
First we attached the long shelf to the backing. On the back of the backing, we traced out where we wanted the shelf to be and marked three points to drill through. First we drilled pilot holes through just the backing, not into the shelf. Then we clamped the shelf to the backing and used our pilot holes as guides to drill into the shelf. We used a countersink bit so our screws would be flush. Then we screwed through the backing and into our shelves.
Step 4: Add Magnets, Attach Small Shelf
We used a similar method (pilot holes - drill through pilot holes into piece you’re attaching - screw through pieces) to attach the dowel as a shelf lip to our shorter shelf. The lip shifted slightly as we attached it so it was a little off, but we sanded it down to even it out.
Before we attached the shorter shelf to our backing, we drilled shallow holes into the bottom of it to embed 3/8" neodymium magnets. To know how deep to drill, we placed a magnet next to the bit and placed tape on the bit that marked the height of the magnet. We used a couple drops of our favorite CA glue in the holes we drilled to attach the magnets. We also had a slight moment of panic because we didn’t have a hammer or mallet with us so we grabbed a nearby piece of 2x4 to pound the magnets in. It worked!
Step 5: Finishing
To finish, we stained the wood, did a couple coats of shellac, and a light coat of wax. At a minimum, we’d suggest doing the shellac because it gives it a nice sheen and some water resistance (a good thing to have if you’re hanging a wet raincoat).
We used Minwax stain in “golden pecan” because we wanted a light color with warm undertones that still let the wood grain show through. We wiped it on with rags and wiped off any excess, then let it dry overnight.
The next day we applied two coats of clear shellac with foam brushes, letting it dry an hour or so in between coats. Shellac raises the grain, so you need to sand after each coat. We had some 600 grit sandpaper so we used that, but you could probably use 320 if you have a reeeeeally light hand.
Then we applied a thin layer of Briwax and buffed it out by hand with a shop towel. In the past, we’ve also buffed it out by placing a microfiber cloth under our orbital sander and doing that (link here if you wanna see that).
Step 6: Adding Hardware
In terms of hardware, we added four hooks on the front and two sawtooth hangers on the back.
We got sawtooth hangers that attach to the piece with screws rather than tiny nails because it seemed more secure. We drilled small pilot holes into the backing and screwed in the screws by hand because we were pretty close to the edge.
For hooks, we went with these bath towel hooks on Amazon. They’re only $11 for the set of four, whereas most coat hanging hooks used for this kind of thing would run you $20-$40 for four. Crazy! You screw them in from the front in a few places, cover the screws with a back place, and twist on the hook. Easy peasy.
Don’t think this counts as hardware, but lastly we added little rubber feet to the back so it would hang straight and not scratch up the wall.
Step 7: Enjoy!
And that’s it! Hope you guys enjoyed this easy and flexible project. We’d love to see any variations you end up making so please tag us @evanandkatelyn if you post any photos, and as always, let us know if you have any questions!
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