I was working on a tight budget and organization in my shop was in dire need. So I spent less than $10 specifically towards a project to organize my shop. The goal was to make something to organize my shop very cheaply, to make something that could be made and changed easily, and to reduce some of trash. In the end, the project filled all of my goals very satisfactorily.
*THIS PROJECT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO COST NOTHING*
I spent less than $10 specifically towards this project. Almost everything was scavenged, recycled, or reused. But everything doesn't have to be scavenged; most of it can be bought at a standard hardware store or even a supermarket.
Step 1: Gather the Materials
Implements of the tool wall:
- Mice/rat traps. We had a mouse problem a while back, but after it went away these traps went unused and stayed in the basement. These will be used to hold notes and receipts.
- A garden hose. One hose was just gathering mold and dust in the garage, so I decided to make something new with it. This was a pretty key part in the project; it will hold all the thin tools on the wall, such as screwdrivers.
- A large funnel. This was actually part of the little bit of expenses that I had on this project. Something about the old multi-chemical-splattered funnel in the garage did not appeal to use to me. This will make a nifty dispenser for twine.
- Clothespins. One of my projects a while back involved clothespins and the extra went unused for a while. I used a few to hold odd tools like files, but they could also potentially work similar to mice traps.
- Aluminum Cans. We recycle many cans every week in the normal recycling pick up, but I decided to see if I could do something more useful with them. They will hold the larger and heavier tools, such as hammers.
- Plastic sauce containers/small take-out containers. Every time we order take-out food such as Indian, we receive several of these small plastic containers filled with different sauces. Rarely do we use these sauces, and the containers always end up in the recycling bin. Well, I used the containers to organize small parts and pieces.
- A large sheet of plywood. When I was experimenting with ideas for this project, I came across a sheet of plywood being thrown out at the hardware store. Well to them the plywood was worth using, but for me it was perfect. The plywood will hold all of the implements of the tool wall.
- A bit of two-by-four. I had some spare wood around the shop and decided it to use it as a shelf on the wall for the sauce containers.
- Some screen-door eyes. Usually these are used on screen doors or some other basic door; it is the metal hook and loop that locks the door. What you are going to do use is the loops. I had some lying around in the shop, but you can easily buy them at a hardware store. These are needed in suspending the wall.
- Some fairly long nails and screws. I again had some extra parts of the project lying around the shop, this time it is some nails and screws. For both the nails and screws the particular size doesn't matter, but the nails should be pretty thin. The screws will hold everything on the wall in place, nuts are particularly needed. The nails will be used in suspending the wall.
- Duct Tape. Duct Tape will protect your fingers from being cut by the cut aluminum can, by covering all cut edges.
- Scotch Tape. I used this to assist markings in drilling in the shelf.
- Strong Glue. Can be helpful with immobilizing the clothespin.
- Some strong string. You will need this to suspend your tool wall.
- A power drill. Many factors of the wall will involve drilling, this tool is especially needed.
- Ahammer. Will be used to hammer in the nails to suspend the wall.
- Various screwdrivers and wrenches. Depending on the screws you will be using (for me a used a few different ones) you will need to somehow screw them in.
- C-clamps. C-clamps will help with drilling but are not needed.
- Some garden scissors or other strong scissors. You will need this to cut the hose.
- An Exacto Knife. Any will do. Will be used to cut the aluminum cans.
- Sharpies. Many things will need marking and some of these could be helpful.
- A ruler. Some things will involve measuring, so a ruler is helpful.
- Sandpaper. This will be used to flatten out clothespins to help the drilling.
- An awl. An awl will be used to help start the drilling through the clothespins.
Step 2: Add the Mice Traps
Mice Traps are an easy way to organize receipts and/or notes. Before you screw them in it can be helpful to lay out where you want them on the plywood.
First, drill a hole through the traps above the metal part of the trap. You should have your hole centered, and it should be bigger than your screw.
Next, make a mark through the drilled hole onto the plywood. Drill a hole here smaller (or larger depending on whether you are using bolts or not) through the plywood.
Finally, screw in the traps.
Step 3: Add the Funnel
Funnels will be an easy way to dispense twine or string. My funnel conveniently had a hole already in its lip, so I avoided drilling. If yours does not, just drill a hole through the lip. We will mark where to drill on the plywood, then drill through the plywood, and screw in the funnel. The lip has to bend to get a tight and strong connection with the plywood, so don't be afraid by the bending.
Step 4: Add the Hose Bits
Bits of hose screwed into the wall will be good for holding thin tools with handles, such as screwdrivers.
First, cut off the end of the hose. Then make a mark five inches from the end and cut the hose here. Make another mark one inch from the end of your hose bit.
Now, on this mark you want to try to cut halfway through the hose. A hose has to sides; you want to cut only one. My garden trimmers did a good job at doing this, doing it almost automatically.
Next, cut vertically from the top of the hose closest to the half-cut. Cut all the way to the end of the half-cut. Cut again vertically to leave a small tab of hose left on the hose bit.
Drill a hole in the middle of the hose tab bigger than your screw. Make a mark on the plywood where you want to drill and drill through the plywood. Screw in the screw, and then you have finished a hose-tool-holder.
Add more and more for how many screwdrivers or thin tools you have.
Step 5: Attach the Heavy-Tool Holders
Some tools, like hammers and wrenches, can't fit in the normal hose-holders. That's where the aluminum cans come in. We will use these to make custom holders for the rest of the tools. Make sure you recycle or use the extra aluminum bits. I like to use the extra bottoms to organize things like screws, and here are some other ideas for the other parts:
First, cut the can into two. Use an Exacto Knife or another strong cutting tool, cut around the circumference of the can. You should have two pieces fairly even pieces; one can bottom and one can top.
On the aluminum can top, cut vertically down the can until your cut reaches where the can begins to angle. Do the same vertical cut opposite the first vertical cut. Now, cut right above where the can begins to angle horizontally from one vertical cut to the other. You should have a half can with about half of its wall circumference missing.
Take off the can tab and the under-can-tab so that you just have the drinking hole. Use your knife to cut bits off this hole making it larger. Once you are able to easily move your tool in and out of the holder, stop.
Cover all cut edges with Duct Tape. If you are not wearing gloves the cut aluminum can scratch your hands. Covering it all sharp edges with Duct Tape prevents the scratches. Use one piece of tape for each edge. Using a soldering iron, I heat shrunk the Duct Tape to the can to make sure it wouldn't fall off in my humid workshop. If you do this make sure to have active air circulation.
Drill two holes through the can, larger than the screw. The holes should be about an inch and a half apart, but is not necessarily.
After that, mark where the holes are on the plywood and drill through the plywood. Screw in you screws and you have finished you holder. Add as many as you have tools.
Step 6: Attach the Shelf
Adding a shelf to the wall can give the wall even more possibilities. This opens a whole other area for more tool organization. I attached clothespins to the shelf to hold oddly shaped tools, such as filles. I also use the can bottoms to organize screws, and these "cups" are placed on the shelf.
First, trace the two by four where you want on the wall. My two by four was seventy-two inches long, and it fit perfectly on my wall.
You don't neccasairly need to use eight screws to screw in the shelf. I used two screws, but I drilled holes for many more. Depending if my shelf starts to sag I may add more to strengthen it. So I marked a total of six marks on my two by four, by the only ones that are active are the two nearest each end. They are two inches from the end.
I drilled the holes in the two by four first. I placed little rolls of Scotch Tape on the holes, then I pressed the two by four onto the tool wall, and the scotch markings were left on the tool wall. I drilled on these small markings.
I drilled on the two by four first because it helped me to visualize the project. Another method could have been to drill through the plywood, then make the markings on the two by four. Either method would be fine.
Once you have the holes, add the screws. It helps to screw both in at the same time, switching on and off between each screw.
Step 7: Add the Clothespins
Clothespins can be helpful for oddly shaped tools, such as files. They also can hold notes similarly to mice traps.
Separate the clothespin into the top and bottom. Take the one without the spring for the next steps.
Flatten the curve on the backside of the pin with a little bit of sanding with some sandpaper. Then, take an awl and give the clothespin a good whack in the center of the pin, halfway from the middle to the top (the pinching part). The picture does not show it well, but you should have a small indentation in the pin. Usually any more than one hit can split the pin. Drill a hole through the pin here.
You can drill on either the shelf or the plywood, I drilled into the shelf. Once you have decided, mark where you are going to drill. Drill through the plywood or into the two by four. Screw in your clothespin, but don't fret if it splits, it won't affect the overall function of the pin.
Fit the other half of the pin back on, the half with the metal piece. If the clothespin is wiggly, either tighten it or add some strong glue to immobile it.
Step 8: Add the Take-Out Sauce Containers
Plastic take-out sauces containers can when attached to the under-part of the shelf are a great way to organize small parts. The rig is very strong; mine was easily able to hold to big hunks of stone.
First, drill three holes in a triangle through the top of the container. Make a mark with a sharpie for every hole on the underside of the shelf. Drill three holes on marks. Put the top in place and screw it in. It helps to screw in each screw a little at a time.
Step 9: Suspend the Tool Wall
Depending on how long your piece of plywood is, you should have several screen-door eyes. Mark and drill into the plywood. Screw in your eyes, and you’re almost done! Hammer in a few thin nails into the wall. Feed some strong line through all the eyes. Tie it to together, leaving a big loop. Finally, hang the loop onto the nails.
Depending on where you are hanging your wall, you may have to use a different method than this hammer and nails method. However you would hang art in the area, should be how you would hang the tool wall. There are small s-shaped pieces of medal that can install this onto siding. I have found many at my local hardware store.
Step 10: A Lasting Note
Now you have finished--sort of. The greatness of this system is that you can keep on adjusting and changing it--for almost no cost!