Build a Wall Organizer Just the Way You Want It

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This article is from Issue 71 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Conquer clutter with a project you can customize to suit your needs

Keys, coins, caps, coupons…where does all this stuff go? It’s not easy to keep track of life’s daily debris, but this wall organizer can help. The lumber order is small, but the impact of this project can be big. The nice thing about this project is that it can easily be customized to match up with your organizational priorities. Replace the corkboard panel with a chalkboard or a mirror. Use Shaker pegs instead of metal hooks, or just eliminate the peg rack portion.

This project provides some good opportunities to both hone and show off your skills. For example, the drawer box features sliding dovetail joints. The beaded frame of the bulletin board is an attractive detail you can use on other projects where face frames are required.

Construction sequence

  • Build the frame, then make the bulletin board.
  • Build the drawer box, then make the drawers.
  • Make the peg rack.
  • Join the frame, drawer box, and peg rack together.


Visit to see other design and finishing options that are possible with this wall organizer project.

3 organizers joined together

This project consists of three separate modules: the frame (which can hold a bulletin board, chalkboard, or mirror), the drawer box assembly, and the peg rack. Depending on your needs, you can build just a single module, or combine them. In the different versions of this project that I’ve made, contrasting wood species are used for the drawer fronts. Personalize your project with your own wood species choices or with different painted or stained finishes.

Hardware order

  • 2 drawer pulls
  • 4 coat hooks
  • 6 panel clips
  • 2 keyhole plates
    (See Buyer’s Guide, page 64)

Plywood gets a corkboard covering. Use 1⁄4" pine or fir plywood as the backing for a corkboard covering. You can use adhesive-backed corkboard (shown here) or corkboard squares that are glued to the plywood with contact adhesive. Either way, cut the backer board to finished size first, then apply the corkboard, trimming off any excess with a utility knife.

Assemble a beaded frame, then add the corkboard

After assembling the frame, use a 3⁄8"-radius beading bit to mill a bead profile in some clear stock. Cut the beaded trim free, as shown below. The installed trim creates a rabbet to hold your panel. If you want a mirror instead of a corkboard or chalkboard panel, take the completed frame to a glass and mirror dealer.

Making and installing the bead

1. Rout the bead.

2. Cut the bead free.

3. Glue and pin to the frame.

Cut tiny miters with a tiny saw. I screwed the aluminum miter box to a plywood base, then clamped this small workstation to my bench.
Work your way around. Cut each piece of beaded molding slightly long. Miter one end, then fit the piece in place on the frame to mark the opposite miter. Install with glue and 1⁄2" pin nails, using spacers to create a uniform rabbet behind the molding.

Rout dovetailed dadoes with a right-angle jig. My jig has a slotted platform and a right-angle fence for easy clamping across top and bottom pieces. Make a test cut in scrap stock to make sure the bushing slides smoothly and the dovetailed dado is no more than 1⁄4" deep.

Build a box with sliding dovetails

To prep for this part of the project, cut the top and bottom pieces to finished width, but allow both pieces to run long until after you’ve assembled the box. The dovetail jig is sized to span the top and bottom pieces and guide a 3⁄4" OD bushing and 8° dovetail bit. Align the jig’s open slot over each dado’s centerline to set up each cut. Keep the dadoes shallow (just 1⁄4"). This minimizes the risk of splitting the box ends and eliminates the need for initial routing with a straight bit. Use the same dovetail bit in the router table to dovetail the ends of the dividers. Prepare some test pieces (exactly as thick as your dividers) so you can adjust bit height and fence position until your fit is exactly right.

Test and adjust till the tails fit right. Using scrap pieces exactly as thick as your dividers, keep fine-tuning your router table setup until your test tails slide snugly in the shelf’s dovetailed dadoes. Then rout the real thing.
Tap together carefully. Coat joining surfaces with glue, then tap each partition into the top and bottom at the same time. Trim box ends to final length after the glue dries.

Make drawers with dovetail rabbet joints

The same dovetail bit used on the drawer box can also make attractive corner joints on your drawers. As shown below, the bit cuts angled rabbets in front and side pieces that mate perfectly. A trio of 1⁄4"-dia. dowel pegs strengthen and decorate each joint. To create this joinery, first prepare extra stock equal in thickness to your drawer fronts and sides. Use these pieces to test and adjust bit height and fence position. Check the dimensions in the drawing against the dimensions of your drawer openings. Subtract 1⁄8" from height and width of the opening to get the length and width of a drawer front. Size the sides so that drawer fronts will be flush with the front of the case.

Face up when routing drawer fronts. Adjust bit height to 7⁄16", and set the fence for 5⁄16" of cutting depth. The show face of the drawer front should face up as you guide the edge against the fence. Back up each cut with scrap stock to avoid tearout.
Run sides on edge. Keep bit height the same, but adjust fence position for a flush fit when the side dovetail joins the front dovetail. When dovetail cuts are complete, fit a 1⁄4" straight bit in the router table to rout a slot in each side and front for the drawer bottom. Then rabbet the back edge of each side to hold drawer backs.

A pair of clamps for each drawer. Glue drawer sides to fronts, but let the bottom float. The angled corner joints naturally pull tight during clamp-up. To finish drawer construction, attach backs with glue and 1⁄2" headless pins, then rout a 1⁄8" chamfer along drawer front edges.

Have fun with the hardware. You’ve got many choices when it comes to drawer pulls, pegs and hooks. The selection shown here comes from Woodcraft and Lee Valley.

Now put it all together

Once you’ve completed the frame, drawer box and drawers, all that remains is the peg rack–the easiest part of the project. After cutting your peg rack to its finished size, detail the board ends and bottom edge using your router and a cove or round-over bit.

I found it easier to finish each module on its own, then assemble the project. Make sure to remove the corkboard panel from the frame to avoid getting finish on the corkboard. The same advice applies if your frame holds a chalkboard or mirror. Many finishing options are possible for a project like this. For the organizer shown here, I gave the oak a brush-on, wipe-off treatment with oil-base, honey maple stain, followed by a single coat of Waterlox. I finished the drawers with two coats of WaterLox.

If your panel doesn’t fit flush with the back face of the frame, don’t worry. You can add thin spacers to the frame (shown below) or between the clip and the panel.

3 into 1. I used biscuit joints for strength and alignment when gluing the three subassemblies together.
Make clips from hooks. If you have trouble finding panel clips, simply make your own from steel utility hooks, as shown here. Flex the hooked section back and forth until it breaks off. Glue a thin spacer strip to the frame beneath each clip if the panel extends beyond the back of the frame.


Visit our website for a short video that explains how to quickly and easily mount your completed wall organizer (and other stuff) on the wall.


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