DIY Chalkboard and Key Hooks

Hey there!  I am so EXCITED about this project today!  Chalkboards, key hooks and a mixture of galvanized hardware and stained wood are a few of my favorite things and this project has them all!

How_to_Make_a_ChalkboardThis cutie was SO easy!  Don’t let the fancy cuts on the sides fool you!  This is a beginner project from start to finish!  I was able to make mine for under $20!

Lumber needed:

1 – 1×2 @ 8ft.

1 – 1×3 @ 4ft.

1 – 1×8 @ 4ft.

1 – 1×4 @ 4ft

1 – 2’x4′  Panel of Tempered Hardboard

*This is a great project to put scrap pieces to good use!  If you don’t have scraps for the 4ft. boards, make sure to check the scrap boards at the hardware store for a great discount!

Kreg_Jig_Rip_CutI started by cutting a piece of hardboard at 19″x24″.  You won’t even need half of this panel so you can save it for another chalkboard project:)  You can have your local hardware store cut this for you!  I used my awesome Kreg Jig Rip Cut with my Ryobi 18-Volt Lithium Circular saw.  The Rip Cut is awesome for cutting down large panels like this!


I sprayed 2 coats of Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint on the hardboard.

While waiting for the Chalkboard paint to dry, I got busy making cuts for the rest of the piece.

Ryobi_Compound_MiterI used my Ryobi Compound Miter saw to make my cuts but if you aren’t ready to make the purchase, you can purchase the handsaw below.


Cut list:

2 – 1×2 @ 24″

1 – 1×2 @ 19″

1 – 1×2 @ 16″

2 – 1×3 @ 17 3/4″

1 – 1×3 @ 16″

1 – 1×8 @ 16″

2 – 1×4 @ 10″ (for fancy cuts)

2 – 1×4 @ 6 3/4″ (for fancy cuts)

JIgsaw_MeasurementsHere’s the part I promised would not be intimidating!  Once you make your 1×4 cuts, these fancy cuts are a piece of cake!  To make them even easier, I have provided printable templates below.  Just print, cut and trace them on your 1×4 boards!

Template A

Template B

Ryobi_JigsawOnce you trace the template, clamp the 1×4 down to a sturdy surface and cut away!  I love my Ryobi cordless Jigsaw!  It’s very inexpensive and if you already have the Ryobi batteries, you only need the tool!

Ryobi_Corner_CatAnd, you don’t have to be exact on your Jigsaw because you can sand away the bad parts;)  WE LOVE our Ryobi cordless Corner Cats!  It is also an inexpensive tool and by far our favorite sanding tool.  Notice it shares the Ryobi battery as well!

Assembling_the_LedgeI used Gorilla Glue Wood Glue and nails for every joint!  Attach the 2 – 1×3’s @ 17 3/4″.  This will make the “shelf” part.

Ryobi_Brad_NailerNow, glue and nail the “shelf” to the “A” pieces!  I love using my Ryobi cordless Brad Nailer for projects like this!  This is also an inexpensive tool that will share the same battery as the other Ryobi cordless tools;)

DividersNow, nail and glue the “B” pieces.  This will form the dividers.  This is the backside of the shelf so the fronts of the “B” pieces will be covered by the 1×3 on the shelf.


Front view of shelf.  Now, set that aside.

Time to frame the chalkboard!

apply_liquid_nailsTo frame the chalkboard, apply Liquid Nails to the back of the 1×2’s…

Frame_Chalkboardand place them around the chalkboard (flush with the outer edges).  The top 1×2 is 16″ and the outside 1×2’s are 24″.

Add_BoardNow, attach the 16″ 1×3 to the bottom of the chalkboard (edges flush) with Liquid Nails.  The 1×8 goes directly above that (also attach with Liquid Nails).

Add_TrimFor the top trim, wood glue and nail the 19″ 1×2 to the top.  The back edge will be flush with the back of the chalkboard leaving the front hanging over about 3/4″.

Attach_DividersTo attach the shelf, apply a thin amount of wood glue and nail from the back of the chalk board into the shelf and dividers.  The bottom of the “A” pieces will be flush with the bottom of the 24″ 1×2’s.

Now for the finish!

Tape_off_to_StainTape off right under the frame of the chalkboard before you stain.  I thought it was easier to stain the piece after assembling (wood glue will not adhere to treated wood).  The tape will protect the chalkboard finish.

Rustoleum_Dark_WalnutI chose a classic favorite, Rust-Oleum Dark Walnut Stain to finish this cutie!  Just apply one coat with a foam brush and wipe with a clean cloth after 5-10 minutes.  Do not wipe the stain completely off, the wiping just helps to make the stain even.

Now for the detail!


I purchased to galvanized brackets and hooks to give this piece some character!  Just use small wood screws to attach the brackets! That’s it!  To hang it, I used a large sawtooth hanger and anchored a screw into our wall!

How_to_StainTo get the distressed look on the stained wood, I sanded all of the edges with my Ryobi Cordless Corner Cat!







What a great excuse for a “Collect-All”:)  Again, this is totally a beginner project and the tools needed are very inexpensive and they share batteries!  Go for it;)

If you love my DIY Chalkboard and Key Hooks, I would LOVE your pins and shares!

Thanks so much for stopping by and happy DIY!


I used a chalk pen to write on the chalkboard. It wipes away with a damp cloth. You can purchase the one that we love on Amazon below!








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  • Katie

    I made this in April 2016. I used a piece of scrap floor sheeting for the back and increased the width. This was actually one of the more difficult pieces I have assembled I’d say its more intermediate then beginner. I used picture/mirror hangers to mount mine. If my memory is right I just trimmed some off the middle dividers to make them fit right and it was a little to much, oops, the front isn’t flush but it still looks nice. Stained it with Carrington stain from Rustoleum.

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  • Pakman1983

    I know this post is really old but what size brad nail did you use. The width of the wood doesn’t seem to match with size available for that gun?

  • deiby

    acabe de terminar el mio , aun esta fresco

  • Daniel

    I love seeing what you guys do and have even implemented a few of your plans. This is the first one I have come across where I needed to double check the math and realized there are a few minor adjustments that are needed with the exact list of materials listed. All-in-all it’s a cool organizer and I will definitely be jumping onto another project here soon.

    • Daniel

      So far as the math goes here are a few things I noticed. First, the tempered board is going to be slightly less than 24″ exactly unless you buy a larger board and cut exact measurements of 19″ x 24″. That’s how all boards work. It’s a 2’x4′ board but it’s always slightly less. So when cutting your 1x2s they should not be cut until you know the exact measurements of your tempered board. Secondly, using that same train of thought with boards being slightly less than the name calls for the 1x3s are actually 3/4″x2-3/4″. The 2-3/4″ isn’t really that big of a deal unless you’re worried about the depth of the shelf part, but the 3/4″ part is detrimental when configuring the length of the cut for the shelving part. The instructions call for 17-3/4″. But if you use that exact measurement then adding a 3/4″ board on both sides will add up to what? 19-1/4″! The dimensions of the finished product is supposed to be (roughly) 24″ by 19″. So in essence you now have a shelf that is a quarter inch too wide to fit on the 19″ frame that you’ve built. Now you have wood over hanging. Also, the fancy cuts will need to be cut down as well to eliminate a gap between the frame and your shelf. If you get exactly what’s on the wood list it won’t work as the pictures portray.

  • Justin

    We followed you plans for a wedding gift. We opted not to use the brackets though. Sorry the pic is sideways.

  • Allison Sun

    hi, I don’t really get the wood measurement. 1×2 @ 24″ , how long is this?

    • Hi,
      A 1×2 is the board. Then cut it 24″ long 🙂

      • Allison Sun

        so 1×2 is thickness of the wood piece? And the length of the wood is 24″ how about the width?

        • Debra Swinney Johnson

          1″ thick and 2″ wide board is a 1 x 2 board. It should be marked in the store.

  • Heading out to my shop to make this now! Hopefully I can get it done before I have to pick my kids up in an hour!

  • Nick Giacobe

    This was our first woodworking project together. Yes, the comments about “template B” being too big are indeed correct. We ended up trimming off a little too much. Anyway,nothing that a couple of well-placed nails from the air nailer couldn’t handle.

    For the question “how to mount it to the wall?” We decided to drill and hide a screw with a wooden button. You can see the two buttons clearly in the picture below since we haven’t stained them to match (yet). We used a 1/2″ paddle bit and drilled into the wood approx 1/3 of the thickness. The tip of the paddle made a nice pilot hole for the screw.

    We just used some long drywall screws — but if you wanted to put hollow-wall anchors or toggle bolts, that would work, too.

    Our plan is to stain the buttons then glue them in place with some wood glue.

  • Lanigon

    How did you hang it on the wall?

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  • Christine

    I am in the process of putting mine together now and I am attaching the divider piece to the chalkboard piece and there is about a 1/4″ gap from bottom of divider and chalkboard piece that will allow mail to fall through. Is that how it is suppose to or did I do something wrong?

    • Daniel

      You didn’t do anything wrong. That’s just how the plans are. I realized and adjusted to get rid of that gap.

  • Bob

    I’m pretty sure the author never actually built this given the sparse plans provided, and is really just advertising Ryobi.

    • Bob,
      I have this hanging in my house right now and was never paid nor compensated from any company for this post 🙂 it is cute though, huh;) happy building!

  • Jaycie Saunders

    Hi! What did you hang it up with?
    Unfortunately I could not find galvanized brackets but found some cute hinges!

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  • Stephanie Brooks

    So I was just looking at the cut list and I don’t understand how template B is also a 1×4?? The two end pieces from template A are flush to the back frame and so are both dividers pieces yet the ends extend past the dividers on the front corners. Am I missing something? I’d really like to make this for a gift.

    • Hey Stephanie!
      Apparently I uploaded template A for both:( it’s an old post so I don’t have the templates anymore. You will need to cut off about 3/4″ from the front of the piece (the part that touches the board across the front. You could print template a and then cut the front off so that you can use it for template B. Hope this helps!
      Sent from my iPad

      • Stephanie Brooks

        thank you. I had it pinned and finally decided it was time to make it:-)

  • david

    how did you mount to wall without visable screws? I plan on replicating, but attaching to a brick wall. thanks!

  • Eileen Houlihan

    I used this plan as an inspiration for a mail sorter. Thanks for the plans and please let me know what you think. It was my first DIY project…

  • Tanner Nilsen

    What type of wood are you using for this project?

  • Beth

    My husband and I made this over the weekend and it turned out beautifully!! My only concern was that template b seemed to be too deep. We had to cut those pieces down to fit between the shelf and back of the board – other than that it was spot on! We used a black dry erase board (you just use neon whiteboard markers – including white). We used a gray, semi-transparent stain to give it a weathered look and black key hooks and braces. We LOVE it! Thanks for the info 🙂

  • Lee

    It looks like you glue the frame directly to the painted chalk board surface. How is that glue bond holding up? Did you also drive nails through the chalk board surface to help with that joint? Do you think it would make sense to mask the parts of the chalk board that will be glued when you paint it? Thanks!

  • Jen

    Where did you get your galvanized brackets? I cannot find any ones I like that are the right size!

  • Amanda

    Where did you purchase the hooks? Thank you!

  • I’m finding that the template for the dividers (B) makes them too wide to line up with the ends (A). The front 1×3 pushed them back. Looks like we will need to adjust by 3/4-1″ off the width of B. If we missed something let me know. Thanks for the post!

    • Stephanie Brooks

      Did you ever figure out how to adjust for the width of the dividers?

  • jenny

    When printing the templates for the fancy cuts do I print fit to paper or actual size? Very cute! can’t wait to make:) Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristen Brady

    How did you hang it? And what would you think the weight limit would be? Thanks!

  • What a pain in the a$$ to try to print out for later use. Can’t you make it a little easier to save???

    • Not sure what you mean?

      • ClayMac11

        I think that Gary was saying that printing these plans is 24 pages long. Is there a way to print out the instructions without all the adds?

  • V

    I’ve got all my wood cut and sanded but when going to put together it says you need 2 1×3 @ 17 3/4″. On the cut list it’s only 1 with 2 16″ 1×3. Am I reading wrong?

    • Oh no!!! I’m so sorry! You are right…. I can’t tell you how many times I double-checked the cut list and I still missed it!!! I’m so sorry, thank you for bringing it to my attention!

      • Sarah

        So for the 1x3s, you will need 2 at 17 3/4″ and only 1 16″? If so, you will need more than 4 ft of board…

        • Collin Baker

          Yep. I had to rip the extra wood with a table saw from the biggest piece (the leftovers). I measure twice and cut once always, but I forget that with the internet I should add first to make sure the numbers line up.

  • Love it! You’ve got me addicted to the dark walnut stain. Did you use just 1 sawtooth hanger on the back in the middle? How do you keep the whole thing from moving or sliding whenever you are using it? Thanks again for a really cool project and great tutorial.

  • V

    This needs to be made soon. Great project.

  • Courtney Kaericher

    This is beautiful! I have the perfect place in my home for this. Thanks for the awesome post and ideas! I LOVE your blog!

  • Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

    Love this project Ashley! And it’s giving me some ideas… Hmmmmm.

  • Tresha Terrell

    You guys come up with the best ideas. Can you do a post for a matching double or triple opening magazine holder? 🙂

  • What a fun project! Great design.

  • lovely creation! Now I just need to find a friend with all the cutting tools. 🙂

  • Mindi Carwin

    I don’t need one of these, but I want to make it just because it is so dang cute! Great job Ashley, one of my faves!

    • LOL Mindi! Thank you so much;)

      Sent from my iPad

  • where do you get chalk pens?

  • I love it but is there a way to make it with a white board instead? I am obsessed with white boards. =}

    • Sure! Just use whiteboard coated hardboard! I think you can purchase that at a craft store:)

  • Did you write on it with regular chalk or one of those chalk pens like y’all used on the labels from the pantry organization?