Do you remember when you were in high school in wood working shop? What? You didn’t take wood working? Ha ha, neither did I, but my homeroom class where we met for 10 minutes every morning was in the wood working shop. And I always loved all the tools hung neatly on the wall, every one in their own little spot. Outlined in jiffy marker. The organizer in me LOVED THIS. And I have always wanted one of these of my very own. So stick around because I’m going to show you how to build a garage slat wall, that will serve as your very own personal high school shop tool wall 😉
Peg or Slat
The first time I tried to make my dream tool wall, I used pegboard, but I hate all those little fidgety hooks, that ALWAYS fall off the wall Slat walls are cheap and easy to build and you can totally customize them to your needs and your space. Plus I really like the look of the wood.
2″x4″x8′ – 1
1″x4″x8′ – 5
1″x6″x8′ – 1
The work bench that I built is 75″ long so that’s the length. The distance between the shelf and the workbench is 24″.After a bit of math I determined that I would need 5 slats to fill the space, allowing a bit of extra space at the top and bottom. I started by cutting 2 – 24″ long pieces of 2’x2″ dimensional lumber and screwed them into wall studs, to have something to attach the slats onto. I stained the slats using Minwax Ipswich Pine stain, which is the same stain I used on the workbench. If you are staining your boards, stain them before you attach them. And don’t forget that when you are doing math, that a 1″x4″ is ACTUALLY 3/4″x 3.5″ because that makes sense! Click here for an explanation. And keep that in mind when planning out your slat wall. For mine I needed 5×75″ 1″x4″‘s
Working your way up
Screw your first board in place, starting at the bottom, and utilizing what ever spacing you have decided on. Mine worked out that it would fit 5 boards, and leave approx. 1.75″ at the top and bottom.
When setting the location of your second board, Use a couple of scrap pieces of 1″x4″ as spacers, as this is what you will use to hang your tools, or use as shelves.
Use 2″ wood screws to attach the 1×4’s to the 2×2’s. Continue placing your boards, using the 1×4 spacers. Once all the slats are in place, you can begin planning where to place your tools.
I cut small pieces of 1″x4″x1″ to use as tool hangers. And since we used our 1×4 spacers when constructing… these fit perfectly – PLANNED!!!! and can be moved around where you need them. You can also use a 1×6 or a 1×4 as a shelf. So, it doesn’t need to be static. It can shift as needed.
For the layout of the tools, I tried to find a happy medium between how it looked and what was functional. I wanted to have easy access to my tools day to day. So, I chose the items that I use the most, and organized where I wanted them. I seem to use my hammers a lot, so I put those on the right hand side, since I’m right handed 🙂
Here are some of the items that made the cut:
Small sledge hammer
And Here are my Top 3 Fave Tools:
I used both finishing nails and screws for the hanging tools. None of these are super heavy. For the screw-drivers, I chose an assortment, including my beloved Picquic. We just drilled holes into a piece of 1″x6″. Truthfully, it’s not super pretty, but it works just fine. I may upgrade this to a better version later.
Ultimately I wanted to be able to walk into the garage and just pluck the tool I want off the wall. I can’t tell you how frustrating I find it when I’m in the middle of a project and I can’t find my damn hammer!!!! Some people might find all these tools messy, but I like it. And it’s efficient. Plus honestly, now I have my own high school shop wall. Yeah baby, Living the Dream!!
I also added a drill holder to this space.
There is more to do on the top section. And I have already added more storage on the upper area. Now, almost every time I go out to the garage to grab a tool, I say “Man I love my tool wall” no more searching through my cabinets for the things I use ALL THE TIME. I still have a few more pieces to go on this ever evolving garage project, but all in all this space is really coming along.
Now go and take a shot at building your own WorkbenchAnd if this appealed to the organizer in you, go and check out what I did to keep my garden tools organized. Here’s a sneak peak for you
Note: This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any more. I just may earn a small commission. Click here for my disclosures
Wow! This is looking great Deneen! You are all set up to streamline all your other DIY projects. I love how neat this makes everything look.
I do not quite understand what you mean when you say ” I started by cutting 2 -24″ 2’x2″s”.
What is a 2-24″ 2’x2″? That makes no sense to me. Please clarify the lumber size, i.e. 2×2, 2×4, etc that you used against the wall. Also, if you used a 2×4, how did you orient that toward the wall?
Looks great, BTW!!!
Also, what keeps the shelving pieces from getting knocked out? Are you securing them somehow?
Sorry if I confused you. I have updated the post. What I meant was 2 pieces of 2″x2″ dimensional lumber at 24″ in length for each piece. So yes 2″ x 2″ against the wall. The only piece of shelving that is secured is the one that is holding the screw drivers. If you get the fit very tight when you are installing the slats, you can get the shelves to fit very tight and don’t need to secure them. However, not all lumber is the same size, so you may have to either shim it up (I did not) or if it’s a very tight fit, or if it has a slight warp, then just use a rubber mallet or hammer (and a piece of wood, so you don’t dent your shelf) to tap it into place. For the small pieces that I used to hold up the hammers, they are not secured but work great, and you can relocate as needed. I hope I have clarified this for you. If not, please let me know, and I will provide more information.
Thanks for stopping by!
jim sayre says
I just finished a section of a wall in my garage, using your idea.
To get a Slatwall panel would have been $150 and getting it home and cutting it to size would have been costly and rough on the roof of my car.
The hooks and other items would have brought the total to over $200.
I bought seven 1X4X8 ft straight and one 1X2X8 ft common boards for $35
Mounting it was a snap, as I laid in the lowest 1X4 on the furring strips, leveled it, and using spacers, added each higher plank.
To improve the appearance and reduce tendency for warpage, I added 1×2 framing on each end of the finished array.
The freedom to add any tool any place and then change it without the need for filler or touchup paint is wonderful.
My only reservation is that the slats will probably become a great home for spiders, leaves, and other debris that I blow around when I clean the garage.
I’m so happy that this system worked out for you! I have had my slat wall in place for well over a year, and I can report that I have had zero issues with spiders, leaves or cobwebs! I have a similar one in my garden shed and no issues there either. Although I did find a mouse had made a home out of one of my garden gloves 🙂 which I’m okay with, I don’t mind sharing my space 🙂