The Backpack Wall

Backpacks needed a place to live. Ideally, someplace not on the floor. This corner is right in between my kitchen and family room. Perfect. (And this is where they used to live. Yuck.)

And so, after many hours of “researching” (on Pinterest), I found a post I liked and measured my space to copy it. I mapped out where everything would go (oh, look, there’s an outlet in the middle of wall. great.) and set off to Home Depot.

I used 1x6s for the sides and horizontal boards, 1x3s for the verticals and the “shelf,” and bought five black screw-in hooks.

Here we go…

First, I cut my wood pieces to the correct length, based on my *precision* measurements.

Next, I had my MANual labor slice off the base board and quarter round so I can build straight onto the wall (we pried it off with a putty knife!).


It’s time to start screwing boards into the wall (if you don’t know what countersinking is, now is the time to Google). Level it all!!


(I had to re-cut the smaller boards because my walls and floor aren’t perfect… or perhaps my *precision* measurements were off)

Now that everything’s up, putty the screw holes and seams… and let it dry. Then sand it down.


Next is tape and paint. paint. PAINT. sheesh. (This took about 4 coats, including primer.)


Hmm… I taped off the inner squares because I’ve decided chalkboard paint would go perfectly here (thanks again, Pinterest!). Ooh, and the wall, too. I made too much anyway. Hm. Then paint again because the chalkboard paint was too light. Thaaaaat’s better.


Now you let it all dry overnight, to give the chalkboard time to set up.


Here it is… before, and after! Tadaa!


(FYI, that is an engineering print from Staples for $7, but that’s another post for another day.)

Here’s what I messed up on, so you don’t have to make my mistakes:

– “one by sixes” are NOT actually six inches wide or one inch thick. Shenanagans, right? They are actually 3/4″ by 5.5″, so take that into account when measuring and cutting. Same with 1x3s – they are 3/4″ by 2.5″ … I know… holy fractions, Batman.

– walls and floors are not perfect, so wait to cut the smaller pieces until after the big ones are in place, then measure the space again. What should be 19.5″ in your design ends up being 20″ in real life, so don’t waste your wood.

– chalkboard paint can be made in any color, but make it dark enough so chalk will show up.

– trying to cut a tiny piece of wood with a table saw can result in said saw winning a gold medal in the shot put if you don’t have a good grip on your piece. (Thank goodness no one was standing in my neighbor’s driveway.)

– Lastly… I bought enough hooks to place two at the top (similar to my inspiration’s post, just below the “shelf”) but trying to hang jackets there just covered up the chalkboard and backpack hooks, so I took them off.


101 thoughts on “The Backpack Wall”

    1. Funny story – So I was driving home one day, and they were remodeling this building, and a whole bunch of wood pieces were outside in the parking lot with a sign that said FREE. So um, yeah. I got it on the side of the road.

  1. I love this! What kind of frame did you use for your engineering print? Also what was he total cost of the project? Thank you for the inspiration and help!

    1. Tee hee, the “frame” is black electrical tape!!!
      I honestly can’t remember the total cost of this project, but it was just wood, nails, hooks, caulk and paint…

    1. Hi there! I’m glad you like it!! It’s been a minute since I did this, but I believe the width is 48″ and we used a 1×2 (so it’s not so much a “shelf” as a delineating piece of wood that has very little function).

  2. Hi Bethany,

    I’m currently working on a roundup for a client featuring backpack organization. I will be including a link to your post The Backpack Wall, it’s BEAUTIFUL!

    I wanted to request permission to use one image from the post in the roundup, which will link back to your post as well. Your content will not be duplicated in any way.

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