The Backpack Wall

** Updated with measurements**   **Kinda**

Our backpacks needed a home. Aka, not the floor. Lemme just look around on Pinterest for a minute (emerges 7 hours later). I found an idea I liked but where can I put this?

This corner is wasted space between my kitchen and family room. Perfecto. I measured my space and modified the design to suit my needs. (oh, look, an outlet in the middle of the wall. super.)

(And on the right is where backpacks used to live. *outdated Target shiver*)
IMG_0985s IMG_0987s

I used 1x6s for the outer frame, 1x3s for the dividers and the “shelf,” and bought five black drunk octopus hooks. (I had screws, wood putty, basic tools and paint on hand.)

** Update** So many people have requested the measurements of the wood, but it will vary based on your space. Essentially:

  • Two 1×6″ on either side (I think they were 48″ tall)
  • Three 1×6″ horizontal boards in between the sides at the top, the bottom and in the middle-ish (like 2/3rds of the way up) … me thinks they were also 48″ long
  • Four vertical 1×3″ pieces were placed above and below the middle piece (the bottom two were around 20″ tall and the tops were about 10″)
  • One 60-ish” long piece of 1×3″ for the little shelf across the top 

IMG_1000s IMG_1003s

NOW ON TO THE WALL… To start, my MANual labor sliced off the base board and quarter round so we can build straight onto the wall. Thanks, babe! LOOK, your hands and right knee are famous! 

I started with the sides, then the middles, then the dividers (while singing to myself I wanna see you level it, just a little bit).

I used wood putty on the screw holes and seams and let it dry (and so ended DAY 1), then sanded it down and wiped off the dust.

 IMG_1005s IMG_1007s

Next is taping and priming and painting. painting. paintinGAH. sheesh. (This took about 4 coats, including primer.)

IMG_1031s IMG_1035s

I taped off the tops because I’ve decided chalkboard paint would go perfectly here (thanks again, Pinterest!). Ooh, and the wall on the left, too. I made too much anyway. (Then I mixed another batch because the first one was light gray and chalk is white. Duh.)


I let it all dry overnight (finally the end of DAY 2), to give the paint/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:

– So, 1x6s are neither six inches wide nor are they 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 level, 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 ya wood.

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


118 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.

  3. I know i am late to seeing this post, but this is so great! Also, what kind of tool is picture where your hubby is cutting through the trim? I need that in my life.

    1. LOL! It’s called an oscillating tool, and there are a couple different kinds of attachments, so it’s a pretty versatile tool to have! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s