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 *outdated Target shiver*)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. absolutely love this! I’ve been trying to figure out how to manage this same “mess” in my house and I’ve found my solution!! Thanks!!

    1. The two pieces on the side were 48″ tall, I believe… I used a 12-foot piece of wood for the sides and the center cross piece, all 48″. So it’s 4 feet wide, plus the 11 inches for the “6s that aren’t really 6″… 59 inches. It’s 59 inches wide. Wow, I’m unhelpful.
      I would also advise that you mock it up within your space, using posterboards or something similar so you can see how it will relate to the room.

  2. So because of a random facebook comment I saw, I was able to find your little blog, and I was settling in to get all inspired by your creativity and there were only 2 posts!! Blog more, Beth, blog more! 🙂 Love your backpack wall!! Too too cute! And I am very impressed with your $20 coffee table. I have some projects at my house to complete before Natalie arrives…wanna visit? 🙂

      1. Please….I am the most unorganized, leat creative person on the face of this earth….come hang with me for a week in beautiful west central MN. All lakes and forests, and wildlife….I will take you fishing and feed you! Haha…but seriously….

  3. Gorgeous project! And I love the grey colour on the wall behind it! Are you able to tell me what that colour is called?? Pleeeeaaaasssse? 🙂

    1. Thanks! I can’t recall the dimensions of all the pieces, but the long outside pieces are 48″ each. I just measured my wall and designed something that would fit. Don’t tell anybody, but I used powerpoint to design it. 🙂

  4. Did you manually add the wainscoting to the 1x6s or were you able to buy that at homedepot? I love this and am going to raise is up 18″ to place it above an over-the-fridge cabinet (doors removed) that I am using as a storage bench with baskets in the openings.
    Thanks! Sandra
    PS: If you have a Habitat for Humanity Restore near you… Check it out. I was able to get two 8ft 1x3s for $1 each, 2 packs of groove&tongue wainscoting for $5 and a 30″x12″x18″ cabinet for $5! It has made my DIYing so much cheaper!

    1. That particular piece of wood already had that on there when I found it, quite literally, on the side of the road. I will check out my nearest Habitat Store here! I always forget to go there, but I’m sure it’s bursting with goodies I can use!! Thanks!

    1. The white is just a primer+paint all in one, no tinting. The wall color is called “Wood Smoke” by Behr, and I LOVE it, it’s the perfect shade of “greige” for me. The chalkboard paint actually started as black paint, which looks charcoal gray after you add the tile grout.

  5. I am seeing some kind of “texture” to the vertical pieces of wood on each side and the horizontal wood just under the chalk boards. What is that, did I miss something? I love this idea!!!

    1. Sharp eye! That piece came with three lines/grooves carved into them already – I assume it was some special kind of trim – but I found it on the side of the road one day, so I can’t tell you any more than that… It was 12 feet long, so I was able to use three long pieces of it here.
      Glad you like it, I hope it inspires you to do your own version someday!

  6. Are your walls orange peel textured or are they smooth. I did a similar wall treatment in my kids bathroom and my husband hates it that the inner original wall is textured. He says it’s not a “true” board and batten

    1. Hey, Andrea! Sorry I haven’t replied sooner! They are smooth-ish. Not so textured as an orange peel. Yeah, i would imagine if it’s dimply, it would look strange. You could try cutting a piece of thin wood to size, gluing it in place, calk the edges and paint it to match…

  7. Hello! I’m a writer with ParentMap ( and I’m working on a story about Landing Stations in your home. I LOVE your landing station and am hoping I could use your image with full and proper credit in my story.
    If you are ok with this, how should I credit you?

    Thank you so much!
    Rebecca Mongrain

    1. Hi, Rebecca! That’s so exciting!! Yes, you have permission to use any images on the story, and if you need higher res, just let me know and I’ll send them to you. My name is Bethany, and my blog is called Scattershot. 🙂 Is that everything you need?? Sorry, I’ve never been asked that before… that’s so cool!

      1. Thank you so much! I was able to pull them off your site which should work for us. We’ll credit Scattershot and link back to you. I love what you did here and wish I had the space in my entry way to do it!

      2. After saying, I was good. I was wrong! Can I get a high res image sent to my email at reebecki (at) gmail (dot) com? Thank you!

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