This isn't the fastest way to make a set of wall-mounted coat hangers. It isn't the easiest either. The paragraphs below cover the build process for a set of wall hangers where looks were of greater importance. But the time and effort spent were worth it, I'd say.
Step 1: Planning Phase
As every other DIY project, this one went through a planning phase -- one where I sat down to think about what exactly I wanted to achieve and by what means. The hangers had to be strong and mounted firmly to the wall. They had to fit at least four coats within the 94 centimeters of the available horizontal space. Most importantly, the whole thing had to look unlike anything on sale at the store.
After reaching out for my notepad and throwing a few ideas together, I settled on making a back piece out of plywood and covering it with veneer to make it look like a fancy slab of wood.
Step 2: Picking and Preparing a Nice Piece of Veneer
In my situation, most people would first cut a piece of plywood to the required size, then glue on and trim the veneer. And that would make perfect sense as it is easier this way. But I did things the other way around, which made my project much more time-consuming.
I first chose a piece of veneer that both looked nice and was large enough. Then I trimmed all sides to remove fragments that were chipped or cracked. I wanted the naturally meandering curves of the wood grain to dictate the shape of the board, so I used a sharp blade to make cuts following those. This resulted in a nice, organic look.
Take your time as you cut your veneer. It is better to make a few passes and apply moderate force instead of trying to cut the sheet in a single go. Once my veneer piece was trimmed from all sides, I made sure that it fit on my wall.
Step 3: Cutting and Laminating the Plywood
The veneer I planned on gluing to a piece of plywood. However, I only had 1-centimeter plywood in my stash, and I didn't find that thick enough, so I glued two pieces on top of each other. Save yourself time and effort by getting a single piece.
I cut the pieces of plywood slightly wider than the piece of veneer with the intention to trim them later with my jigsaw.
What you see in the fifth photo is a slab of granite adding pressure onto the glued-up plywood pieces. Apparently, I don't have enough clamps, but then again, nobody does.
Step 4: Gluing the Veneer to the Plywood
This step was simple and straightforward. I applied a liberal amount of glue to the bottom side of my veneer piece, spread it evenly with a scrap piece of wood, and then glued it onto the plywood. As seen in picture #3, I used scrap pieces of wood to spread the pressure from my clamps more evenly and to prevent them from leaving any marks. Picture #4 shows the result after all clamps were removed on the next day.
Step 5: Trimming the Sides
Next, I fired up the jigsaw once again and trimmed all sides following the edge of the veneer, cutting slightly into it as well. It is important to use a fine blade for this in order to get a smooth edge.
Step 6: Gluing Veneer to the Edge
Back in step 2, I trimmed the piece of veneer from all sides, but instead of discarding the trimmings, I saved them for later. This turned out to be a wise move because now I could use them to cover the edges. I cut strips of veneer slightly wider than the edges and glued them in place, matching the grain of the wood as closely as possible.
To hold the veneer strips in place while the glue was drying, I used masking tape (painter's tape). I started sticking the tape from one end and gradually made my way to the other end, making sure that the tape was "pulling" tightly and with equal force from both sides. This worked surprisingly well. Picture #3 shows a piece of veneer already glued in place. The gluing procedure was identical for all edges. For the longer sides, however, I used multiple strips of veneer to make gluing easier.
Once all strips were glued, I used a small block plane to trim the excess, then I sanded down the edges for a perfectly smooth finish.
Step 7: Sanding. Lots of It.
Sanding isn't fun, but it is an essential step if you want to achieve a smooth, shiny finish. I sanded my piece by hand, starting with rough, 80-grit sandpaper, which removed most spots and rough areas. In picture #3 you can see how cleaner the upper half of the wood looks after just a few passes, while the lower half hasn't been sanded yet. I then moved on to finer, 120-grit sandpaper and then finally finished it all off with 240-grit sandpaper.
Then I wiped the entire piece with a damp cloth. This removed all the fine dust particles, but also -- at least in my case -- caused the wood grain to rise slightly. This was normal and expected. A few minutes later, I simply sanded the piece again to remove the raised grain and wiped it one more time.
Picture #5 shows the board ready for finishing.
Step 8: Drilling Holes for the Screws.
But first, I decided to drill the holes for where the mounting screws would later go. I first drilled a small pilot hole with a 2.5mm bit on both sides of my piece, about 5 centimeters inward from the edge. Then using a larger drill bit, I slowly and gently widened the opening of the hole, without going deeper than a millimeter or two. This created a countersink hole so that the screw would later sit flush with the surface of the wood.
Step 9: Applying Finish
My finish of choice was water-based polyurethane, diluted slightly with water to make it flow a bit better. I first covered the side pieces using a brush. Notice that I applied masking tape so that I don't get any finish on the face of the board. After applying four coats of poly on the sides, I covered them in masking tape and applied four coats to the face of the board. The masking tape prevented the dripping polyurethane from ruining the sides. I sanded all surfaces lightly with 320-grit sandpaper between coats.
Step 10: Mounting the Board to the Wall
Time to make some noise! I brought out the drill and drilled a couple of holes into the wall, where the hangers were going to be mounted. But before that, I held the piece against the wall in the spot where I wanted it (okay, maybe I had someone hold it for me) and used a thinner drill bit to drill through the pilot holes I made a couple of steps earlier (step not pictured, sorry). This made markings in the wall where the larger holes had to be drilled.
I used 8-millimeter plastic dowels and matching screws to mount the board. Unfortunately, my electric screwdriver was having a hard time with those, so I had to screw them in with a manual screwdriver.
Once the board was mounted to the wall -- and it was held super tightly by the overkill-grade screws I used -- I could finally drill the hangers.
The hangers I bought from my local hardware store. They were made of metal and came with color-matching screws in the set. Before screwing them in, I made thin pilot holes for the screws. This ensures that the screw will go easily where it's supposed to. Finally, I painted the mounting screws black so that they match the hangers.
Step 11: It Is Complete!
And this is how this project came together. Overall, I'm very happy with it. The construction is strong and held reliably to the wall, it fits all our jackets, it fits perfectly in the available space, and most importantly, it doesn't look like anything you'd find at the store. The whole project cost me roughly $40 to make: $25 for the five hangers which I bought, and another $15 for the materials invested in the board.
If you liked this project, I'd be happy to know! If there's something I could have done better, don't hesitate to point it out in the comments!
By the way, you can follow me on Instagram where I share images of current and upcoming projects and post bits of inspiration when they hit me. Thanks!