Awesome French cleat tool storage wall hack

I’ve always wanted to make a French Cleat tool storage wall to house some of my tools, and the IKEA SANNAHED frame gave me the perfect basis to build it around.

It turned out epic.

I had a friend ask me to make one for them (already done!) and loads of positivity about it because of its space saving potential and functionality. Also as someone mentioned, at less than £200 for everything, it cost less than most toolboxes!

IKEA items used: 

14 x IKEA SANNAHED frames (black)

IKEA SANNAHED frame
IKEA.com

Other materials and tools: 

MDF
6 lengths of stripboard
Foam inserts cut to the size of the frames

How to hack a French Cleat tool storage wall

Remove the backs of the IKEA frames and replace with MDF (cut to size) then pin them in place. This makes a tougher, more secure frame.

Create the French cleat system by basically cutting equal and opposing 45 degree angles on the edge of pieces of strip wood.  We cut this free-hand with a circular saw.

One length of the cut strip wood attaches to the wall (after finding the wall stud points) and the other is cut to the width of the frames and attached to each frame.

One uncut length of strip wood is also used as a “spacer” to keep the frame equidistant from the wall at both it’s fixing point at the top, and at the bottom.

Our configuration was for two rows of 7 frames each, so 14 frames in total, so we repeated the 45 degree angle batten and spacer batten layout for each row of frames.

IKEA picture frames on wall cleat

When mounting the frames to the French cleat bracket, as we had hand cut the strip wood, to get it to fit square we used a spirit level for fitting the first frame then squared the rest off against that.

Tool holder foam

We got custom sized pieces of foam to fit into each frame — so 14 pieces of 34cm x 34cm x 5cm — which slotted snugly into each frame.

First, we hand cut our company logo into one of the frames to act as a centrepiece by printing the logo on a piece of paper and cutting it out of the foam.

We planned the layout of how we wanted our tools to be positioned on the wall.

Finally we cut the tools into the foam using a scalpel to get a tight profile around every single item so the tool would fit snugly in without falling out when mounted on the wall.

Then it was just a case of slotting all the frames onto the cleats. And the last step, slotting all the tools in place.

Full instructions are on our blog or watch the process video below.

How long and how much did it cost?

Less than £200 and it tool one person (me!) around 5 hours, start to finish.

What do you like most about the French Cleat Tool Storage Wall hack?

How neat it looks and how the French Cleat feature means I can remove the frames individually as needed for working with the contents.

What was the hardest part about this hack?

Planning the layout for the tools … I wanted symmetry so it looked cool on the wall but tools aren’t symmetrical so took some trial and error to get the layout right.

What to pay special attention to? 

Getting the frames level and square, I think we came up with a particularly cool “pivot” hack for that too (see video for more details!)

Looking back, would you have done it differently?

Totally happy with the frames and how they’ve come out… might have taken more care with cutting in the 45-degree angles on the cleat to make it more consistent and therefore easier to get the mounts straight, but otherwise very happy.

~ by Jonathan


DIY Tool Storage Frames for narrow space

This is a DIY project we recently did for our friends over at Brother’s Make. It was a tool storage wall we constructed from SANNAHED Picture Frames to store their measuring tools in a tiny slither of space in the corner of their workshop between large machines. Unlike our earlier tool storage wall hack, it is a simpler IKEA hack. This version does not require adding wall cleats to the backs of the picture frames, but that also means you can’t switch the frames around or remove them from the wall.

Nevertheless, the frames were perfect. They were sturdy, lightweight, and the exact width and depth needed to fit in the gap. The IKEA picture frames contain the foam insert rigidly and does not protrude uncomfortably.

The tool storage wall allowed Matt to store a lot of tools safely and securely without taking up any floor space. Definitely a practical storage solution when you have lots of small hand tools.

IKEA items used: 

SANNAHED Picture Frames

Other materials and tools: 

Shadow Foam
Cutting Kit
Wood off-Cut
Table Saw
Pliers
Pins
Electric drill
Screws

Hacking a narrow tool storage wall with IKEA frames 

1. Take out IKEA frames from packaging and remove the back panel and picture mat.

2. Using pliers, remove the small metal clips from each frame.

3. Measure the size of each frame on plywood, mark with a pencil and cut those shapes out with your table saw.

4. Attach the wooden plywood pieces to the back of each picture frame with brad nails.

5. Using the frames as a template, cut out a correctly sized piece of Shadow Foam. Insert the foam to the frame.

6. Create a layout for your tools in the frames. Take a photo for reference.

7. Using the scalpel from the cutting kit, cut around each tool perfectly, going over the outlines to ensure a deep and thorough cut.

8. Using your fingers and thumbs, pull the foam out of the cut shapes. Insert tools into new space.

9. Screw the finished tool frames into the space available in your workshop. Alternatively you can fasten the frames to wall studs.

How long and how much did it cost?

3 hours and about 80 quid.

What do you like most about the hack?

How is maximises the space used in the workshop.

What was the hardest part about this tool wall hack?

Coming up with the best layout to get all the tools in place.

What to pay special attention to?

The layout, sometimes it takes 2 or 3 times to fully get it looking right and even.

~ by Jonathan and Matt Browning of Brother’s Make

See the video of the build process below.