DIYdiy projects

diy project: patterned key rack

by Grace Bonney

yesterday i was sitting in the living room looking at my fluffy co. key rack and thought to myself- wouldn’t it be fun to have a few more of these around the house for other hanging objects like kitchen aprons and necklaces? so i started looking online for something that had the sort of pattern i was looking for and couldn’t find any (though i did find these lovely key racks by erin lang norris). so i figured, why not make one myself? i’m always looking projects that lets me take advantage of the absurdly huge collection of gift wrap i have around so i gathered up my supplies and created my own “custom” key racks using the same dwell pattern paper i used for my jewelry shadow boxes. start to finish it took about 5-6 minutes per rack and cost maybe $5 for all four. the options for decorating something like this are endless but for this specific style and the basic instructions click here to rest of the post with details (or just click “read more” below).

[thanks again to dwell for sending out such great press pads- i’ve been using that paper for a different project every other day. it’s tragically cute.]

what you’ll need:

-small piece(s) of wood cut to your desired size (i bought a small board and had it cut evenly into four pieces appx. 6 inches by 4 inches)
-glue (i used mod podge glue)
-triangle ring hangers or saw-tooth hangers (available in picture frame aisle of your local hardware store)
-small round screw hooks
-gift wrap or decorative paper
-nail for hanging on the wall


1. sand down your pieces of wood and clean them thoroughly with a damp cloth or paper towel. make sure they’re dry before you proceed.


2. nail one triangle ring hanger or saw-tooth hanger to the back of each piece of wood, about 1 inch from the top (so the hanger won’t be visible).

3. if you’d like to cover the sides of the wood, measure the paper to be about 1 inch wider and longer than your piece of wood. paint the front of the wood with a thin layer of mod podge and place your paper, centered, on top. press down and fold the edges neatly around to the back. let dry (you can use a staple gun or small nails to hold the paper in place while you wait if necessary).

[if you don’t care about the sides of the wood piece showing- or have chosen to paint them a different color- simply cut the paper to fit the front of the wood and paste into place. there won’t be anything to fold over and secure. let dry and proceed to step 5]

4. once dry, cover the paper surface and as much of the wood on the back as you’d like with mod podge to finish it off. if you’d prefer to have a matte surface and not glossy just use the mod podge or regular glue to secure the paper to the wood.


5. gather as many small screw hooks (for keys, jewelry, etc.) as you’d like to fit on your rack and gently tap (with a nail and hammer) and indentation into each spot where you’d like to have a screw. then use the nail hole to start the screw and simply screw each hook into the wood.

[if you’d like the hooks to be on the front of the wood board and not hang underneath like i’ve done simply tap your nail holes and screws into the front of the board and not the bottom]

6. use the hanger on the back of the wood to secure each rack to the wall with a nail and you’re done!

notes: there are so many ways you could decorate the board. here are a few i plan on trying next- stencils, hand painting, fabric (it would need to be thin and staple-gunned to the wood), collage, stamps or paper cut. i’d love to print out a monogrammed “A” and “G” and mod podge them onto wood for ac and myself. the possibilities are endless.




-wooden board (anywhere from $2-$10 at your local hardware or home supply store, if you don’t have one lying around like i did)
-screws and hooks (i bought packs 2 packs of 4 for each totaling $3.50)
-gift wrap (i bought single sheets at a craft store for $0.75 each. but you could use pricer wraps that range up to $15 a roll)

total: anywhere from $5-$20 depending on what you already have at home. but not bad for a fun afternoon project!

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  • Fabulous idea! This will be a great way to use up my extra paper from the shadowbox project!

  • On a side note – beautiful flowers! This inspired me to take a walk to the San Francisco Flower Mart during lunch today.

  • grace, that’s a great red vase. who makes that where’d you get it? the top bunch of flowers i so gorgeous. layers and layers of petals. lovely. :)

  • sarah

    the vase is from “middle kingdom” but i bought it at the golden calf in williamsburg. i think for $12?


  • thanks guys- it’s miserably rainy and grey here today so i’m happy i was able to get something colorful on the walls ;)


  • great post! can you tell me where you got the lovely violet tray that your flower vase is sitting on? i’m looking for something similar …

  • Grace,
    I love this project…and I especially love that dwell paper. I can’t seem to find it anywhere online or the dwell site. Do you know who carries it? Thanks!

  • Grace, these look great! Thanks for linking to me! (Although, is it possible for you to switch “morris” to “norris”?)

    I’ll definitely have to make something like this as a gift this spring! It will be a nice break from all the painting and block printing that goes into the ones I make.

  • oh! Another idea would be to attach the hooks to the bottom of a stretched canvas! I have plenty of those lying around! What an easy way to make my paintings into functional art, thanks for the inspiration!

  • weird this is something that has been at the top of my to do list for weeks, just been waiting for some time to figure out how to best go about it, and now you’ve solved that for me! thanks! great red vase too.

  • nice idea and looking great. now I just need to get my brain to start hanging up the keys at the same location every time I walk into that door… (love the second from top down design!).

  • Oh I love it! I am always looking for DIY ideas that do a great job mixing design with clever applications! This is now on my to-do list…

  • Grace, this is a random question, but what do you store your wrapping paper in? I also have an absurd amount of gift wrap, and I finally stored all my Christmas paper away in a long Rubbermaid bin that fit on my closet shelf. But I’m afraid more paper is going to take over my apt. and I’m wondering if there are any better storage solutions out there. Any suggestions? Maybe that’s too specific, but even a design guide to storage solutions would help me!

  • emily

    i actually just roll the paper up with rubber bands and put it in my closet- i know, nothing fancy ;)


  • Hello!
    Does Dwell have paper? I don’t see it on their website. You mentioned press pads? Not sure what that is.
    These are really cute!
    Thanks for your help.

  • I too was wondering about Dwell having paper because I love what you have used!! This is a fantastic project – I am planning on doing it today! Dito on the flowers – talent abounds…

  • dwell doesn’t currently sell this paper but i spoke with the girls yesterday and tried to beg for them to put the paper notepads online for sale ;)


  • Great project! One other tip to add along: instead of buying saw tooth picture hangers or triangle loop hangers, I use small finishing nails to attach a coke tab to the back of what I’m hanging — they’re surprisingly durable. For bigger things other than pictures, I use the larger pull tabs off of things like sardine or soup cans.

  • i love this idea (and commenter’s suggestions)!

    here’s my suggestion – you can get graham and brown wallpaper samples for $1 each on their website. by using the wallpaper in place of paper, it’s a neat way to get your favorite patterns in your room w/o papering the whole wall!

  • this is a great idea, though I may slightly change my version of it since I have a closet full of fabrics, some I cannot bear to cut into, so if I use them, I will still have a piece of my faves! Thanks I think I will make a few and hang them just inside each of the bedrooms — kids always seem to be looking for their keys!

  • I love this. I have been looking for key racks and haven’t found any I like. This is nice and simple and a great outcome. I have beautiful art in old calendars that I wanted to reuse and I will use that for the ones I make! Very good!

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  • Hey there,

    I’ve revisited the tutorial and made some of these but I’m having trouble with it hanging wonky with the different keys on there. Any ideas how to rectify this?


  • I made one and loved it, but it hung crookedly with the weight of keys pulling on one side of the board (maybe this is what you meant by wonky?) – so I just attached two picture hangers to the top back corners (also coke tabs actually) so the board was attached at two points…. Much better. Great little tutorial!

  • Just finished this project! I added clear contact paper so my husband and I can write notes to one another!