before & after: toolbox wall organizer

Though they have no hope of holding all my supplies, there’s something about the look and feel of these old toolboxes that I just love. Why it never occurred to me to turn such a beautifully designed item into a wall display as Kim has done here, I will never know, but I’m thankful she’s shown the way. A jewelry designer on the side, Kim needed a place to store her supplies and some of her finished pieces in her studio. This rustic toolbox provides the perfect tiny shelves to tuck things away, and looks much more unique and elegant than the standard pegboard or shelving solution. I may not have the exact same materials as Kim, but I’m definitely tempted to adapt her idea for a lovely display. Great work, Kim! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read the full post after the jump!

Time: It took roughly 1 hour for my husband and I to get it on the wall. In order to get the drill to fit through the toolbox dividers, I had to first take the handle off. Luckily, the handle was attached by one screw on both sides, so it was easy to get off. We used heavy-duty anchors to hold it in place on one end, and screwed it to a stud in the wall on the other end.

Basic Steps: I didn’t have to do any staining or sanding on the toolbox itself because the aged look it had was just what I was looking for. I found some old glass cups that fit the height of the middle shelf and used them to hold loose materials. I like using glass because I can see what’s in it and it doesn’t take away from the overall look. At some point down the road, I plan on replacing the handle with a skinnier dowel rod (that I’ll age to match) so I can hang my spools of chain from it along with the finished necklaces. That will help free up shelf space for more materials.

For people trying to tackle a similar project, make sure you mark the wall exactly where you want it and that it’s level before you drill holes. We had to drill some pretty big holes to get those anchors through, and I can’t imagine drilling more if it was off! Also, a great tip for getting the life back in wood that’s aged a little too much is to use a wood conditioner. It’s great for restoring the original wood, but still keeps the aged effect. Be sure to get the squeeze bottle kind; there’s no mess and it lasts forever. You can find one at any Home Depot for $5. — Kim

  1. It’s always the simplest things that are the most effective. This is such a fabulous idea, and i happen to have such a toolbox that i bought at a car boot sale but never found any use for it.

    Thank you for this, perfect for all my ribbons.

  2. What a great idea! I love taking something so utilitarian and giving it a new life with something so unexpected!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. dikcy says:

    Wow, great idea! Pitty we don’t have such toolboxes in my country…

  4. Beth says:

    This is so great and definitely a unique use for the tool box. I’m really glad she kept the original look of it!

  5. Faith says:

    Brilliant, just brilliant!

  6. So beautiful and functional! Such a great idea!

  7. sue says:

    I could also see this in a small bathroom was a place to store washcloths, etc. and hang a towel. Looks great!

  8. nicole says:

    Wow! This is really beautiful!

  9. Emily says:

    This is crazy awesome. Gorgeous!

  10. k. says:

    Wowzers, that’s stunning! What a brilliant idea. xo.

  11. Lisa says:

    Perfect timing. I’ve been eyeing one of these in my stepdad’s storage wondering what it the world I could use it for.

  12. kelsey says:

    what an awesome idea. kim could also hang “s hooks” from the dowel instead of replacing it with a smaller one for hanging delicate necklaces and bracelets.

  13. Eleanor says:

    This is great – awesome re – purposing – I am now on the hunt for an old tool box!

  14. How clever!! I have one of those! I never thought to use it that way -I still probably won’t because I use it so many ways as it is, but this is a very creative application. Isn’t it interesting how someone can look at something so differently?

  15. Vanessa says:

    i’m actually on the hunt right now for something that closely resembles this! (for my bathroom). looks great!

  16. What a fantastic idea. I love this project!

  17. April says:

    LOVE this idea!!

  18. Anndrea says:

    That’s a great idea!! I love it!

  19. Jasanna says:

    love it. great idea!!

  20. Jessica says:

    So cool! Shelf, storage, and conversation piece! Win-win-WIN!

  21. Leslie says:

    Amazing idea!! I’ve been trying to organize my jewelry studio, this post came at just the right time!

  22. Casey says:

    MAKES. SO. MUCH. SENSE.

  23. orlando says:

    This is one of the best b&a’s. I was so worried for the beautiful object until I scrolled down and saw the result! whew…

  24. Stella says:

    oh, it’s lovely! great idea!

  25. danielle says:

    what a great and (seemingly) simple idea!! now to find a vintage toolbox…

  26. Peggy says:

    Love this!

  27. tashia says:

    Great idea. Love it- hope you don’t mind if i mention this in a blogpost?

  28. kamelsuhaimi says:

    great idea!! :)

  29. Kathy Shriver says:

    It could be used in your kitchen for a unique spice rack! I Hve a kitchen shelf ready to install,gonna put shelf on hold and look through my husbands shed!Thanks!!!

  30. pete brownlee says:

    do you have a plan with measurements ?

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