Make This Beautiful Coat Hanger Shelf – Illustrated How-To

If you subscribe to the RemodelingGuy IdeaLetter sign-up box below then you’ll recognize this picture. I noticed this recently in a brochure for Ralph Lauren Paints and included the idea in a newsletter, telling folks how easy it would be to build one of these!


A bunch of you wanted to know exactly how it was put together. So that’s what I’m going to show you today.

After you check out this awesome shelf idea, here’s more diy shelving inspiration.

How-To Make A Coat hanger Shelf with Crown Molding (and a few other parts)

The parts of this are very simple and I’ve done a detailed drawing to show you both a cross-section, and a straight-on view (elevation).

Coat Hanger Shelf

If you click on that image, it will open up a larger version. You can clearly see that the shelf assembly is made-up of five parts altogether:

  1. A solid 2×10 as the main structure
  2. A 1×6 shelf with a rounded front edge
  3. Crown molding wrapped on three sides (front and each end)
  4. A smaller molding (name varies) used to finish the bottom edge
  5. Coat hangers

How-To Build This Coat Hanger Shelf

Materials required:

  • 1 – 2″x10″ x 8′ long (any smooth surface wood such as spruce or fir)
  • 1 – 1″x6″ x 8′ long (use the same type of wood if possible)
  • 1 – 8′ length of approx. 3″ crown molding (may be slightly more or less)
  • 1 – 8′ length of smaller 1″ or 1.5″ molding (see drawings for profile)
  • 6 – coat hanger hooks (amazon link at end of post)
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • 60 grit sandpaper (to round shelve edges – also could use router)
  • long screws or toggle bolts to attach 2×10 to wall
  • short screws to attach shelf to 2×10
  • brad nails, trim nails, or trim screws to attach crown and bottom molding
  • wood glue
  • primer
  • paint
  • Coat Hooks

Tools Required:

  • This can be done with a handsaw and a hand miter-box, but I would use a 10″ miter saw for all cuts.
  • A router would be helpful to round the shelf edges, but you can use sandpaper
  • A cordless or corded drill to screw the shelf to the 2×10, to screw the trim on with finish screws if you don’t have a brad nailer or trim nailer (air tools), and to install the whole thing on the wall.

Before we go through the basic steps: I’m not an ultra-detailed instruction kind of fella. I’m more apt to show you picture, tell you what kind of stuff is in it, and keep on rolling than I am to tell you what size screw to use, at what drill speed, at what angle, in what kind of wood, at what time of year, in specific humidity and under the correct astrological sign. If I leave something out, you can ask in the comments.

Step One – Prepare The 2×10

Cutting the 2×10 to length. I’ve drawn the drawing at 6′ long. It works great at that length with six coat hooks and allows it all to be made with 8′ lumber. You can make it whatever length you want.

You have to decide if you want to cut the ends of the 2×10 square or if you want to miter the ends and put a small return into the wall. If you cut it square, you’ll see what’s known as “end-grain” at the ends of the board. This is harder to finish cleanly and smoothly. How hard depends on the lumber. You can cut a test and see if it looks smooth enough. If so, you’ll find a square end-cut to be much easier (and safer to make).

Step Two – Install The Top Shelf

It’s easier to build this whole thing on the ground and paint it prior to installing. So the next step will be to install the shelf on top. I’ve drawn the shelf at 4″ more than the 2×10 on each end, so a total of 6′-8″ long. It is important to note, that this dimension has more to do with the protrusion of the crown molding than anything else. You’ll want to have an understanding of how far out from the face of the 2×10 your crown molding will come before making this cut. See drawings to better understand.


Round the front edge of the shelf using a router or the 60 grit sandpaper. (you’ll need to smooth it with the 150 before painting)

Use wood glue along the top edge of the 2×10 and position the shelf so that the same amount hangs off of each end, past the 2×10 (should be about 4″). I would use brad nails to hold the piece in-place while I add screws to strengthen the joint. You’ll putty and sand the holes before painting. (but these are in an inconspicuous place anyway) Use something like a 2.5″ wood screw, about 10″ on-center (7 or eight screws holding the back edge of the shelf to the top of the 2×10). Depending on the wood and the screws, it may be helpful to pre-drill the holes.

Step Three – Install The Crown Molding

There are many tutorials online about how to cut crown molding. If you can get a helper, the easiest way is to hold it securely in exactly the same position as it will be installed. With something this small you can skip the whole “upside-down cut” thing, but you might need help for safety. You always have to watch your fingers and eyes when cutting with power saws.

You can hold your crown securely on the 2×10 and mark it at each end. I would try and leave the bulk of my “drop” at one end to make cutting the returns safer. You want your crown molding to be the exact length of the 2×10 if measured from the inside bottom of the crown. If anything, make it an eighth longer and split the difference. Just don’t make it shorter!

I’m not a professional how-to author… so I don’t really know how to say… stick the crown molding on there like in the picture! Use brad nails and glue if you have an air nailer. Otherwise you can use trim screws. You can’t hand nail this unless you use a tiny hammer. Since this is not on the wall yet, you won’t be able to hammer it. Too wobbly.

Step Four – Install The Bottom Molding

This is a very similar process to the crown molding, but the bottom molding doesn’t go past the ends, instead it ends just prior to the 2×10 end. Again, see pictures and drawings.

Step Five – Paint it.

I’d fill all nail and screw holes, sand the whole thing with 150 grit, put on a coat of primer, sand again, and paint.

Step Six – Install On The Wall


Here’s where the major disclaimer comes in: every wall is different! How you install this on the wall totally depends on your wall. If you have a wall made of solid 3/4″ thick wood paneling your installation is super easy. If your wall is drywall and your studs are totally not where you need them, then your installation will be harder.

The ideal installation will allow you to install it with long wood screws in the exact location of the coat hooks. This way you can install the coat hooks when it is in place and cover your mounting screws. With the coat hooks set at 12″ apart, this will work on many walls with 24″ OC studs. But it won’t work as well with 16″ OC Studs.

You can just find your studs, screw the shelf to the wall in those locations (getting the strongest attachment to solid wood) and then just install the coat hooks over the screws. If the spacing doesn’t work you can putty and paint over the screws.

Alternatively, you can use adequately sized toggle bolts in the exact location of the coat hooks. Just counter-sink the bolt heads a little so that the coat-hook will fit over the top and cover the toggle bolt.

I’m leaving the final installation open because you really need to be the judge of the strength of your wall, the weight of your shelf, the size of your mounting hardware, and the overall combination of everything.

I hate to sound simplistic about this, but the way most professionals make sure that they have the thing on there really strong is to really pull on it hard. It should be very solidly in-place. If not, it’s not safe to leave on the wall.

If you have questions, ask in the comments and check back there for the answer. I’ll do my best to help.

And don’t forget, this great idea originally showed-up in the Remodeling Guy IdeaLetter. Don’t miss it! The sign-up link is at the top of the page in the header.

If you use these drawings and instructions there is no charge, but there is something you can do to help me… please post links back to this post on your blog, facebook page, twitter, or wherever you can. Those links all help others find this resource which helps the blog to grow over time. Thanks!

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  1. says

    I am loving this post Tim! I have seen something similiar to this in catalogs when they are showcasing other furniture in the picture. I have always wondered if it was easy to recreate. You know, like can I do it or do I have to wait until my husband has a weekend to. You have taken the mystery out of it for me. Thanks for taking the time to put together the drawings and detailed instructions. I am thinking maybe I can tackle this myself.
    We we will be moving soon and this is first on my list to put in our new foyer.
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Some Linky Love for you today =-.

  2. says

    ok…i just came back from Lowes with everything I thought I needed…I’m trying to do this with just a miter box, not the circular saw, and it is really tough to cut 3″ trim at an angle using the box…any suggestions?

    i think i just need to call my father in law to come over…you’re instructions seemed so great, I thought I could do it all on my own.

    maybe i still can.
    .-= Kristen – Pajama Mama´s last blog ..Valentines Day Canvas for My Babies’ Daddy =-.

  3. says

    Hey Kristen –

    I’m glad you’re going for it and sorry you’re having trouble.

    The problem when cutting the trim by hand is that it wants to move around. Usually, you need another person to hold it tight! It’s also a good practice to start very slowly then once you get a groove in the wood, speed up. But the wood has to be perfectly still to get it right.

    Another problem is the crown wanting to go flat (not stay on the angle). This is also a place where you need a hand while you cut it.

    I’m trying to think of ways to work around that… you could come-up with a way to fasten the board to a larger board securely, then clamp that to something stationary. you could use a couple of trim nails to hold the crown to a 2×8 or even your 2×10, then clamp that to a table… I’m reaching here, trying to help.

    I’m sure with patience, the cuts can be made by hand.

    Let me know how it goes.


  4. ange says

    My hubby is at Home Depot as I type this getting all the materials so we can make this! I found it on Pinterest. I’ll be blogging about it on Monday! THANKS!

  5. Deb says

    Thanks so much. At the local thrift store, I found one of those wall shelves that looks like it is made of moulding. And this is perfect way for me to make it into something like yours.
    I will be using the molding as the top, I have my 2×10, and I am hoping a piece of molding to use on the bottom is just hanging around here.
    I can’t wait to get started…..
    BUT, is 12″ the best spacing for the hoooks, could you go less?? My board is only 3ft long (and my wall space is smaller then yours) I need more then 3 hooks, hoping for 4/5??

  6. Jenny says

    Hi Tim, I love this and have mine half finished…just need to paint. Where do you recommend getting hooks. I don’t care for the ones at Home Depot or Lowes. I’m painting mine black and wanting an antique looking hook.

  7. Jen says

    Thanks for the post… Going to build mine this week!

    For Jenny: Lee Valley is great for more hook options if you want something a little different.

  8. Wendy Cochran says

    I love this shelf, beautiful and I am going to try to make one! Do you have any suggestions for a paint that is an espresso color? I have a bench that will go under it and I can not find a stain that works. Any suggestions on a paint instead? Thanks so much! Love your site!

  9. says

    The shelf is great.. but WHAT IS THE PAINT COLOR!!!!! I Love the combination. A, we’ve been searching for a great mustardy color for our entryway, and B, I love the faux finish ragging that will not show finger marks so greatly. As my fingers in this house are wont to leave. Help, pelase pretty please??????

  10. cheryl says

    just wanted to ask about the final installation height on the wall, I’m planning on making mine about 8 to 10 feet long i have the same layout in my house with the long narrow wall. The thermostat and light switch are on that wall though. I am wondering how high it is mounted on the wall to get that finished look.

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial….will try to attach pics when complete

  11. Carrie says

    I need to know where you got the carpet from!! I love the whole look of the entryway and I am obsessing about that carpet!! Please if you know please share!! :)

  12. says

    I have everything put together, and painted, but how do I get the angles right for the return to the wall for the Top crown molding?) I’ve got a ryobi miter saw, and I cut the top to be at a 45degree angle, but I think I need that edge to also be at a 45. I don’t know how to get the saw to do that! I’m laying awake trying to figure this out….

    • says

      The easiest way to cut crown molding on the correct angle is to place it in the saw in the same position as it will finally be. In other words don’t lay it flat in the saw, use a block or a (careful) steady hand to hold it at the same angle it will be when done. Then when you cut on a 45, you’ll get a compound mitre that will be correct. There are other ways but too much for a comment, best to Google “how to cut crown molding laying flat” – Good luck! – Tim

  13. Linda says

    Tim, thanks for the Great Idea , I Love how detailed you are, I know I can do this and just might make a few for gifts, Thanks again, Keep the DIY,s coming

  14. Laura says

    I doubt you’re still responding to comments after 2 years, but love the shelf & love the runner on the stairs. Where was the runner purchased?

  15. Lorz says

    We have just put this finished shelf on the wall in our kitchen above an old church pew that we have. Loved it after seeing this image on Pinterest and then using your instructions! Have to say though, it was beyond our carpentry skills so we had someone make it for us but it’s very unique- we love it. Very helpful instructions

  16. Heather Anderson says

    My husband finished this shelf and mounted it onto our wall today. Long story short, it’s been a long journey, as it was his first ever woodworking project. We’re all very pleased with it, and my husband is looking for the next project!

    Thanks for posting!

  17. Amy says

    I know this is a tutorial on how to make this, but are they available to buy? You make…I buy? Please let me know. I would like one that is 8 feet long.

  18. Tamar Time says

    I am sure you have been asked this plenty of times. Where can I find a newel post like that? Thanks.

  19. James Buck says

    So what astrological sign is this project best attempted under? As a Piscean male, I am worried about the subversive effects such a project will have on my relationship (with a Capricorn) if I screw it up.



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