Monday, April 9, 2012


No, this isn't a post about how to be cheap. Just a post to say that I AM!

Ok, that's not really the point... so let's just get to that!

Have you ever heard of Mothology? No, it's not the study of moths (they claim they're the science of style!)... I hadn't heard of Mothology before a couple weeks ago, when an awesome lady came over and acquainted me with their site, specifically their Vintage Inspired Hotel Key Rack

The key rack sells for $62, which really isn't bad, since something similar from Anthro or Pottery Barn would be much more expensive (I only assume this, since I haven't seen anything similar from Anthropologie or PB)..


That's $62!

For some 1x4s and some hardware!

So let's make one for a lot le$$!

I had a huge scrap pile, so I was able to get my 1x4s from there. If you don't have scraps, you'll need:

2 - 1 x 4 x 8 (about $6, total)
1 - 1 x 2 x 8 (under $1)
25 of my DIY label holders ($2)
25 hooks ($4)

nails, glue, kreg jig, screws & finishing supplies, too!

First off, cut five 1x4s to 22". If you're picky about grain/knots, figure out your layout, and then pre-drill your pocket holes.

You can't see 'em, but on the bottoms of the boards, there are 2 pocket holes facing the opposite direction. I drilled ones in the middle in case the boards needed 'em, but didn't end up using 'em. Apply glue to the sides...

Then clamp 'em down and screw 'em together! I used a long board to keep the plank even, but you can use anything long, flat and sturdy. When you're creating a plank, it won't turn out right if you don't clamp all of the boards down.

Now you're going to add the trim. Cut two 1x2s with both ends at a 45 degree bevel, not parallel - the distance from the shortest corners will be 22". Now do the same thing for the short boards, but this time, measure the width of your plank. Mine was 17 17/32. The 1x4s will vary in width, so be sure to use your measurements! Oh, and measure twice, cut once! Unlike me! (I cut my first short board too short! eek!)

Glue and nail 'em on.

Now it's time to sand and stain. I created a stain with some steel wool, apple cider vinegar and a few rusty nails.

I had a glove on my right hand, and definitely suggest that you wear gloves, too!

The steel wool/acv/nail solution actually created this awesome color, but I'd asked about steel wool concoctions on my Facebook page, and was referred to lil' blue boo's page, where I found her lazy susan tute. She used tea bags to "warm up" the steel wool finish.

Before the tea bags (I put extra steel wool/vinegar in all the crevices to help with the "aged" look)

After the tea bags...

The tea really, really sped up the oxidation process of the steel wool/vinegar solution. I don't think it warmed it up (I think the rusty nails in the solution did that!), and I probably wouldn't use it anymore... but hey! I'm more than fine with the results, and, what's best about it is that I didn't have to stay away from the kids when I did this! No crazy chemicals to worry about!

While your boards are drying, go ahead and make yourself 25 of these DIY Label Holders, but don't make a long "handle" on the bottom. Shorten it and fold it up, so it can hold labels! Then put some glue on 'em...

I just eyeballed it, but you can create a spacer to evenly space your label holders. Then screw in your hooks.

I bought zinc eye hooks and Mr. Goats cut off the "top" of the eye with some top-cutters. He was also able to get it cut with the metal-cutting thingy on pliers (is there an actual term for that?). This may have been the "hard way," but I couldn't find packs of regular hooks in sets of 25 in zinc. They had them in brass, but then I'd have had to buy spray paint, which added to my cheap-o budget.

Anyhow, after this, I took some really cool depth-of-field shots

And then realized that I'm a total geek, and need to stop...

Anyhow, when the glue dries, pick your favorite picture hanging method, and throw this on a wall!

(see my board that was cut too short? I'll just go with the "character" excuse ;-))

I'm really torn on where to hang this (no where I put it will allow for good photos, so it's hanging in the Big Kid's room for these!), but I'm sure you guys'll see it when I figure it out!

I was able to pull this one off for about $7 (had to buy the hooks and steel wool), but this could easily be an under $20 project for you!


  1. Please!

    Never stop being a total geek, promise? This project strikes me as not really doing something on the cheap, but creating something out of materials at hand or stuff you never throw away. And you've accused me of being a pack rat!

    1. I was trying to convince myself that I haven't accused you of being a pack rat... but... I could see it. SORRY! :-p

    2. There is an up side to this. Norm Abrams always spoke about yankee craftsmen on his New Yankee Workshop as never wasting material. We'll just consider ourselves as frugal craftspeople!

  2. Girl, this is awesome. And I love that you made your own stain! I have 600 tea bags in the pantry that I'll probably never drink, so I'm definitely giving this a shot. Pinning it!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.