DIY Garden Tool Wall Rack

by | Feb 15, 2022 | DIY, Farmhouse Finds, Refurbishing Furniture | 6 comments

Are you looking for an easy way to store your small garden tools? I will walk you through how to create a DIY Garden Tool Wall Rack.

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DIY Garden tool wall rack

This garden tool wall rack didn’t start off looking like this. I hope this is a source of inspiration for you. If I can create this – you can too.

Before I start – if you get a chance, head on over to my friend Cindy’s blog. She shares with you 14 Upcycled Projects. If you like this post – then you will love the ideas she shares too.

DIY Garden Tool Wall Rack

If you have been following this blog for any amount of time, you know that I refinish/refurbish antique and vintage furniture. I also sell antiques and vintage items. Last fall, I purchased a dresser that was about 150 years old. It needed some work. For example, there was a decorative trim wood piece that sat on the back of the top that acted sort of like a back splash.

The only problem was – it had broken off. There was also another problem – there was no good way to re-attach it to the dresser without drilling new holes. So, I decided to leave it off of the dresser.

Wooden Piece from an antique dresser

As you can see in the photo above, it was a fairly substantial size and it was definitely ORANGE. As in that 1970’s orange wood stain color. Yuck. Still, I am not in the habit of throwing away a perfectly good piece of wood that is 150 years old and as a result it sat in my basement for a number of months.

Then, last week, I had an idea! Actually, first I had a problem. As I prepared for spring, I realized that I didn’t have any place to hang my small gardening tools such as my garden spade, clippers, twine etc. So I decided to use this piece of wood to make a garden tool wall rack.

It’s important to note, that you can use any wood for this project. You can even use a new piece of plywood. The wood just has to be long enough and wide enough to accommodate some hooks.

I decided to paint this piece of wood using MMS Milk Paint because the existing orange stain just isn’t my taste. So, let’s jump in and I will show you how to create your own Garden Tool Wall Rack.

Step 1: Prep the Wood

I love using milk paint because it gives wood character and texture. I like neutrals and prefer a lighter and brighter style. This means I am not a big fan of patterns and that I use very limited amounts of color.

For this project, I wanted the piece of wood to look like architectural salvage. With layers of chipping and crackled paint. I did not want a smooth uniform finish. Only powder milk paint would give me the type of finish that I wanted.

The first thing I did was use 150 grit sand paper and a random orbital sander to scuff the existing surface. The wood looked like it had been sealed with an oil based polyurethane. If I wanted the milk paint to adhere – then the surface had to be lightly sanded. I decided to sand both sides of the piece of wood.

After sanding the wood, I wiped it down with a damp lint free cloth and some Mr. Clean. Now we are ready for step 2.

Step 2: Apply the First Coat of Paint

I mixed up MMS Milk Paint in the color Farmhouse White and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Any type of powder milk paint will work for this project.

Here is a tip when using milk paint – if you use warm water to mix the paint, the powder will dissolve much easier. Also, you have to mix the paint for a good 10 minutes or so to eliminate any clumps and to get a nice smooth consistency.

Wooden piece with scalloped edge

Painting being applied to piece of wood

When applying paint, try to keep your brush strokes with the grain of the wood. After the first coat of paint, you might think that the wall rack looks pretty terrible.

First coat of white paint on wooden piece

As you can see in the photo above, the first coat of paint looks splotchy. Never mind the splotchy paint. Don’t be deterred!

If you use a hair dryer to help your paint dry quickly – something amazing may happen.

Crackling of white milk paint on wood

Wait for the coat of paint to dry completely and if you like a distressed time worn patina, then use a hair dryer to help the paint dry faster. At this point we are ready for step 3.

Step 3: Layer the Paint

This is the secret to getting a time worn look to your paint job. Layering. If you need to, mix up more milk paint. Using some 220 grit sand paper, lightly sand the dry first coat of paint. Now apply another coat of paint and if possible – try to apply the paint a little thicker. Use your hair dryer to help the paint dry between coats.

The heat from the hair dryer creates a crackling in the finish and promotes chipping of the paint. Keep repeating this pattern:

  • Apply paint
  • Use a hair dryer to help the paint dry quickly
  • Lightly sand dried paint with 220 grit sand paper
  • Apply another layer of paint

As you repeat this process it will build up layers of paint and will create a texture that looks like naturally aged paint. It’s important to note, this technique only works if you use milk paint.

For this garden tool wall rack, I applied 4 coats of paint. Some coats of paint were thicker than others.

Step 4: Add Hooks

You can usually find hooks at your local hardware store. I found some from Walmart and I linked them below. Measure the length of your piece of wood and then divide it by the number of hooks you want to attach.

Garden tool wall rack painted white

The wall rack shown above is 40 inches long and as a result, I decided to use 5 brass hooks. I measured out where the hooks should be mounted and used a ruler to ensure they were all mounted in a straight line.

Important Tips!

Use a pen to mark the holes for each hook and then use a drill bit to drill a small pilot hole into the wood. This is important! If you don’t drill a pilot hole – the wood may crack. That would be very sad after all the work you put into painting the wood.

Another important tip – make sure your screws are not longer than the thickness of the wood. You don’t want the screws to come through the other side of your wood rack.

Garden Tool Wall Rack close up of hooks

You can see the hooks attached to the wood and also how the layering of the paint created a time worn and chippy affect that gives the garden tool wall rack character and texture.

Step 5: Enjoy your Garden Tool Wall Rack

Congratulations! Your garden tool wall rack is now complete and ready for use! I love these wall racks because they provide great storage and keep everything organized and within reach. No more digging through a bucket or tool box to find your gardening shears.

DIY Garden Tool Wall Rack

Speaking of gardening – I am SO excited for spring. Won’t it be wonderful to see green grass and flowers? Right now, we have about 8 inches of snow and ice on our lawn.

Garden Tool Wall Rack - before and after

Here is one more photo showing the “Before” and “After”

Other Projects

If you want to see what happened to the rest of that 150 year old dresser you can read about it by clicking on the link.

You may also like these posts:

Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope you found some inspiration as we transition into spring.

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  1. Susan

    Such a creative repurposing idea, love this! The hair dryer for crackle tip is brilliant. Thinking of all the wood planks in our shed, this may give new life to one of them. Gardening season is coming, yay!!!

    • Sky Lark House

      Hi Susan-
      Hooray for gardening season! Wood planks would make a perfect rack. I can’t wait to see grass and have flowers.
      Thank you for commenting!

  2. Cindy

    Great project Anna! I think I have a similar piece in my stash – thanks for the idea – my local customers will love this!

    • Sky Lark House

      Thank you Cindy! Yes, its a great way to use old wood. I bet your customers would love it.

  3. Marie

    This is super cute! And handy to boot! Love that you saved the wood and found a way to make it shine.

    • Sky Lark House

      Thank you so much Marie!


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