DIY Chalkboard Shelf & Backpack Rack for Kids

by Jenn

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FuelForSchool #CollectiveBias

We seriously should have made the DIY Chalkboard Shelf with Backpack Rack years ago.  It sure would have helped save us time in the mornings.  Gosh, I don’t know how we have managed so long without it!  Thank goodness for quick and easy breakfasts stashed away in the freezer for those mornings when the kids lose their backpack, lol.  Which in my house used to be almost every single morning.  BLAH!

My kids started back to school and every time I turn around we are searching for backpacks.  Seriously, it’s the last thing I want to do in the morning.  Not only that, but it’s the last thing we have time for in the mornings.  They’re lucky to get breakfast some mornings and if it wasn’t for quick and easy breakfast likes Jimmy Dean® Sausage & Pancakes on a Stick, they would be grabbing something not so tasty before running out the door, lol.  Hey, you know it happens.  To avoid the dreaded morning search for backpacks we make an AWESOME DIY Chalkboard Shelf Backpack Rack, and I wanted to share it with you.

DIY Chalkboard Shelf Backpack Rack for KidsDIY Chalkboard Shelf Backpack Rack for Kids

The chalkboard shelf and backpack rack not only looks great, but it also saves us time and even allows us to jot down reminders for the following day. Yes, today was picture day, thanks to the chalkboard we remembered to do everyone’s hair, which, of course, put us behind schedule, lol. It never fails, not matter how prepared I am something happens.

diyYou’ll need:

  • Birch Plywood (ours was 30” x 53”)
  • One 1″ x 8″ x 10′ We used oak but you can use anything you have laying around
  • One 1″ x 4″ x 8′
  • 1 can of flat black spray paint (will be base coat)
  • 1 can chalk board paint
  • Tape measure
  • Palm sander
  • 2 woodworking clamps
  • 1 brad nailer (optional)
  • Wood glue
  • Router with ¼ or ½ round bit
  • 2 hanging hooks of your choice

Let’s get started:

First you’ll want to measure and cut the plywood to whatever size you want.  We went with 1/4″ plywood cut down to 30” x 53” because it fit space next to the front door, so we didn’t need to cut it down.  

  • diy project kids backpackRegardless of whether you buy the plywood the size you need or cut it be sure to sand the top of the plywood smooth to the touch.  Apply a coat of flat black spray paint and allow to dry.  This will serve as the base coat.

diy project shelves chalkboard

  • Measure and cut 1” x 8” board to 53” long (you’ll need two).  If you have a 10′ board, it should leave you with 26″ of the board.  Measure and cut the remaining piece of 1″ x 8″ board into two 12″ long pieces.
  • Clamp your 12″ pieces to your work bench and use your router with 1/4 round bit and knock off both edges leaving the top and bottom flat.  Repeat this step for both 53″ pieces.  Then sand all four parts until smooth.

diy project

  • Return to the 30” x 53” plywood and gently sand flat black paint until smooth. Then apply chalkboard paint and allow to dry.  You may want to do more than one coat if you do so be sure each layer is thin, and you allow each coat to dry before adding another.
  • Take the four (4) pieces of 1” x 8” and apply clear lacquer – brush or spray allow to sit 10 minutes or until dry (follow directions) between coats.  We only covered three of the wood pieces with a finish, because the bottom board has chalkboard paint on it so we could write the kids name next to their backpack/coat hook.  Just an idea, you can do it however you like if you don’t like the bottom in chalkboard paint.

diy woodwork project

  • Cut 1” x 4” x 8” board (2) 30” long and (1) 10” long. These do not need to be pretty they’ll be on the back.

diy chalkboard shelves project

  • When everything is dry lay the 1″x 8″ face down, apply wood glue to the backs of the boards and place plywood on top of the back with the black side of the plywood facing down.  Now take the two 1″ x 4″ x 30″ boards and lay them on both ends of the plywood that measures 30″ and attach using a screw or brad nails.  Center the 1″ x 4″ x 10″ board in the center close to the top so you’re able to hang your chalkboard backpack rack.

diy chalkboard

  • Flip the project on it’s back and attach to the bottom of the frame at a 90-degree angle to make the shelf use wood glue and screws to attach.  


  • Place hooks on the bottom board under the shelf.  This is where the backpacks and coats will hang.  I have my purse hanging on it when the kids are not home lol.  I know I have it hanging in the above images, but don’t hang it yet.  You’ll want everything to completely dry for about 24 hours before hanging.

diy chalkboard shelves & backpack rack projectNow you’ll want to pat yourself on the back, pick the kids up from school and sit down for an awesome after school snack with them.  I’m going to be they’ll love their new backpack rack almost as much as their afterschool snack, lol.  

diy chalkboard shelve for kidsI’m lucky while I run to grab the kids my beautiful sister can make the kids an after-school snack!  Isn’t it sweet, I was so excited to get home and show the kids!  However, when I walked in I ran into my sister holding two half eaten corn dogs for the children. HMMM, I think it’s safe to say she got a little hungry what do you think?  I almost think she looks happier than Mattie, haha.  I guess she would be she got a whole corn dog and left the girls with a half.  Darn, Auntie Rema.

corn dogs and pancake on stickJimmy Dean® Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick are super yummy, satisfying, and a quality breakfast solution for our family, especially when we are running behind schedule.  Oh, and did you know State Fair Corn Dogs feature a honey-sweetened cornbread batter?   Yup, that’s why the bread around the corn dogs is so good!  Just ask Auntie Rema, lol!  She’ll tell you!

corndogAt least the kids will be able to grab a Jimmy Dean® Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick in the morning without Auntie Rema eating half of it, lol. Oh, but who knows mom might just want to eat some too. See, and when you take a bit from one of the kids you MUST take one of from all of them or you will be playing favorites. We don’t want that happening right? Oh, you know you do it too! Right?

walmart freezer sectionMaybe we’re the only family, who knows. I do know; we’re happy to have Jimmy Dean® Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick or State Fair® Classic Corn Dogs for easy breakfast and after school snacks which you can grab in the freezer section at your local Walmart.

Do you have any DIY projects are hacks that make your mornings easier, save time or help make things less stressful?

DIY Wood and Steel Console Restoration Hardware Knock-Off!Be sure to check out our DIY Wood & Steel Console Restoration Knock-Off.

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