DIY House & Decor Repurposed

Entryway Organizer…

January 19, 2016

Entryway Organizer… sounds so boring… but I just couldn’t turn up a better name as I sit here pecking away at my keyboard while Oliver (the big cat) lays across my arms… he’s helpful like that.

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It’s the new year! Welcome! Hello! You made it!… and just about everyone I’ve talked to lately is getting organized, tidying up and clearing out the clutter… This little DIY will surely help you keep track of your mail and keys and free up space on your kitchen counters… I was forever losing my keys until we hung one of these flat crate key holders up in our entryway…

Before we get started gather up your supplies

Survey stakes two sizes:

survey stake bundle – 1/2 x 1 1/2 – Cansel Survey supplies  (here in Calgary) – $40 for 48 –  For the organizer pictured above cut 7 pieces at 16″ long 

survey stake bundle – 1 x 1 1/2 – Home Depot – $20 for 25 – cut 2 pieces 12″ long, and 2 pieces 3/4″ long

1/4″ x 3 1/2″ x 4′ plank from home depot – cut 2 pieces 12″ long

Compound mitre saw or a hand saw and mitre box

Compressor and air nailer or a hammer and nails

Wood Glue



Small drawer pulls

Label holders

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We’re going to build a flat crate using the two sizes of survey stakes… I used the thicker stake for the two 12″ pieces that will become the top an bottom… if you like stick with all of the thinner stakes… I made the decision to use the two sizes based on the make of an old flat farm crate that I picked up at a vintage market in the US a couple years back, that I love to pieces 🙂  I chose to work with survey stakes as I like the roughness of the wood for the rustic look and also because the survey stakes have the sharp corners as opposed to rounded corners.

Then the two 12″ pieces of 1 x 1 1/2 become the top and bottom and the seven pieces of 1/2 x 1 1/2 become the sides and back of the crate… then the two 12″ pieces of the 1/4 x 3 1/2″ plank become the mail holders and dividers.


Don’t fret if you don’t have power tools for cutting your wood… you can cut all of this wood using a hand saw and mitrebox like this one that you will find at your nearest hardware store…Mail Organizer - 2

Once you’ve cut all of your pieces give the edges a light sanding to knock off any sprinters… now you have a choice here to also sand your pieces smooth… if you want a sharp modern look sand your wood smooth, if you like a more rustic look then leave all of the rough spots in the wood as those will just add to the overall aesthetic…

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Next lay out the main square of your flat crate… using the two 12″ long pieces at the top and bottom and two of the seven 16″ long pieces for the two sides…

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Before nailing pieces together place a few small dots of glue onto the wood…

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Place the 12″ piece inside the 16″ pieces and nail the frame together after you’ve applied your wood glue… the wood glue will help ensure the longevity of your organizer… nails are good and all but the glue really helps hold the sucker together…

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You don’t need a lot of glue… just a small bead or a couple of dots…

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Once you’ve glued and nailed your two sides to the 12″ pieces stop for a moment get the five other 16″ long pieces out…

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If you like you can measure across the back of your frame and space your back pieces out perfectly or you can lay them out however you like by eye… for the 12″ wide frame  I like the look of five slats across the back… overall the size is up to you and is easily changeable to suit the size that you want to build…

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Once the pieces are laid across the back place a bead of glue across the parts that will be nailed together… then one by one flip them over and nail them into place… I decided to use my air nailer for this build as it is quick and easy to work with… but you can easily build this organizer with a hammer and and small finishing nails…

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One by one flip the back slats placing the glue side down and nail them all into place…

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I’ve built and stained a number of these flat crates… they make great serving trays… as are or if you add a piece of 3mm glass inside the frame ontop of the slats… you could even add handles to the sides!… but I digress… lets get to the mail slots!

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We need to attach the two 3/4″ pieces to the back of one of the 1/4″ planks that we cut at 12″… I chose 12″ for these planks as that seemed to be just a little bigger than the largest piece of common mail that we had kicking around {on the counter}.  These little 3/4″ chunks will separate our mail slots and give us something to attach the mail slots into the flat crate…  Start with one of the mail slot planks and put a mark 1″ down… and transfer this mark to the side of the plank so that you can line up the little block when you’re nailing it into place… don’t forget your wood glue before you nail!

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BAM BAM!… oh nail gun fun times!…  tack tack… they let you build so quickly when you have all of your parts ready to go!

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Next on the second mail slot plank put a mark 1/2″ down the edge of the plank… we need to offset the mail slots and I’ve found that for the size of the wood used in this organizer these dimensions work best… glue and and nail the second organizer plank into place onto the back of the little spacer block…

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Now its time to install the mail slots into the flat crate… put the bottom of the organizer slots into the flat crate towards the back and tilt the slots out towards the front of the crate until the corner lines up with the face…

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Then nail the slots into place… you can look down into the slots and use the nail holes on the front of the mail slots to help guide you as to where the little block is sitting… then nail the slots into place… I found that two nails per side work best as with only one per side the piece can move around.

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Here’s a shot looking down into the mail slots… looking down inside from above you can see the little spacer blocks… to nail them to the sides of the flat crate.

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We’re getting so close now!… next we have to measure in and drill the holes for the little pulls where keys will hang… I liked the look of the pulls two inches down into the organizer and then spaced evenly across the back… I chose to only use two… use more if you like… don’t forget to take into account the width of the wood at the top when you’re measuring down from the backside 😉

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Also create a mark halfway across the slat for your exact hole location…

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Drilling from the back helps ensure that you don’t drill holes into your work surface… just don’t press too hard with your drill so that you don’t pop out the frontside with too much force… oh and be sure to chose a drill bit that corresponds with the size of the screw that came with your drawer pulls!

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Once your holes are drilled flip the crate over and sand away any splinters from drilling…

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If you don’t want to see any nail holes in your finished piece now is the time to fill them all and sand away any excess filler once it has dried…

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Once you’ve filled and sanded it’s paint time!… I chose to paint the two of the mail holders that I made for this tutorial… really though the finishing is entirely up to you and what you like… you could leave it au natural, stain it, throw it outside for a few months to weather naturally…

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For my first mail organizer I chose Cream FAT paint and then to finish it with a natural then patina wax to give it a rustic look… This look went well with the label holders and tiny pulls that I’d found at Lee Valleythese label holders I ordered onlineLee Valley does have a selection of label holders… these label holders did not come with tiny screws… those I also found at Lee Valley… or you could tiny screws online from McMaster Carr

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After I painted the holder with two coats of Cream FAT Paint I hit it with natural wax using a cheesecloth… and then Patina wax over the natural wax… the natural wax creates a slip for the darker wax making it easier to work with yielding much better results than if you went directly on top of such a light colour of paint…

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The dark wax sits in the brush strokes, inside corners and any rough patches in the wood, and give an overall “dirty” look to the piece… or as I like to say “rustic” 😉

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For a more modern look I’ve created a second mail holder to show you… using FAT paint again and FAT Paint’s great clear top coat…

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I also sprayed the little knobs and label holders with gold paint… this finish options for this mail organizer are only limited by what you can think up… so let loose and get to work!

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If you like your pieces very modern be sure to sand down any roughness in the wood so that the wood finish is smooth before you begin to paint… you can even sand between the coats of your paint to knock down any brush strokes for an ultra smooth piece… I painted with two coats of FAT Paint in the gorgeous Elefante and then hit it with a coat of the FAT Clear…  then on with the gold painted knobs and label holders and she’s done!…

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I hope that you found this build tutorial helpful… and if you have any questions please fire away… OH and if you have an suggestions for tutorials that you would like to see tackled here just let me know!… If you would like to see a video of this tutorial you can checkout the segment that Craig Larkins of BT Calgary filmed with me here at the nest!… it’s always a fun time filming segments with Craig… I just rolled my eyes at myself… I always manage to pull a silly face or say or do something silly {not on purpose} lol

Now if you tackle this project please come on over to the Feathering My Nest Facebook page and share a shot of your mail organizer!… I would LOVE to see how you finish yours or tweak the build to suit your needs… looking forward to checking out YOUR creations!





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