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Need to organize your jewelry? This walnut version uses magnets and brass to create a modern and beautiful-to-look-at organizer with tons of earring storage!
Out of all my jewelry, I wear earrings the most. And although I’ve looked for ways to organize them, I’ve never really seen an organizer that addresses my larger earrings and studs (which I wear most often) well. So when I was asked to join in on the Spring Organization Challenge, I created a custom version for my primary bedroom hallway that packs all of my faves. My studs finally have a home that’s easy to see and won’t get lost. And best of all, they attach to the main organizer with magnets!
How to Make This Jewelry Organizer
I normally like to keep my materials list short, but this organizer packs a lot of value per square inch, so there were a lot of extra elements involved!
Below, I’ve got lots of written instructions, including supplies, link to plans, and more. If you’re more of a video person, I now have that available for you too! Check it out here and on my YouTube channel:
- 1/4″ walnut plywood (I ordered a 2′ x 4′ sheet as the smallest size available in my area)
- 1/2″ scrap wood/plywood
- assorted brass rods (this project used the 8mm and 6mm)
- walnut edge banding
- super glue
- wood glue
- mint tin (rounded edge)
- double sided tape
- black stretch cord
- 1/2″ wooden dowel
- mini magnets
- Maker Brand Simple Finish
- Monkey Hooks
- circular saw (I used a mini circular saw)
- jigsaw (not used but recommended, see below)
- drill bits (5/64″, 5/32″, 15/64″, 5/16″)
- 1/4″ Forstner bit
- benchtop sander
- angle grinder with
- carpenter’s square
- micro zip sander & sanding pads
- pull saw
- tape measure
The entire piece is roughly 13″ x 17″ (similar to the dimensions of a 12×16 Ikea RIBBA frame, which I used as a visual guide for proportion). For detailed measurement diagrams, you can find them in my plans. Free to email subscribers!
- 1 – 13″ x 17″ – walnut plywood (main section)
- 1 – 13″ x 17″ – scrap wood (backer)
- 1 – 4″ X 8″ – walnut plywood (stud earrings)
- 1 – 3″ X 13″ – walnut plywood (shelf)
- 1 – 3″ X 13″ – scrap wood (shelf)
- 4 – 1/2″ – wooden dowels (stud earrings)
- 4 – 1″ – 6mm brass rods (bracelets)
- 5 – 1-1/4″ – 8mm brass rods (necklaces)
Note: a lot of the finishing items can be changed up in their order of completion; it’s a lot easier to drill holes and add the edge banding before everything is fully assembled. You can also customize it however you wish (make it taller, nix the shelf, etc.).
1. Cut the walnut plywood face, stud earring holder, and shelf
I started with the most important part (just in case I had to make cuts twice): the walnut plywood. I ordered a 1/4″ thickness, but wanted a much thicker piece by the end (basically, using this more expensive hardwood plywood as a veneer).
At first, I thought a method I’ve used before of taping the plywood where I wanted the cut would help prevent splintering. It has worked in the past, but it didn’t work here! Instead, I found that cutting from the back to the walnut face of the plywood gave the least amount of splintering
On my miter saw, the opposite was true; cutting on the face (again without tape) was the best option!
2. Cut and glue on the backing
I raided my scrap bin to create the backing, leaving a large section on the left side blank to create a way to hook my earrings in through the front once the holes were drilled (the negative space allows for the backings to hang).
In hindsight, there are lots of ways to potentially make the backing piece as a larger, flatter section. In addition to the way I did it, you could:
- Use a jigsaw on a solid piece of 1/2″ plywood (any species) and glue a walnut plywood face on top (this is basically how I drew up my plans, to make things a little easier because the scrap I used had some warp)
- Try a router on a solid piece of walnut to cut down into a 1/4″ thickness in the earring section
- Use a CNC on a solid piece of walnut to do the same (probably the most expensive of the options unless you actually have one, so I’ll just sit here and be jealous)
Note: if you go with a solid piece of walnut (3/4″ thickness), you can nix the walnut edge banding and the shelf will wind up a little thicker.
3. Drill earring holes, stretch cord holes, magnet, & brass rod holes
Prepare yourself for a LOT of drilling!*
I do have a drill press, which would definitely make things a little easier for keeping each drill mark at a 90-degree angle, but for some reason (cough cough too cramped while still rehabbing the garage), I didn’t take the time to set it up. I used a regular drill instead. My forearm was pretty tired from that, so I recommend a drill press!
- For the earring areas, I drilled all the way through the material. The stud earrings used a 5/64″ bit and are 1/2″ apart, and the dangle earrings used a 5/32″ bit and are 1″ apart (though I mention in the video coming later today that going slightly larger drill bit might have worked better to compensate for thicker backings — don’t be afraid to go with a larger drill bit if you think necessary or if you simply don’t have these exact sizes).
- For the bracelet and necklace areas, I drilled just enough to help mount/secure the brass rods (15/64″ bit for the bracelets and 5/16″ bit for the necklace rods — these are necessary to be exactly the size of the brass rods).
- For the stretch cord at the top, I drilled all the way through with the same drill bit I used for the dangling earrings section. Then, on the back, I re-drilled with a 1/4″ Forstner bit. This gave a small recess for the knot on each end to sit inside the organizer and not on the back (which would make too much of a bump on the back for hanging against the wall).
*I swear, everything in woodworking makes me think of The Office TWSS/ Brooklyn Nine-Nine Sex-Tape moments.
4. Round over corners
You might find this laughable, but since I don’t have pricey corner jigs like a legitimate woodworker , I found the next best thing: a mint tin (think generic Altoids) with rounded edges! I simply placed it at each corner and traced around.
Using my new benchtop sander (a lovely gift from K this Christmas), I rounded over each corner. I noticed that because of the thinness of the plywood, it was much easier to guide the corner without splintering on the belt sander vs the disc (I tried on a scrap piece and it splintered like crazy).
5. Cut and glue wooden dowels
I cut four 1/2-inch pieces of rounded wooden dowels and sanded them smooth. Then, I glued them to the back of the stud organizer at each corner (around 1/2″ distance from each edge).
Tip: This was my first project using my benchtop sander, and I got injured using it. Just disclosing that here & in the video because you’ll see me using it on the dowels and getting close to the sandpaper, and that went fine. But when I tried it with the brass, the LAST brass piece (why always the last one?) slipped and the speed/coarseness of the sandpaper nipped the nail on my thumb and middle finger. I say this just to tell you guys that I think it’s safer to grip it with a clamp or something that takes your fingers further away from the action. Even if I’m a bad example in the learning process, I want to share it when I learn for the better!
6. Glue in magnets
Using a 1/4″ Forstner bit, I drilled holes at the center of each dowel. I then super glued in the magnets and used the placement of each to drill corresponding holes in the right side of the organizer. Match up the magnets to make sure they’re glued in the correct (attract) direction before gluing!
7. Iron on edge banding
This is one of the more satisfying parts! The edge banding can be tricky to attach around tight corners, so slow and steady is the best way. If I let the iron sit close to the banding before it was attached (essentially warming up the adhesive and making the wood more pliable), there was far less splintering.
8. Attach shelf
Using clamps, I glued on the shelf (wood glue). I thought of using screws or nails too, but I was more worried about missing and accidentally piercing through the walnut, so I skipped it. The shelf seems well attached without, so I’m not worried.
9. Cut and glue in brass rods
The 6mm (15/64″) brass rods were cut to 4 one inch pieces each, and the 8mm (5/16″) rods were cut to around 1-1/4 inch each 5 total) with my angle grinder and a metal cutting wheel. Since the holes were already drilled, I used E-6000 glue to secure them (left over from making magnetic needle minders). I have linked instead to super glue in the materials list, though, because I noticed some wiggle in the bracelet rods when I started hanging and realized the super glue was WAY better and faster!
Tip: I had one brass rod that came tarnished in the box, and was able to clean it with ketchup!
10. Attach stretch cord
I went looking for
finish, and hang
I’ve been meaning to try Simple Finish, so I gave it a shot on this project. I absolutely LOVED the color it brought out in the walnut!
There you have it! I’m glad to be adding a little more organization to my primary bedroom (and in a way that won’t tangle my necklaces in a drawer). If you want more organization ideas, be sure to check out the other bloggers participating in this organization challenge below! My YouTube video of this project is also available, so if you have any questions, be sure to check it out!
- Ugly Duckling House (that’s here)
- The House of Wood
- House Becoming Home
- Anika’s DIY Life
- Addicted 2 DIY
- Jaime Costiglio
- The Created Home
- Woodshop Diaries
- The Inspired Workshop
- Her Toolbelt
- My Love 2 Create
- My Repurposed Life
- Hazel and Gold Designs
- Place of My Taste
- Joyful Derivatives
I love the look of this organizer and so many features. Awesome work!
Thanks Amy! This one taught me quite a bit about incorporating other materials into wood!
Sarah, this is gorgeous! What a unique way to display and organize your jewelry! Love the walnut!
So good, Sarah! Gotta love that beautiful walnut plywood! Thanks for joining in on the fun!
It was a good challenge. Definitely participating in as many as I can this year to get my butt in gear.
I love the added option of the magnets! So cool Sarah.
This diy jewelry organizer is such a sweet project.
Thanks Gail! I hope the pin performs well. :)
This is gorgeous Sarah! Great job!
Thanks Sera! Appreciate it.
I love this so much Sarah! You thought of everything and implemented it perfectly. SO awesome!
Thanks Sheri! I would never say perfect, ha! But I am glad this project taught me a lot and came out exactly how I planned!
Sarah that’s the most beautiful organizer! And the walnut takes it over the top, so good.
I really like this, Sarah! The magnet idea is a great one. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much Bruce! Still working on that darn video tonight but hopefully publishing tomorrow! So many components!
This is gorgeous!! And the magnet idea – totally genius!
Thank you Anika! And I love your build too!
I love this organizer! I have a hidden jewelry closet, but definitely needed some inspiration for organizing inside of it – this is just the thing! :)
Thank you Rachel!
Ha, I can’t believe you didn’t use tape for those ply cuts! Gotta save that tip somewhere in my brain. :) You did an awesome job, love the design and hey, that walnut ply that takes it to the next level!
I was so sure that it was all going downhill after that first cut and it all splintered. But I’m so glad it worked!
So so good Sarah!!
Thank you Kayla! Appreciate it.
Looks fantastic and I love your choice of wood – walnut is my favourite. Nicely executed.
Nicely done project! I am going to use your design and incorporate a longer shelf and additional dowels for a gift I’m making for my grand daughter to hold her trophies and medals in addition to her jewelry.
I’m glad I saw Bruce’s comment, for a second there I thought I was the only rooster in the hen house!
Appreciate the time and effort you take to help others.
Hello i have a quick question how did you hang it in the back?
Hi! The earring space is shallower than the rest of the backing so it creates a sort of cavity that makes it easy to hang on the wall.