Print Friendly and PDF

Key Holder that Floats on the wall with a French Cleat

Every home should have a handy key holder - a place to hang your keys when you get home, and this floating key holder lets you practice your French cleat skills.



popular science

Every home needs a handy place to hang their keys, so that they don't get dropped on the kitchen counter, lost behind sofa cushions, or mislaid in a place that takes hours to find when you need your keys the most. They are all different styles of key holders, from a basic piece of wood with hooks in it to something like the one shown here.

To make this floating key holder you are going to use dados and a French cleat, which will give you some experience in working with both of these popular woodworking methods. I have often used a French cleat to hang items onto the wall, especially items that may need to be easily removed for one reason or another, such as a headboard that needs to be properly cleaned or reupholstered. I have also used French cleats in my workshop for hanging storage containers.








Pine, bamboo, plywood or choice of hardwood cut to sizes:

- 3 of 330 x 150mm - top and bottom shelves

- 1 of 330 x 125mm - centre shelf

- 2 of 150 x 150mm - sides

- 1 of 380 x 170mm - main top

1 of 3mm plywood backing board cut to fit

1 of 20 x 310 x 67mm - French cleat

Wood glue

Cup hooks or hangers

Nylon wall plugs and screws [3]

Paint, sealer or varnish to finish



Drill / Driver plus assorted bits

Table saw or router

Mitre saw or table saw

Tape measure and pencil










1. On both the side pieces you need to cut dados for mounting the top, bottom and centre shelf. To do this, mark  the centre thickness of the [2] side pieces on one edge and also mark at 20mm down from the top, up from the bottom, and the centre - as shown in the image below. Note: If the material thickness you are using differs from 20mm thick, allow for this in your measurements.

2. Cut out the dados using a table saw or router and slot cutting bit.



3. Before assembly, you need to cut [4] grooves or slots in the top, bottom and side sections to allow for inserting the backing board. Alternatively, you can leave off the slots and secure the backing board to the back of the unit once assembled. If you decide on the latter option, don't cut the centre shelf narrower than the top and bottom shelves. The slots are 4mm wide and 5mm deep and you will cut the backing board to fit perfectly in these slots.



4. Lightly sand all the pieces smooth and then test fit that all the pieces align correctly.







5. Glue the bottom and centre shelf in place and clamp overnight. Now you can fit the backing board in place before gluing the top shelf in position and once again clamping overnight.



6. Cut the piece for the French cleat in half using a table saw or mitre saw. Cut a 45-degree angle down the length of the work piece, as shown below. Secure the top half of the piece onto the back of the shelf unit with wood glue and clamp and leave overnight. You can also glue on the top piece so that this can be left overnight as well.




Apply your choice of stain, sealer or varnish to the entire piece.

Screw the cuphooks to the underside of the bottom shelf.




Attach the bottom section of the French cleat onto the wall with nylon wall plugs and screws so that it is easy to slip the key holder firmly in position on the top part of the French cleat.




back to top