An Easy-ish DIY: Oversize Plywood Pegboard with Shelves

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After admiring Julie’s oversize plywood pegboard (as seen in Remodelista: The Organized Home), I asked my husband, Chad, to buy me one for Christmas. He, being somewhat of a woodworking hobbyist, decided it would be easy to instead make one himself.

Not quite.

Without directions or guidelines, designing and executing a pegboard so that everything lines up cleanly takes a lot of thought. Fortunately, my husband has done the work for you. Chad now has three such boards under his belt. Total time to make one? About four or five hours. Not easy, but definitely doable in one day.

Here’s Chad’s how-to.


diy plywood pegboard large supplies
Above: Birch plywood is made from sheets of wood veneer that are “cross-banded”—with the grain direction at perpendicular angles—and bonded with exterior grade glue, resulting in a stronger board. It’s also among the more beautiful plywoods, with a smooth, light surface and distinct grain. Chad bought his Baltic birch ply at Home Depot. Specialty lumber yards might have even more choices.

Wood and Hardware

  • 3/4-inch-thick birch plywood (approximately 24 by 48) for pegboard or base
  • 1/2-inch-thick birch plywood (approximately 24 by 48) for shelves
  • Four oak wood dowels, sized ¾-inch-thick (approximately 36-inch long) for pegs
  • One-inch wood screws for shelves (you’ll need two for each shelf, so calculate accordingly)
  • Four long (1¾-inch) wood screws to screw the backboard into the wall studs


  • table saw
  • chop saw
  • drill
  • countersink drill bit (#6)
  • bench vise
  • drum sander
  • hand sander
  • belt sander

For a more manual approach, you could use a circular saw and handsaw, but these tools would make it hard to achieve even edges.

Step 1: Sand baseboard.

To avoid slivers, lightly sand the edges of ¾-inch plywood base.

Step 2: Create template.

diy plywood pegboard large template
Above: When designing your own board, a few precut pegs can help you visualize the layout. (See Step 6 to learn how to cut the dowels.)
  • Decide how big to make your board, how many holes, and the ideal spacing of the holes. Look around on the Web to see what others have done. Or follow Chad’s template below.
  • Especially if you want to make multiple uniform pegboards, it’s helpful to create a template. Tape a sheet of paper, equal in size, to the front of your board (typically, birch plywood has a backside that is less aesthetically pleasing, so be sure to select the cleaner side as the front).
  • Measure and mark your spacing.
  • Drill through the paper with a small bit, to mark the center where you will drill your larger peg holes.
  • Remove paper and save in case you make another board.
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Above: Note that the border is measured from the edge of the board to the center of each hole. Once a larger hole is drilled, the border will be less than two inches.

Chad’s template using a 24-by-48-inch plywood board:

  • Two-inch borders
  • Six evenly spaced horizontal holes four inches apart from center to center
  • 12 evenly spaced vertical holes four inches apart from center to center
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Above: This detail shows the small center holes that mark where to drill larger peg holes.

Step 3: Drill holes from both sides.

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Above: When drilling holes, make sure your drill bit is perfectly perpendicular to the board, otherwise your holes will be too big and your pegs will be loose.
  • To avoid holes in your worktable, place another piece of cheap or scrap plywood under your baseboard.
  • Using the smaller holes from the template as your guide, begin drilling the larger holes with a 11/16-inch drill bit. Note: Pegs are typically slightly smaller than 3/4 inch so an 11/16-inch bit provides a tighter fit; however, you may need to use the 3/4-inch bit instead.
  • To avoid splitting the plywood, drill just until the bit begins to poke through. Don’t drill all the way through.
  • When all holes are drilled from the front, turn the board over and finish each hole from the back.
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Above: Closeup of larger holes drilled part way.
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Above: Example of the finished holes drilled from the back side.

Step 4: Sand holes.

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Above: Example of sanding each hole.
  • Use the drum sander to gently clean up the rough edges in the holes.
  • Don’t over-sand or your pegs won’t fit tightly.
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Above: Completed baseboard. You’re halfway there!

Step 6: Cut dowels into six-inch pegs.

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Above: When using saws, be sure to wear safety goggles and keep hands clear of the blades.
  • Use handsaw and bench vise, or use chop saw to cut dowels into six-inch pegs.
  • Hand sand the edges of each peg to avoid splinters.

Step 7: Cut six-inch lengths for shelf boards.

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Above: Chad cuts the shelf boards.
  • Use table saw, or circular saw if by hand, to cut six-inch strips from the half-inch birch plywood. You will use this wood to make the shelves.

Step 8: Cut shelves into various widths.

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Above: Cutting the shelf widths.
  • First decide how many single (straddling two holes), double (between three holes), and triple or more shelves you need. (We ended up with seven shelves of three different widths.)
  • Determine if you want the sides of your shelf boards to be wider than the pegs underneath or rest flush with them. Chad and I decided that we wanted a 1 1/2-inch overlap.
  • Measure and mark each length of shelf.
  • Cut with chop saw.

Step 9: Sand shelves.

Once cut and sanded, the edges of your shelves will have a nice textured grain.
Above: Once cut and sanded, the edges of your shelves will have a nice textured grain.
  • Hand sand the edges of each shelf to avoid splinters.

Step 10: Drill holes in shelf pegs with countersink bit.

diy plywood pegboard large shelf pegs
Above: Chad begins to drill a hole for the shelf pegs. He recommends one hole for beginner pegboard makers, as a single screw will allow the pegs to pivot a bit in case peg holes are slightly off. For more advanced makers, two holes are more secure. Chad recommends these be drilled 1 1/2 inches and four inches from the front edge of peg.
  • Based on how many shelves you have, determine the number of pegs that need screw holes. You’ll need two per shelf.
  • Secure pegs in a vice.
  • Mark the center of the peg with a pencil.
  • Using a #6 countersink drill bit (so screws will be hidden from view), drill one hole at the center of each shelf peg.
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Above: Sample of countersink hole drilled with countersink bit.

Step 11: Screw pegs to shelves.

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Above: Shelf assembly.
  • Once you’ve completed all your drill holes, use a tape measure to mark peg placement, so that each is 3/4-inch from the front of the shelf and one inch from the sides.
  • Gently screw in each peg, so as not to split the shelf.

Step 12: With countersink bit, drill holes in each corner.

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Above: Countersink drill hole used for hanging the board.

You are finally ready to hang your board!

  • Measure and mark one inch from the top and side edges of each of the four corners of the baseboard.
  • Using the same countersink drill bit as the one used for the pegs, drill a hole in each corner.
  • Note: If your walls are drywall or similar material, they may not be able to support the weight of the board. In this case, you should use a stud finder to identify where to hang your board. Make sure to adjust the placement of your holes accordingly.

Step 13: Drill base to wall.

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Above: I hung my pegboard over my desk.
  • Place your board in desired location and use a level to make sure it’s straight.
  • Secure to wall with four 1 3/4-inch screws or longer.

Step 14: Arrange shelves and pegs.

Now is the fun part. Arrange shelves as desired and place items on shelves and pegs.

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Above: Pegboard complete! I didn’t get this Christmas present until Valentine’s Day, but it was well worth the wait.
diy plywood pegboard large detail
Above: In addition to storage for office supplies, my pegboard serves as a mini gallery for my childrens’ sculptures.

Looking for more pegboard inspirations? See:

N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published in 2018.

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