Repurposing Tree Branches
Chalkboard Key Rack
Welcome to my first blog post for the Jersey City Independent. For this DIY project, I will show you the many fun ways that repurposed tree branches can be used in your home.
The steps below show how to make an inexpensive and colorful key rack, a hanging jewelry organizer, and a pot hanger.
To make this project you will need:
- Branches – I found mine already cut at a local park
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Sand Paper
- Paper towels or rag
- Cup Hooks – I used brass plated 5/8″ hooks
- Old pair of jeans, rope or string – to hang the key rack
- Glue or hot glue
- Hammer and nails
- Paint Brush
- Paint – I used house paint left over from painting my apartment
- Newspaper or something to cover your table when working
All the supplies used for this project I already had. Feel free to substitute or modify. It is important to keep with the idea of repurposing instead of going out to purchase anything new.
I found a stack of already cut branches at a local park while walking my dog. I rummaged though the pile to find a size that would work for me. Look for branches already cut or ones that have fallen on the ground without harming any trees.
First measure the length of the wall you want to hang your key rack on. The key rack I made to fit on my wall measured 12 inches long. Carefully cut the branch with a saw to the right size. Hold the cut branch against the wall to check if the length is appropriate. Also figure out which side will be the front and which will be the back depending on how the branch rests against the wall.
Lightly sand the branch with a small piece of sand paper to remove any loose pieces. I used 120 grit paper because that’s what I had available. This grit worked well.
Using a wet paper towel or damp rag wipe the branch to remove dirt and then allow the branch to dry. Screw in cup hooks two inches apart from one another. You can do this step before or after painting. I chose to do it before because I was nervous that the hooks might split the branch. It is important to make sure the hooks are not longer or wider than the branch because they could split it. If you do not have cup hooks try nailing small nails or tacks into the branch.
Next step is to paint the branch. I used blue satin house paint left over from when I painted my bedroom. Let the front side dry then turn over and paint the other side. Be sure to paint around the hooks.
Now decide what you want to use to hang your branch from the wall. Since the key rack is light weight, I used pieces of old white jeans that I cut into long strips. You can also use rope, string, wire, or anything else you have available. Whatever you use must be able to support the weight of the branch and the keys.
I used hot glue to attach the pieces of jean to the branch. Instead of gluing you can also wrap or tie the material around the branch. Make sure both sides are even. At first I tied the two pieces together and hung it on one nail. Unfortunately that did not work because every time I put my keys on a hook the whole branch swayed from side to side. Instead, I put two nails in the wall and hung each piece of jean from it’s own nail. This prevented the branch from swaying and kept the rack steady. Now my pretty blue key rack hangs right by the door.
I also did another variation where I used a more curved branch with lots of notches an painted it red with black polka dots. Instead of the jean material I used black hemp chord to hang it. Another fun idea to add to this project is to paint a small area of the wall using chalkboard paint. Write a little not to yourself and label where your keys go. Martha Stewart has some tips on how to make chalkboard paint.
For the next project I used a larger piece of branch to make a hanging jewelry organizer. This time I painted the branch yellow and hung it with black hemp cord. The yellow branch pops really well against the blue wall in my bedroom. Necklaces hang nicely from the same 5/8″ cup hooks. There was a thin section on this branch that was too thin to screw the cup hooks into which was a perfect spot to hang bracelets.
For my last project I used a thicker branch to hang pots in my kitchen. I painted the branch red and used some metal s-hooks this time which fit perfectly onto the branch. I tied a thick piece of rope around the branch and hung it from two heavy duty nails. This branch is a lot heavier than the ones used for the key rack and jewelry organizer. Whenever hanging anything from the wall be sure to use proper hardware.
These are just a few fun ideas for decorating and organizing your home using repurposed tree branches. When making your own remember to have fun and be creative. Please share your photos on the TRAASH Facebook page @traashart or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to see what you made!
Check out some of the step by step photos below:
Photos by Stephanie Romano