What it was really like to make those giant Peg Boards January 27, 2019 12:31 286 Comments

Giant Pegboards

We love Pinterest of course, but it does tend to tout a project as "quick and easy" even if it's a week long marathon. So when we needed some brilliant display furniture for our studio, we thought we'd road test some peg board DIYs

Step one - find a timber yard

First I went to B&Q and Homebase but they didn't have nice pale plywood, only the very red stuff with the nasty splintery edges. So I went to BuildBase, a trade builders merchant. I know it's 2019 but still lots of people tell me they feel a bit out of their depth in these places. Don't, they want your money just like anyone elses.

I explained that I'm not an expert and need guidance and asked for a good quality plywood with an attractive pale colour, 12mm thick. I chose the specific piece I wanted with a nice grain and no dirty marks, and a man with a forklift helped me get a two and half metre board off the pile and over to the cutting area.

Step two - cutting

The boards are 122cm x 244cm. Plan your cuts in advance, and draw it out. I should have done a better drawing than this as the guy kept wanting to look at it.

board measurements

Don't go at the weekend if you can avoid it, because they don't like doing projects at busy times. I got three 144 x 66cm boards and then from the off-cuts cut a 15cm strip and two 12cm strips to make shelves. Then I got them to cut the shelves into 56cm, 32cm and 18cm lengths. Expect to be charged for each cut, but only between 20p and 50p. 

Buy one piece of dowel (wooden pole) for the pegs. I like 12mm because the shelves are also 12mm thick and it looks good together

Step three - more maths

Workout the holes spacing as you want. I used 8cm between hole. Top tip! remember your measurements are from the centre of the hole, not the edge of each hole. Here is my working out! Mark the dots on the board. 


Step four - drilling

This is the hard bit. You need scrap wood to put under your plyboard so when you drill through the boards, you don't then drill the floor itself. There will be sawdust everywhere, be aware. In the air, in your hair, on the shelves, everywhere.

You need an 11mm drill bit which drills a snug hole. A 12mm hole is too big. It's a scary looking sod but really it's no different to a normal drill bit. It has a helpful spike in the middle to help you position the drill.

Ideally you'll have a pillar drill fitting like this - but beware that the one you buy fits your actual drill. 

KNEEL ON THE WOOD YOU ARE DRILLING. Sometimes the wood catches on the drill and spins round, this is dangerous. Your body weight will prevent this. 

Start drilling slowly, then speed up once it's gone into the wood. Go slowly again as you come out the back to avoid splintering the back of the wood as the drill punches through.

Step five - cut the dowel

Use a hand saw. Put the dowel on a chair and put your foot on the dowel to hold it steady. Saw close to the edge of the chair and don't saw hard, just gently back and forth until the cut is done. If there are splinters sticking off the end, cut them off with scissors.

Step six - sanding 

Use sandpaper to finish off the shelves and dowels to a nice smooth finish. 


That was not at all quick and easy, it was a lot of heavy, messy hard work that will leave you with aching arms, sawdust everywhere and three of the most amazing fabulous wonderful huge peg boards for about £50. (£70 if you buy a pillar drill fitting. So a saving of about £530. 

Would you like to make a smaller version of these in our workshops? Let us know, we do respond to your suggestions!