Homework and Backpack Center Building Plans

Friday, July 24, 2015 -
DIY homework and backpack center free building plans

Last year my twins started kindergarten and we quickly discovered the avalanche of papers that get sent home. My organizational style is "stuff it and stack it". I call it tidy as long as all the junk is stacked up into general groups. I also was about to loose my mind with backpacks being thrown on the floor as soon as we walked in the door. So, I built a DIY Backpack and Homework Center and shared the process in this tutorial

After living with this set up for a year, I've noticed a few places where I could make design improvements. I recently shared last year's model on Facebook and Instagram and received multiple requests for building plans. 

So here ya go! New and improved building plans, just in time for the school year. 

Materials List:
  • (2)- 48" x 24" x 3/8" sanded plywood (not the pretty stuff)
  • (1)- 5 1/2" x 72" fence picket
  • (1)- 1" x 1" x 48" wood dowel
  • *7/16" nut setter
  • (12)- 1/4" x 2" hex head lag screws
  • (2)- 1/4" x 4" hex head lag screws
  • (14)- 1/4" washers

Cut List: 
  • 3/8" plywood: 
  1. 20" x 24"
  2. 5 1/2" x 24"
  3. (2)- 12 1/2" x 11 1/16"
  4. (2)- 8 1/2" x 11 1/16"
  5. 8 7/8" x 24"
  6. (4)- 1 13/16" x 11 1/16"
  • 5 1/2" fence picket
  1. (3) - 16 1/2" - notched according to diagram
  • 1" x 1" dowel
  1. (2)- 11 1/16"

That's a lot of numbers. If you are more of a visual person, here are diagrams for the plywood and fence picket.

1. Once all the pieces are cut, its time to assemble. Start with the 20" x 24" board.

2. Line up a divider with the top and each outside edge. Center the third divider, leaving a 11 1/16" space on either side. Secure dividers to board with wood glue and 1 1/4" finish nails through the back side. 

2. Measure 11 3/8" from top edge. Line up a wood dowel horizontally in each section and secure with glue and finish nails. Drive nails straight back through the dowel. and from the outside of the dividers.

3. Glue a 1 13/16 x 11 1/16" strip on top of each dowel. Drive nails down through strip and into dowel. Also, drive a couple nails into the ends from the outside of the dividers.

4. Line up a 12 1/2" x 11 1/6" board vertically with the first notch in the dividers. Using more glue and finish nails, attach to the bottom board of the previous section. Drive nails through the sides as well.

5. The process is the same for the next section. Measure down 11 3/8" and attach wood dowels.

6. Place additional plywood strips and secure with glue and nails.

7. Line up 8 1/2" x 11 1/16" board with second notch in divider, and secure to bottom board of previous section as well as through the sides. 

8. Line up 5 1/2" x 24" board along the bottom of the dividers. Drive nails into bottom of the dividers, and through the back board.

9. Place 8 7/8" x 24" board on the face of the unit. Add glue to all edges and attach with nails.

10. The basic build is complete. The rough texture of the plywood and fence boards lend themselves well to a rustic/weathered look, but you can finish it however you'd like. Once finished, add coat hooks to the bottom, empty section.

I pre-drilled holes through the top corners and hung the center onto the wall with drywall anchors. I also added a washer and a 1 1/2" lag screw on each corner, purely for decoration. Just remember to pre-drill each hole, or you will likely split the wood.

DIY backpack and homework storage

To encourage my boys to keep their papers organized, I nailed on a pre-cut wooden letter to the front of each section. I've gotten a lot of comments about the letters spelling out "Ew". My boys' initials are "E" and "W". So, the choices were "Ew" or "We". I figured the way I had the letters arranged wouldn't catch your eye so easily.

DIY homework and backpack station

Although some of the measurements are very precise, this really is a pretty simple build and totally customizable. Have more than two kids? You could easily add more sections.

Could your school routine use a little organization? If you'd like to save this plan, feel free to pin the image below.

how to build backpack and homework station

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