How to Make and Use a French Cleat
I am going to teach you how to securely hang heavy objects on the wall with a board and a few screws. Using a French Cleat has been a tried and true method for hanging heavy objects and is used by professional cabinet makers and DIYers alike. It can be incorporated into the item being built or added after the fact.
How to Make a French Cleat
What is a French Cleat? A French Cleat is a board or molding with a 30°-45° bevel cut attached to the wall along with a corresponding beveled board or molding attached to the object to be hung on the wall. That sounds a little confusing but check out the diagram below and it will all make sense. First let’s grab a few supplies.
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- 1″ x 3″ board or 3/4″ plywood strip (3″ minimum width)
- 2″ screws
Measure the length that you need your French cleat to be. Typically a french cleat is the length of the item to be hung on the wall and spans the length of at least 2 studs in the wall that the item will be secured to.
Adjust your table saw or circular saw to a 30°-45° bevel and rip your board along the center. (For tips on using a table saw safely, read this article.)
Secure the top piece of the cleat to the item to be hung (see diagram shown below). This can be done with pocket-holes, glued under a shelf, or with screws to the back of the item. (You may want to pre-drill your holes to avoid splitting the wood.)
Choose the height at which you want to hang the item on the wall and mark where the bottom cleat will be placed. Mark the studs that the cleat will be screwed into and secure the cleat to the wall using wood screws and a level in the orientation shown above. (Again, you may want to pre-drill your holes to avoid splitting the wood.)
Gently place the object above the wall cleat and lower until the two pieces are securely nested together.
Often times the weight of the object and the angle of the beveled cleat is enough to keep the object securely in place. But, if you’re worried about children lifting the item, you can add a screw through the hanging object into the cleat or a wall stud for peace of mind.
And if you’re excited about using a French Cleat, you might like to make a headboard that is hung on the wall using a French Cleat!
This is a great tip for hanging cabinets on the wall as well. I hope you try your hand at making and using a French Cleat soon. Let me know how it goes!
Hi! I’m Kristen, from In Her Garage, and I am a self-taught woodworker and DIY fanatic from Minnesota where I live with my husband and our two daughters. Between being a wife, mom and, registered nurse, I try to make as much time for DIY as possible. My love for building came after our family built our current home in 2015. After we moved in, we needed furniture and instead of spending massive amounts of money to order the pieces we wanted I decided that I would build them myself. I started with a buffet table plan from the fabulous Ana-white and quickly set out to remodel my entire home office.
Since then I have started a side business building furniture for the people in my community. I love hearing my clients talk about the pieces they wish they had whether it be a rustic buffet table, a one drawer side table, or a toy box and then making it a reality for them. While starting my small business it made perfect sense that I would document my building journey so I simultaneously launched the In Her Garage blog and I love sharing my plans, tips and tricks.
Making something beautiful with your own two hands through a little preparation and determination is an amazing feeling and I hope to bring inspiration and know-how to those looking to tackle a big or small project.
I am so glad that you found me here and please feel free to connect with me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube to see what I am working on right now.
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