A drop zone, a hall tree, a mudroom locker… whatever you call it, it’s so handy! A single place to put your shoes, coats, purses, and keys is something we all need in our homes. We actually had a built-in drop zone that we renovated , so this project wasn’t for us.
Andrew’s sister loved our drop zone and always mentioned how she wished she had one, so when Christmas rolled around, we knew exactly what to get her: a new hall tree bench. And by get, I mean build. Because why buy something when you could make it custom?!
Let’s start DIYing!
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What You’ll Need
DIY Hall Tree Plans
Step 1: Cut your wood
Below is our cut list. We recommend making cuts as you go through the project rather than cutting them all upfront. This way you can double-measure as you go along. The measurements provided are what we used, but you might find that yours will vary from ours.
For this one, you will need to cut the length to 26.5″ and the width to 10.5″
|Drawer Slide Supports
|Bench Support Board
|Bench Face Boards
|Bench Face Boards
Step 2: sand
Sand all boards using 120-180 grit sandpaper. You can save this step for after assembly if you’d like, but we find it’s easier to get sanding out of the way before you start building (especially with an electric sander).
Step 3: assemble drawers
Assemble the drawer box. Glue the drawer bottom to drawer back, clamp, and add a few nails. Repeat this with the sides. Be sure to wipe excess glue as you build. Even with stainable glue, it never stains quite right.
Note: it will not be a full drawer because we will make the face of the drawer later.
step 4: Assemble the bench seat
First assemble the top of the bench seat. Drill pocket holes on the worse-looking side of the boards using the Kreg Jig.
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
If you have the Kreg Jig Mini, you will need to clamp the Kreg Jig to the wood to keep it in place while drilling. After pre-drilling, glue the boards together, clamp, and screw the boards together with 1.25″ Kreg pocket screws.
To assemble your bench seat, Drill 4 pocket holes on each side of the bottom board, for a total of 8 holes. Drill on the bottom of the bottom board (say that 5 times fast), so the pocket holes are not visible once assembled. Before putting together, drill 3 pocket holes on the inside of the side panels so you can attach the top of the bench seat later. You will follow the same process of pre-drilling, gluing, and screwing the boards together using 1.25″ Kreg pocket screws.
Add face boards to the bench seat. First, attach the side face boards using glue and finishing nails so that they are lined up with the outside edges of the bench sides. Then attach the bottom face board using glue and 1.5″ finishing nails. The top trim board needs glue and a pocket hole on each side to hold it in place since there is no board behind it to nail to. Finally, add the bench support board to the top back of the bench seat for added support using pocket holes and 1.25″ Kreg pocket screws.
Step 5: add drawer supports
Place them 8″ from the top molding piece (~9.5″ from the top of the structure). Attach them using 1.25″ Kreg pocket screws.
Step 6: attach top to bench seat
Using the 3 pocket holes you drilled when assembling the sides, attach the top using glue and 1.25″ Kreg pocket screws. Make sure to line up the top so it overhangs evenly on each side and has a .5″ to 1″ overhang in the back (depending on how far your baseboard sticks out).
Step 6: assemble the top
Start by attaching the 29″ 2×4 in line with the top of the two 53″ 2x4s with 2 pocket holes on each side and 2.5″ Kreg pocket screws. The second 29″ 2×4 will be where you hang the hooks. Place the second 29″ 2×4 approximately 6″ below the bottom of the top 2×4. This can be adjusted based on your preference for the hook height.
Step 7: Attach the top
Attach the top of the hall tree to the top of the bench seat using pocket holes on the inside of the 2x4s. Use a little glue and 2.5″ Kreg pocket hole screws to attach to the bench seat (making sure to line it up with the sides of the bench seat so it looks like it continues up from the floor).
Step 8: make the drawer front
Assemble the drawer front using 1x2s. This is the fun part where we introduce some angles!
- Cut a piece of cardboard or paper to the size of the drawer front (30.5″ x 9″).
- Draw a line down the middle of the paper. Place a piece of scrap wood along the line so that you can line of the angled boards against it.
- Cut 5 – 1x2s at 33-degree angles and place the angled side in the middle of the paper. This is how you will want to glue and nail the boards together.
- One at a time, glue the boards together and add 1-2 nails along the edge for extra support. Do not clamp the boards together at this step. Clamping will make the seams less noticeable and you want them to be noticeable for the pattern.
- Place the boards back onto the paper or cardboard, making sure to align the angled sides of the board with the center of the paper. Draw a line on the wood where the paper ends.
- Cut the boards along the line you drew to get a clean line using a circular saw or miter saw if it has a large enough blade to cut through all the boards.
- Repeat steps 4-6 until one side of the drawer is finished.
- Cut a small piece of the outside corners off using a 33-degree angle. You don’t have to do this step, but it works out that the top outside corners will not be perfectly square, so we did this for uniformity.
- Repeat to complete the other side of the drawer. This side should be easier because your lines will be easier to draw. Instead of basing it on the paper, you can place the completed side on top of the new side to draw the cut lines.
- Drill 2 pocket holes on the back to screw the drawer face boards together and add little glue in between them.
Step 9: top details
Cut the boards for the top detail. They will all be cut from 1x2s. In total, you will need 6 boards cut with 45-degree angles.
- 2 – 14″ on the long side
- 2 – 10″ on the long side
- 2 – 6″ on the long side
Attach the detail boards to the top structure using pocket holes. Pre-drill the back of the detail boards using the Kreg Jig. For the angled boards, screw in the bottom screw first, then the top using 1.25″ Kreg pocket screws. It is easier to control if you drill the bottom first.
Step 10: prep for stain
Fill all visible pocket holes with stainable wood putty. Once fully dry, sand down those filled holes and any other imperfections that you find after assembly.
Wipe down the surface to remove any excess dust or wood shavings.
Optional: apply wood conditioner. This allows for a more even stain coverage. We always skip this step because we like the variation and strong wood grains.
Step 11: Stain and seal
Stain the wood. If you need staining tips, check out this ultimate guide to stain. Seal the wood.
Step 12: add the hardware
First, add the sliding drawer hardware. This step requires lots of double checking measurements and a level to ensure that everything is perfectly aligned. Start by attaching the slides to the drawer box, then attach the other pieces to the drawer slide supports inside the bench.
Ensure that both sides are at the same height and are level from front to back. Once the hardware is secure, test the drawer out – if it’s struggling to slide in and out, it may need some tweaking. Don’t worry, this was our first drawer so we had to make a handful of adjustments. Scroll to the bottom of this post if you need some troubleshooting tips.
Add the hooks and pre-drill drawer hardware holes. For the drawer handle, find the center, mark it and pre-drill the back side. Use a large drill bit just on the surface so you can countersink the screw heads so they don’t stick out inside your drawer.
Step 13: attach the drawer front
Once the drawer is working well, determine how much of the drawer you’d like overhanging on each side. We opted for 1/2″ overhang at the bottom and even overhang on each side. Remove the drawer box and drill pocket holes on the underside of the drawer box and one on the outside of each side. Place the drawer front under the drawer box and measure all the way around to ensure it’s centered up the way you’d like, then mark, add glue and screw in with 1.25″ pocket screws. After the drawer front is attached, you can screw in the drawer handle into the pre-drilled holes and put the drawer back in place.
Find the perfect place for your new DIY hall tree bench! For extra stability and safety, use a 1.5″ right angle bracket to attach the hall tree to the wall.
I don’t know about you, but this was the first drawer we ever tackled. Woo! We learned some lessons along the way. Keep reading for tips on how to troubleshoot the drawer. Hopefully, the next one won’t need so much troubleshooting 😉
- Rub candle wax onto the drawer hardware and spread it to help the drawer slide better. We just used wax from leftover birthday candles.
- Make sure your hardware is very level. Even a small discrepancy can affect how the drawer slides.
- Is your drawer tight to pull out? The boards that the hardware is attached to might be too thick. Sand them down some more and add them back in.