Two Easy Ways to Make a DIY Peg Rail

In this post, I’ll show you how to make a DIY peg rail. I’ll give you two ways to do this – one way is more traditional and you’ll need a drill with a drill bit. (You can also make your own wood pegs from an inexpensive 3/4 wood dowel! This is easier sometimes as traditional pegs can be hard to find.)

But the other way is not – so if you think you need to set up a master carpenter shop to complete this project – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I really love the look and functionality of a shaker peg rail.  

a grapevine wreath hanging from a peg rail with a light coming in from a nearby window
old photo sitting on pegs, peg rail hanging on the wall

I think they fit with a variety of design styles, whether you are mid-century modern, farmhouse, or traditional. You can always find a place to put these shaker peg rails in your home.

Related: DIY Farmhouse Style Coat Rack

shaker style peg rail with a wreath and an old picture hanging on the wall
diy peg rail - close up of a peg 

You can make them with scrap wood you already have or inexpensive pine boards. Creating your own also allows you to choose the exact stain and size that you want.

Related Post: DIY Farmhouse Coat Rack

The first way to make a peg rail is to use a drill with either a Forstner or Spade drill bit.

I used a Forstner. You can use either as they do the same thing.

These drill bits will make a hole in the wood for you to insert your pegs.

You want to make sure you get the right size drill bit for your size pegs – I just hold the peg and drill bit next to each other and eyeball the one that matches best.

The second way is with screw-in pegs. I found a set on Amazon and decided to give them a try. They worked out perfectly (although they probably won’t hold as much weight as making a peg rail the first way.)

How to Make a Peg Rail

Things You’ll Need

Step 1 – Measure your Board and Mark Off Peg Placement

Make sure your pine board is cut to the length you want first. You can do this at home with a miter saw or have the hardware store cut it for you.

First, measure the length of your board and determine how you want your pegs spaced.

Then, use a combination square to find the exact center of your board for the peg placement and draw a line across your board. You can do this by measuring the total width of the board, then splitting the number in half to find the center.

using a combination square to find the center of the board for a peg rail

From there, measure the spacing distance for each peg and place a mark.

I started the board with two inches on either side, then each peg spaced 8 inches apart. My shaker peg rail is 44 inches long.

Step 2 – Drill your Peg Holes

For the traditional wood pegs:

Take your Forstner or Spade Drill Bit and drill a hole on each peg mark. You may have to stop once and clean the sawdust out before proceeding.

Try to drill as straight down as possible so your pegs go in nice and straight.

screwing in holes for pegs with a drill

For the screw-in pegs:

Take your drill and lightly start a hole on each one of your peg marks.  This will make it easier to screw in your pegs. It’s not necessary, but the pegs can be a little difficult to screw in by hand.  

Drill holes into wood for pegs

Step 3 – Install Pegs

For the traditional wood pegs:

Put a dab of wood glue along the sides of each hole – you may want to do this part from the backside. Wipe away any excess glue. If your wood glue dries on the top, these areas won’t accept your stain later on.

pouding pegs into a peg rail with a mallet

TO MAKE YOUR OWN PEGS: Buy a 3/4 inch wood dowel (sold at hardware stores) and cut 3 inch pegs from it using a table saw. Then, you just have to attach them with wood glue the same way you would traditional wood pegs. You can use a sander to round the tops a bit.

diy peg rail in a girls room with fairy lights strung on it
Peg Rail made with homemade pegs from a wood dowel.

Quickly insert your wood pegs in the holes, and use a rubber mallet to carefully pound them in until they are flush with the board.

For the screw-in pegs:

You’ll do just that – screw in your pegs.  These get more difficult to screw in as you go along.  You can use pliers and gently try to screw them in that way to give you a bit more leverage.  Just giving you a little heads up that it takes some serious hand strength toward the end – but still totally doable.  You can do itMake sure each peg is screwed in nice and tight and that they are flush with the board.

Screw pegs into wood

Step 4 – Sand, then Stain, or Paint

Sand your shaker peg rail so it’s nice and smooth.

I used my orbital sander because I love to round the edges of the wood board (gives it more of a rustic look.) Similar to what I did on my DIY wood bench.

After sanding, remove any sawdust with a tack cloth.

diy peg rail:  sand your peg rail until smooth

Now it’s time to spray paint or stain!  I chose Early American Stain for the new peg rail and Rustoleum Matte Black for the older peg rail.

I don’t know about you but I personally love the look of pine when it’s stained.

It brings out all those beautiful grains in the wood. I get that Pine is not the strongest wood, but to me, it looks just as pretty. Follow with a quick coat of polyurethane for protection.

a peg rail being stained

Rustoleum makes the best spray paint ever in my opinion.  Spray light coats outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, and wear a mask and rubber gloves.

I also recommend spray painting your peg rail in an old cardboard box to avoid discolored grass. (I once had pink grass for weeks.) Allow the paint or stain to dry for 24 hrs.  

black peg rail with wreath
DIY Peg Rail Tutorial - learn how to make a stylish and functional peg rail - no special tools required! #homedecor #diy #diyprojects #homedecorideas #farmhouse

Step 5 – Hang and Enjoy

You’re finished!  Now you just need to hang it.  

shaker style peg rail with a wreath and an old picture hanging on the wall
diy peg rail - close up of a peg 
close up look at a pair of scissors hanging off a peg rail
shaker style peg rail with a wreath an old picture - how to make a peg rail - full tutorial in post!

I recommend screwing this into a stud in your wall on each end of the peg rail.  

You can place the screws in between the pegs, then if you want, use a wood button or screw hole sticker to hide it. Make sure it’s nice and sturdy on your wall before hanging anything heavy from it.

black peg rail with wreath

Peg Rails – Final Thoughts

I know that wood-stained and black and white versions are pretty standard for peg rails, but the sky is the limit on what color you can make these.

I’m thinking a gray, navy, or a forest green painted peg rail would be really cool.

(Related: Check out how to get spray paint off of skin! An easy trick!)

You can also choose the length and width of your board.  I’ve seen these look good in wide and skinny versions. There are enough pegs to make a few if you space them out with a plan in mind.  

Although these shaker-style peg rails are good for closets – I love the look of them right out in the open.  Try them in a kid’s room hung down low to get your kiddos in the habit of hanging their clothes!

Or, try to top your existing beadboard or paneled walls with a peg rail. It adds so much functionality and character. Remodelista has a great article on how to use peg rails.

Since my peg rail is going in our laundry room, I’m planning on hanging a laundry bag, maybe some laundry accessories and of course something decorative – like a wreath or dried flowers.  

Modern peg Rail Tutorial - learn how to make a stylish and functional peg rail - no special tools required! #homedecor #diy #diyprojects #homedecorideas #farmhouse
shaker style peg rail with a wreath an old picture - how to make a peg rail - full tutorial in post!

Xo Karen