After splintering peg holes, splitting the rail board, and messing up a pilot hole — I finally completed my modern peg rail! This post will help you to avoid my mistakes and find success much quicker. A DIY peg rail can come in any color, be any length, and can be customized to fit your style and needs. When you create your own peg rail, you determine the length, how large the pegs are, how many pegs there are, what color or stain, if there’s a shelf or no shelf, brackets or no brackets, and if you want to style it for function, beauty, or both. I’m so happy to show you how to DIY a modern peg rail that you can completely customize for your space.
How to DIY a modern peg rail
To create your own custom peg rail, you will need to determine where it will be installed. Measure the space to know how long of a 1×6” rail board you’ll need. If your wall is on the long side, create two smaller rails because it will be easier to install two smaller rails versus one long one. Home Depot will cut your boards at whatever length you need. The only power tool needed for this DIY is an electric screwdriver with a forstner drill bit to drill the peg holes. Here’s a complete list of the supplies you’ll need:
1×6 poplar rail board (Home Depot can cut boards at whatever length you need)
1×6 poplar shelf board – if you want a shelf (same length as the rail board)
Wooden dowel (the diameter can be the thickness of your choosing – I selected 1” diameter)
Wood screws (make sure they’re long enough – I used 2 inch long)
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DIY peg rail instructions
Cut the rail and shelf boards the same length (Home Depot can do this step for you.)
Cut the dowel to create however many pegs you want – all the same length. If you have a shelf, the pegs should be about one inch shorter than the shelf and keep in mind that part of the peg’s length will be inside the board.
Find the center of the width of your rail board and lightly draw a line down the center using a pencil.
Mark the spots for the dowels to be placed – evenly spacing them apart, leaving the same amount of space at each end.
Carefully and slowly drill the holes with the forstner bit and an electric screwdriver. Using the Drill-Mate will ensure that your pegs will be straight.
Erase pencil marks. Sand the holes and edges of both boards, and the dowel edges too.
Set rail board on a flat surface. Use the rubber mallet to install the pegs (this won’t dent the wood). Make sure the back side of the board has the pegs flush to it.
To add a top shelf, mark spots about 10 inches apart on top of the shelf board for the wood screws. Drill small pilot holes first to make sure the wood doesn’t split when adding the screws.
You can stain, seal, wax, or paint your peg rail and allow it to completely dry before installing onto the wall.
To install your new modern peg rail, you can drill pilot holes in the rail board where you will drill longer wood screws into the wall studs (or use anchors if drilling into drywall).
Tips for a DIY modern peg rail:
Use hardwood – I used poplar wood (pine boards split and splintered on me)
Use a DrillMate to help you drill straight – unless you want wonky pegs
Use a forstner drill bit to prevent splintering around the holes
Drill your holes slow and steady – wear safety glasses
Drill pilot holes before adding wood screws
Now that you have this awesome modern peg rail on your wall, it’s time to style it. Our peg rail will eventually be in our semi-entryway so you can guess it’s function, but I will update this post to show you the final installation and how I’ve styled it. If you want to see updates on the house’s build and all the DIY updates I have planned for it, subscribe for blog updates and follow me on Instagram.