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How To Make French Cleat

How To Make French Cleat


How To Make French Cleat: The fascinating world of French cleats—a simple yet incredibly effective method for hanging and organizing items securely on walls. A French cleat consists of two interlocking pieces of wood, each cut at a 30-45 degree angle. One piece is mounted on the wall, and the other is affixed to the object you want to hang. This ingenious system provides stability and strength, distributing the weight evenly and preventing items from falling or shifting.

Creating a French cleat is an accessible and versatile woodworking technique suitable for a wide array of applications. Whether you’re looking to mount shelves, cabinets, artwork, or other objects, a French cleat system offers a robust and customizable solution. The beauty of the French cleat lies in its adaptability, making it ideal for organizing spaces such as workshops, garages, kitchens, and offices.

We will walk you through the step-by-step process of crafting and installing a French cleat. From choosing the appropriate materials and tools to cutting and mounting the cleats securely, we’ll cover all the essential aspects to ensure a successful project. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have the knowledge and skills needed to confidently create and utilize French cleats to enhance your organization and make your living or working space more functional and visually appealing. So, let’s dive in and start mastering the art of French cleat installations!

How To Make French Cleat

How many components make French cleats?

A French cleat is simply two wood pieces that each has one edge bevel-ripped to 45 degrees. One piece is fastened to the wall with its beveled edge facing up. The other piece is attached to the back of the item you’re hanging on the wall with its beveled edge facing down.

A French cleat system consists of two main components: a wall-mounted strip and a corresponding strip attached to the object to be hung. The first component is affixed horizontally to the wall, typically at a 30 to 45-degree angle, ensuring a secure hold. 

This strip has a beveled or angled top edge, forming a slope that locks into the second component—a parallel strip attached to the object. The second component also has a complementary beveled edge, allowing it to interlock with the strip on the wall. Together, these two components create a remarkably stable and adjustable mounting system that can securely support various objects such as shelves, cabinets, artwork, and other fixtures. 

The simplicity and effectiveness of this two-part design make the French cleat a popular choice for organizing and displaying items while also allowing for easy adjustments and rearrangements as needed.

What size French cleats?

The rule of thumb here is to choose a cleat length that can cover at least 75% of the object’s width. For example, you have a frame that measures 24 inches. You will need at least an 18-inch French cleat.

The size of a French cleat primarily depends on the weight and size of the object you intend to hang or mount. Generally, the width and thickness of the cleat can vary based on the load-bearing capacity required. For lighter items or smaller pieces, a cleat with a width of around 1-2 inches and a thickness of about 3/4 inch may suffice. However, for heavier or larger objects, wider cleats with a thickness of 1-1/2 to 2 inches provide increased strength and stability.

The length of the cleat should typically match the width of the object being hung or mounted, ensuring adequate support across the entire width. It’s advisable to extend the cleat close to the edges of the object to evenly distribute the weight and prevent any potential tilting or instability.

Ultimately, calculating the precise size involves considering the weight, size, and distribution of the load. It’s important to err on the side of caution and choose a slightly larger cleat size to ensure a secure and well-supported installation. Additionally, customizing the cleat size to suit the specific requirements of your project is a common practice in woodworking, ensuring a tailored and safe mounting solution.

What angle is French cleat?

45 degree

A French cleat is a way of securing a cabinet, mirror, artwork or other object to a wall. It is a molding with a 45 degree slope used to hang cabinets or other objects.

The angle of a French cleat, often referred to as the bevel angle, typically ranges between 30 to 45 degrees. This angle is crucial as it determines the stability and engagement between the wall-mounted strip and the corresponding strip attached to the object being hung.

A 30-degree angle is commonly used and strikes a balance between a secure hold and ease of installation. This angle provides stability while still allowing for relatively straightforward adjustments and placements.

On the other hand, a 45-degree angle offers a tighter and more secure fit. However, it may require more precision during installation and adjustments due to the steeper angle.

The choice of the specific angle within this range depends on various factors, including the weight and size of the object, the desired level of stability, and the ease of installation. Heavier objects may benefit from a steeper angle to ensure a secure and reliable mounting, while lighter objects may work well with a more moderate angle. Ultimately, the angle of the French cleat should be selected based on the specific needs and requirements of the project to achieve a safe and effective hanging or mounting solution.

How thick is a French cleat?

Re: French Cleat Thickness

3/4” is the bare minimum but should suffice as long as you’re not putting your anvil in. A full hardwood cleat is also better than plywood.

The thickness of a French cleat, an essential factor in its design and functionality, generally ranges from 3/4 inch to 1-1/2 inches. This thickness is crucial for providing stability, strength, and weight-bearing capacity when mounting objects securely on walls.

A 3/4-inch thickness is often used for lighter loads and smaller objects. It’s a common choice for applications where the mounted items are relatively lightweight, such as decorative shelves, frames, or smaller cabinets.

For heavier objects and larger fixtures, a thicker French cleat of 1-1/2 inches or more may be necessary. This increased thickness enhances the cleat’s ability to support substantial weight and provides a more stable mounting surface, making it suitable for heavier cabinets, storage units, or larger pieces of furniture.

Choosing the appropriate thickness for the French cleat depends on the weight of the object being mounted and the intended load-bearing capacity. Ensuring a proper match between the thickness of the cleat and the weight of the object is crucial for a secure and stable installation. Additionally, considering the size and structure of the object is important to determine the appropriate thickness that will effectively distribute the weight and provide a secure mount.

How To Make French Cleat

What materials are essential for crafting a French cleat system?

Crafting a French cleat system requires a few essential materials that are readily available at hardware stores or woodworking shops. The primary material for constructing the cleats is typically solid wood. Wood is chosen for its durability, ease of cutting, and capacity to bear weight effectively. Common wood types used for French cleats include pine, plywood, oak, or other hardwoods, depending on the desired strength and aesthetics.

To create a French cleat, you will need a plank or board from the chosen wood material. This plank will be cut into two strips, each with a beveled edge to form the interlocking system. You’ll also need a saw to accurately cut the angle of the cleat, usually at 30 to 45 degrees. A table saw or circular saw is often used for this purpose.

To the wood and saw, you’ll require measuring tools like a tape measure, a square, and a pencil to mark the appropriate measurements and angles for the cleat cuts. Screws or mounting hardware will be needed to attach one part of the cleat to the wall securely and the other part to the object being hung.

The essential materials for crafting a French cleat system include the wood plank, a saw, measuring tools, and mounting hardware. These materials, when used effectively, enable the creation of a sturdy and versatile mounting solution for various objects.

How do you accurately determine and cut the angle for a French cleat?

Accurately determining and cutting the angle for a French cleat is a critical step in ensuring a secure and functional mounting system. The angle for a French cleat typically ranges between 30 to 45 degrees, with 45 degrees being a common choice for a secure and tight fit.

To accurately determine the angle, you can use a bevel gauge or a protractor. Place the bevel gauge or protractor on the edge of the wood plank, aligning it with the surface. Adjust the gauge until it matches the desired angle, usually 45 degrees, and lock it in place. Ensure that the angle is consistent along the length of the plank.

Once the angle is determined and set, you can proceed to cut the wood plank accordingly. Use a table saw or a circular saw, set at the specified angle, to make the cut along the length of the wood. It’s crucial to follow the angle precisely and maintain a steady hand during the cutting process.

After cutting, you will have two interlocking strips—one with the beveled edge for mounting on the wall, and the other with the complementary beveled edge for attaching to the object. Test the interlocking fit to ensure a snug and secure connection.

Accuracy in determining and cutting the angle is vital to achieve a proper interlock, allowing the French cleat system to securely support the weight of the mounted object. Taking your time and double-checking measurements and cuts will result in a reliable and effective French cleat system.

What are the steps for securely mounting a French cleat on the wall?

Mounting a French cleat securely on the wall involves several important steps to ensure stability and safe installation. Here’s a detailed guide:

Prepare the Wall:

Begin by preparing the wall where you intend to mount the French cleat. Ensure the wall surface is clean, level, and free from any obstructions.

Locate Wall Studs:

Use a stud finder to locate and mark the positions of the wall studs. Mounting the French cleat onto studs ensures a strong and secure hold.

Measure and Mark:

Measure and mark the desired height for the cleat on the wall, ensuring it aligns with the corresponding cleat on the object to be hung.

Level the Cleat:

Place the wall-mounted cleat against the wall at the marked height, ensuring it is level. Use a level to confirm horizontal alignment.

In what applications can a French cleat system be effectively utilized for organization?

The French cleat system’s versatility makes it a highly effective organizational tool across various applications. Its ability to securely mount objects of varying sizes and weights lends itself to numerous organizational solutions. In workshops or garages, French cleats can be utilized to hang tools, power cords, or shelves, providing an organized and accessible workspace. 

In kitchens, they can support pot racks, utensil holders, or even spice racks, aiding in efficient storage and easy access to essential items. For offices and studios, French cleats are excellent for mounting shelves, whiteboards, or organizers, helping maintain a clutter-free and productive environment. In living spaces, they can be used for hanging artwork, mirrors, or shelves, adding a decorative touch while maximizing space. 

Moreover, French cleats are invaluable in retail and commercial settings for displaying merchandise, signage, or product shelving in an organized and visually appealing manner. The adaptability of the French cleat system allows it to enhance organization in virtually any space, making it a popular choice for those seeking practical and aesthetically pleasing storage and display solutions.

French cleats are also extensively used in woodworking shops and craft rooms to organize various tools and equipment. From mounting cabinets and storage bins to organizing clamps and hand tools, the French cleat system provides a flexible and modular approach to organizing a wide range of items. Crafters often employ French cleats to store crafting materials, cutting tools, and even thread spools, keeping their workspace neat and efficient.

In healthcare settings, French cleats find application in medical facilities for mounting equipment such as defibrillators, oxygen tanks, or patient monitors securely on walls. This ensures quick access to crucial medical instruments while maintaining an organized and clutter-free space.

The adaptability and strength of the French cleat system also make it ideal for recreational purposes, such as organizing sporting equipment in gyms or garages. Bicycles, kayaks, or even golf clubs can be efficiently stored and displayed using a French cleat system, optimizing space and maintaining an organized sporting area.

The French cleat system’s versatility and ability to cater to a diverse array of applications underscore its value as a practical and efficient organizational solution across both personal and professional settings. Its simple yet robust design continues to be a go-to choice for those seeking effective and customizable ways to organize and display various items.

How To Make French Cleat


Mastering the art of creating a French cleat system opens a world of possibilities for organizing and beautifying your living or working space. Through this guide, we’ve shed light on the simplicity and effectiveness of the French cleat, showcasing its ability to securely hang a diverse range of objects with ease.

By carefully selecting the appropriate materials, understanding the angle cuts, and ensuring a level and secure installation, you can achieve a robust and versatile mounting solution. The adaptability of the French cleat allows you to arrange items like shelves, cabinets, artworks, and more, while also facilitating adjustments and additions as your needs evolve over time.

This versatile woodworking technique, often underappreciated for its practicality and strength, provides a foundation for organized living and efficient workspace management. It not only keeps your possessions organized and within easy reach but also adds an aesthetic touch to your surroundings.

As you embark on your French cleat projects, remember the key principles: precision in measurements, attentiveness to angles, and a commitment to secure installations. With practice and experience, you’ll refine your skills and creatively employ French cleats to optimize your space, making it more functional and visually appealing. So, grab your tools, gather your materials, and start crafting your own French cleat systems. Embrace the endless possibilities and take the first step towards a more organized and aesthetically pleasing environment. Happy crafting!


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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