How to Make and Use a French Cleat

How to Use a French Cleat: A Comprehensive Guide

Does anyone know what a French Cleat is? Basically, a French Cleat consists of two pieces of wood, each with a bevel cut on one edge where one piece is mounted to the wall (secured to the studs) and the other piece is mounted to the back of the item being hung on the wall. It is used for heavier items such as large mirrors or pieces of art, and headboards that are not attached to the bed frame. Today, I will share how to make and use a French Cleat.

Because the weather where I live has been frustratingly unpredictable (warm and raining, or just too darn cold), we’ll have to settle for drawings to accompany the French Cleat instructions instead of photos – though I really need to make one to hang a mirror frame!

Start with a 1×3 almost as long as the item being hung. In my case, the cleat will be about 45″ long. Run the piece through the table saw cutting it in half with a 45 degree cut. (If a table saw is not an option, two 1x2s can be used with a router and a 45 degree chamfer bit).

how to make and use a french cleat drawing

One piece will be mounted to the back of the item being hung. The piece will be oriented so that the angle faces down and the longer part of the angle faces out. The other piece will be mounted to the wall and secured to the studs with the angle facing up, and the longer edge of the angle facing out. Make sure both pieces are level and straight!

To hang the heavy item, “stack” the cleat on the item being hung over the cleat mounted to the wall. The item is now securely hung on the wall!

I’m hoping the weather will straighten out so I can have just a few minutes to create the cleat I need and I will add real photos for a better idea!

Have any questions about how to make and use a French Cleat? Leave a comment below!

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