DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack

I once built a wall-mounted clothes-drying rack that I loved. Then I moved. The drying rack stayed with the house, but as it turned out, the one I left behind wouldn’t have worked in my new laundry room anyway. So I built another one—completely different from the original one—that’s better suited to my current space, and here it is.

DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

If you’ve done some research on wall-mounted drying racks, you probably know that racks like these at Pottery Barn and other high-end retailers sell for anywhere from $100 on up. I recently saw one that sold for $350. Lordy. If you have a drill and a saw of some sort—even just a miter box—you can make one for yourself for much less. Much less.

You’ll need some wooden dowels, 1 x 2 pine, 1 x 3 pine and some beadboard that can be cut at your local box store if you don’t have a jig saw or table saw to cut it with.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

I used mostly scrap wood for this project, as you can see by my chopped up beadboard. The size of my drying rack was based on the length of some wooden dowels I already had, as well as the size of my leftover beadboard piece.

The frame that held the dowels was made from 1 x 2’s. I made the dimensions of the inside of the frame 2″ shorter than the length of the wooden dowels so that the dowels could be inserted 1″ into the frame on each side.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

I drew lines on the sides of my 1 x 2’s (on the one inch side) so I would know where to drill the holes for the dowels. You can decide what spacing works best for you, but I placed my dowels 3 1/4″ apart on center.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

Drilling the holes in the trim was the most difficult part of this project because the wood I was drilling into wasn’t much wider than the dowels I was using. Here’s a photo of the finished frame, and there’s only about 1/8″ to 3/16″ of excess wood remaining on each side of the dowel. (Whew!) In the interest of frazzled-nerve prevention, you may want to consider your dowel thickness in comparison to the width of your frame pieces when you’re purchasing your supplies.

DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

You’ll want to use a spade bit or a brad point bit so the bit doesn’t “walk” while you’re trying to drill.

If you don’t know what a spade bit or a brad point bit is, the next photo shows a spade bit. If you don’t have much experience with a drill, you may want to drill a tiny hole first in the exact center of your piece of wood where you want the dowel to go. This gives you a “sturdy” place to put the tip of the actual dowel-sized bit for precision’s sake. You also may want to put a piece of tape on your bit as a depth guide so you don’t drill so deep that the point of the bit pokes through the other side. That would be very sad.

A brad point bit (google it) would have been the way to go here as the point on a brad point bit is much shorter than the point on a spade bit which means less chance of accidental “impalement”.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the size I needed in a brad point, and I wasn’t going to make a trip out to get one when I was on a roll. I find having to leave for supplies in the middle of a project to be immensely irritating, so I usually make due with what I have.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

I used a Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes in the frame that held the dowels, but you could easily make a frame without pocket holes by simply nailing or screwing these pieces together. I put glue in each dowel hole and on each butt joint of the frame.

Note: It’s easier to spray paint your dowels before assembling. I chose to spray paint mine with interior/exterior paint, so they’d be protected from the dampness of the wet clothing I’d be drying. Quite honestly, it would have been easier to prime and put one coat of paint on all of the pieces before assembly, and then one quick coat after assembly, but I wasn’t in a painting sort of mood. I will admit, I regretted said mood when I had to paint around all those dowels where they attached to the frame three times (one coat of primer and two coats of paint).

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

The second section of the drying rack consisted of trim pieces glued, and then nailed (from the back) to a piece of beadboard paneling. The trim size doesn’t really matter, but I would recommend something with a thickness that measures at least 1/2 inch because a nail will be driven through the side of it as you’ll see shortly. I used what I had on hand for this, which happened to be a combination of some leftover trim and some scraps of mull casing.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

Next came a simple frame made from 1 x 3’s that surrounded the beadboard section. I screwed the four side pieces of the frame together, countersunk the screws, puttied over them and primed and painted all the pieces.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com
DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

After I painted, I attached the 1 x 3 frame to the bead board section by nailing through the side of the frame and into the trim that was attached to the beadboard.

I added a piece of wire that I sprayed white, to allow the rack to hang open. The next two photos are of the back side of the frame.

DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

I added some white hooks to the back beadboard piece to catch the wire so the rack could be held in place when extended, and I added a pin that I salvaged off of who-knows-what, to hold the rack closed when not in use.

After a ridiculous amount of wishy-washyness, I decided not to hinge the two pieces together, so they remained two separate pieces. I didn’t like the idea of the pin part of hinges showing on the bottom of the rack, and I decided if I wanted to add hinges later, I could.

DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

Here’s how the pin works when it’s all put together.

 DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

To mount it, I located the studs in the wall, and then drilled through the trim, the beadboard, the drywall and into the stud. I counter-sunk the screws and patched and painted over them. I hope nobody ever wants to remove this drying rack because finding the puttied and painted screws again is gonna be a son-of-a-gun.

Here’s the finished product.

DIY Laundry Room Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

I must admit the original drying rack that I made and gave up for adoption was easier to build than this one—mainly because I didn’t have to drill any holes for dowels, and I only had to build one frame instead of two. It also was able to hold many more pieces of laundry than this one—even a queen sized comforter! But since becoming an empty-nester, my household laundry volume has taken a plunge, and now I mainly just need something for unmentionables, and a sweater or two. It’s perfect!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager/Redesigner. If you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.Wordpress.com.

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack–Easy DIY Project

Dearest readers, I’ve been asked once again to share instructions on how to construct a clothes drying rack that was pictured in a previous post. So Sarah S., since you were the latest reader to request information, this one’s for you! Now you can make your drying rack, and you just got an honorable mention in my post! It’s your lucky day. This is an after-the-fact post, but I hope anyone who’s interested can still find these instructions sufficient enough to build one of these fantabulous racks for yourself.

If you have a small laundry room, you will find this item is a must-have. Mine replaced an ugly retractable clothes line in my laundry room, and it’s so much more efficient. I spotted something similar in a couple different high-end catalogs, and decided there’s no freaking way I’m paying that kind of money for something for my laundry room. No sir-ee. But I really wanted one, so I put on my DIY hat, and off I went. The one I made is actually a combination of two different ones I’d seen. Here’s some photos of the finished project.

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.Wordpress.com

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

First, you’ll need to come up with a wooden drying rack. I’d had mine for years, but I’m assuming you could buy one at just about any department store. A wooden one would be best since you’ll have to drill through it. I actually had two racks, and was going to make two of these, but accidentally ran over one of the drying racks with my car during construction. (I wondered what that cracking sound was.) So much for a workshop in the garage.

So the first step is to lay your rack on a flat surface in the folded position so you can see what size to make the surrounding box. My rack measures 3.5” deep, so I made my side panels 4.5” deep. Five inches would probably have been better. So I would recommend making the depth of your box and inch and a half taller than your rack in it’s folded state.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The rack itself is 30” wide so I want the inside of my box to measure 30.5”. This leaves a quarter-inch of free space on each side for free movement.

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

You can see in this photo the space between the outside of the rack and the inside of the box, so the rack can slide open easily. This is the quarter of an inch free space I referred to.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The rack is 21.25” tall, so I made the inside space of my box 22.5” so I have an inch clearance on the bottom, and about .25” clearance on the top. I suppose I could have split the space evenly, but it doesn’t matter as long as there is clearance on both ends.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I used some scrap wood that used to be shelving to construct the box, and I liked the idea of the rounded edges. This wood was left over from another project, and was purchased at my local Habitat for Humanity warehouse. I think the rounded edges makes for a less “home-made” look. We want ours to look like the ones in the fancy-schmancy catalogs, right? So I cut my four side boards to the appropriate lengths, and nailed them together using simple butt joints. No miters or anything crazy.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a butt joint. Just one board butted up against the other. Thus the name.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I used wood glue, and finishing nails (nails with very small heads on them) so I can countersink them, and make them disappear. I always pre-drill my holes for my nails because I stink with a hammer. Not sure why I struggle with that, but usually on the last hit of the hammer, the nail inevitably bends over, and becomes imbedded into the wood. Then I turn into a raging inferno of craziness. Not a pretty site. Needless to say, I just take an extra moment to pre-drill, and it’s added years to my life. It’s also easier to keep your two boards from shifting while you’re nailing if your nails have a pre-drilled path to follow. It’s like a nail on auto-pilot. Love it.

So now we have a free-standing box with no back. I hope you can picture that.

I used bead board paneling for the back of my project. I had this leftover from another project, but it can be purchased in 4′ by 4′ sections at your local home improvement store. Menards for me here in Central Illinois.

This next step is completely optional. I routed a groove in the back side of my box so that my bead board paneling would fit down inside the box, flush with the back so it won’t show from the side. Sort of like how a piece of glass fits down inside a picture frame.

If you aren’t a routerer (this is a completely made up word meaning “person who routes with a router”), don’t despair. You can just cut a sheet of bead board to fit the back, and simply nail it on. If you don’t want the bead board panel to show from the side, you can buy a piece of quarter-round trim, and attach it to hide the panel. I would use small nails with a decent sized head on them to nail the bead board to the back of the box. Even upholstery tacks would probably work for this. In hindsight, routing the groove in the back was probably not necessary in my case since my laundry room is small, and you don’t really get a good view of the drying rack from the side. Oh well. Time spent puttering is therapy for me, and is never wasted.

Now comes the tricky part. You’ll need to decide exactly where to drill the holes for attaching your rack to the box. If you put them too close to the back where your bead board panel sits, your rack won’t be able to open. It would be helpful to have a second person to help you hold and move the rack open and shut in order to decide where to drill. I roughed it, and decided by myself, but I must confess, I started to sweat as I was drilling my holes. Placement is important. My holes were drilled aproximately 1.5 inches from the top, and from the back of the box.

Note: You’ll want to make sure you don’t install your rack upside down. You’ll want the notched sides of the arms that hold your rack open when it stands normally, to be pointed down at the floor. If you install it backwards, you’ll have the top piece flopping open. Not too many things worse in life than a floppy, upside down drying rack.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

You’ll want to drill your hole from the inside of the box as opposed to the outside, drilling through the leg of your rack first, continuing through the side of the box and out the other side.

If you’re nervous about where to drill your holes, and are sweating like I was, you could try using a tiny drill bit at first. Then stick a toothpick, a small finishing nail, a skewer or a wire though the hole to see if it’s going to function correctly. After everything seems peachy, then you can re-drill with a drill bit just a smidge larger than your bolt. And remember, if you miss-drill, all is not lost. You can fill the holes, let dry and drill again. If at first you don’t succeed…

I attached the rack to the box with a bolt that was long enough to go through the box, and the leg of the rack, allowing enough extra length to accommodate a lock nut. I put a washer in between the box and the rack leg.

To give a more professional look, I caulked around all my joints, and everywhere that the bead board panel meets my side pieces on the interior of the box.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now that you know your rack functions properly, you can remove the bolt, disassemble your project, and prime and paint.
I painted my rack with exterior paint since it would be in contact with wet clothing. I do wish, however, that I had spray painted this crazy thing—at least the rack part, instead of brushing it. Spindles aren’t very fun to paint by hand.

I don’t have any of the hardware left that I used to hang my project on the wall, but what I used was similar to the pieces in the following picture, only nicer, and meant for hanging items on a wall. But this gives you the idea.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonILg

I put a screw through the bottom hole into the back of my box, leaving the second hole sticking out above the box. I used that second hole to screw into a stud in the wall. Mine is high enough that I can’t see the screw and bracket sticking out the top, but I painted it my wall color anyway, just so it wouldn’t show if Shaq were to stop by to do some laundry.

I know this final step seems late in the game, but I added these support pieces after installation so I could see where the unattached legs naturally sit inside the box.

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I fully extended my rack and marked where the bottom legs rested. I cut a block of wood to fit in that spot, and glued it to the beadboard (I used caulk) so when I put a heavy, wet comforter on it, the rack has extra support. This rack will hold a wet, queen sized comforter, believe it or not!

 Make Your Own Laundry Room Drying Rack--Easy DIY Project / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

So there you have it! A drying rack made all by yourself on the cheap. Now you can dry your clothes without taking up valuable floor space, and your laundry room looks like a picture from Pottery Barn. Enjoy!

Update: I recently built another style of wall-mounted drying rack pictured below, that might interest you. Tutorial here.

 Wall-mounted Drying Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL.wordpress.com

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager/Redesigner and Journeyman Painter. If you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.