Introduction: Add Magnetic Catches to Your Drying Rack

About: I'm cheap and like to use what I have on hand and I really enjoy taking things apart to salvage parts. Rather than be a precise engineering type of person, I'm more of an enthusiastic tinkerer. Making things i…

Like most people I do laundry. When I got married I was introduced to a strange concept of not placing all of my clothes in the dryer. My wife educated me that in fact the itchy little tags nestled within clothing actually had pertinent information on them. This information related to the care and use of said clothing. I had been aware of this fact but hadn't bothered to let it permeate my consciousness. After I ruined one or two of her shirts she emphasized the importance of taking this information into account in my laundry activities and the handiness of the drying rack. Since I still don't want to read tags I have adopted the motto of "When in doubt, hang it out!" in order to avoid laundry fouls. The downside being that with a small laundry room we sometimes need to move the drying rack which causes its supports to slip and the rack will collapse. Initially we used rubber bands to keep the supports in place, but these always seem to snap at the worst time, or get mauled by a cat. So I hit upon the idea of adding magnetic catches to the supports. They won't break and take no effort to put in place when you set the rack up. Here's how I did it.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Here are the tools and materials I used for this project:


  • 2 ferrous screws
  • 2 small magnets
  • 1 drying rack
  • Adhesive


  • Pencil
  • 1 old gift card (serves as glue applicator and straight edge)
  • 1 drill bit sizer
  • Cordless power drill
  • Drill bit (same diameter as screws)
  • Appropriate screw driving bit (mine was a #2 Phillips)
  • Hacksaw
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Flat file (not pictured)

Step 2: Marking and Drilling

Placement is key to this project because if the screw and magnet don't line up, then your drying rack supports will still slip. So to properly lay things out set up your drying rack. Press the short leg against the taller support leg. Use your gift card to draw a horizontal line across both legs. With that done remove the shorter leg. Use the gift card to transfer the line around to the face of the taller leg that was in contact with the shorter leg. Once you've drawn this line use your drill to make a hole at the approximate center of the line on the contact face of the tall leg. Repeat this process on the other set of supports on the other side of the drying rack.

Step 3: Screwing, Hacking, and Filing... Oh My!

With the hole drilled it's time to install and modify the screw. Place the tip of the screw in the pilot hole and give it a couple of twists to get it started. Then drive it into the wood until the head is a short distance from the contact surface of the long leg. Leaving the head protruding a short distance from the surface makes a guide for your hacksaw, which you'll now use to decapitate the screw. Once the screw is decapitated use a flat file to smooth off the screw shaft and ensure it is flush with the surface of the leg. A flat surface will also help ensure good contact with the magnet. Repeat this process on the drying rack's other support leg.

Step 4: Marking and Carving the Short Leg

Now that the long legs are done it is time to handle the short legs. The first step is to transfer the horizontal line drawn on the front of the short leg to its contact face. Do this as described in step two. Next hold a magnet along the horizontal line so it's bisected by the line and trace the outline of the magnet onto the contact face.

With that done trace the outline with your utility knife. Then score area inside the outline in a grid pattern with your utility knife. Then scrape the scored wood out. I found placing the blade tip into the score marks and then giving a quick twist of the wrist popped out the wood quite effectively. Keep repeating this process until the hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the magnet. Attempting to dry fit the magnet into the cavity will show you what progress you've made and where you need to remove more material.This process may take some time but better to go slow as it always easier to remove material than to add it back.

Once you've completed the first short support repeat the process on the other short leg.

Step 5: Apply Adhesive

With the magnet cavities ready it is time to install the magnets. Cut three or four thin strips off your gift card to serve as glue applicators. With that done squeeze out a dollop of glue onto the remainder of the gift card. Use the applicators to apply the glue to the sides and back of the magnet cavities. After you have the glue spread evenly across the surfaces of the cavity press the magnets into place. Wipe away any excess glue that may have been squeezed from the cavity when the magnet was inserted. Wait for the adhesive to cure. If you push the legs together before this happens the magnet will pull itself out of the cavity.

Once the adhesive has cured put the short legs in place and then turn the drying rack on its side to verify the magnets are holding. If the alignment is correct the short and long legs should remain in contact.

Step 6:

Glue Contest

Participated in the
Glue Contest