Introduction: Build a Pot Rack and Update Your Kitchen for Under $100

About: I'm an engineer but I prefer to consider myself a doitneer. My style of making is more of a seat-of-your-pants approach. Get it done, then figure out how you could improve it next time - but there usually is…

We love the look of a hanging pot holder in the kitchen, but since we have a galley style kitchen that is limited on space and don't have an island or an open area above the sink or stove, we came up with another idea.  We used to have a bar that I had built from a simple frame mounted to the wall with a Melamine top mounted to the frame.  We decided it would be better to have our pantry there instead since our family of four couldn't sit together at the bar.  We moved our pantry into the kitchen after we took the bar table down - of which I kept the frame.  Well guess what, we missed the bar, so we came up with the idea to modify the frame to be shorter in length, add a higher quality top AND build a pot rack to go above it!  So armed with only an idea and no definite plans, we went shopping. YIKES!

When it was all said and done, we tallied our receipts and found we had only spent a little over $99 and that was including the light and 3 expensive bulbs!

Step 1: Finding the Supplies

Finding the perfect supplies and materials proved to be a little difficult, but after perusing the aisles at three different home improvement stores, we came up with the perfect mix.  

For the pot rack we found:
1.) Wire shelving grate - for the rack itself - brand: Extreme Garage  Menards Sku: 136-5150
2.) 6' 11 GA decorative chain - to hang the rack
3.) Round Wooden plaque also called a stain grade panel - plate to mount to the ceiling (we would liked to have upcycled something for this, but we are impatient people and didn't come up with anything in the time we had)
4.) Qty 2 3/16" x 3' Plated Steel Rods - for bending hooks (see video in step 4)
5.) Hammered metal spray paint - to paint plaque so it would match the rack
6.) S-Hooks - these proved to be an inferior choice for hanging pots
7.) Mounting hardware - cabinet screws,

For the tabletop we found:
1.) 1" x 2' x 4' Ponderosa pine board at Lowes.
2.) Howard butcher block conditioner at Home Depot

For the pantry we bought Gloss Banner Red Krylon spray paint.

We also bought a clearanced light fixture to replace our old ceiling fan.

Step 2: Painting the Plaque

Originally we had aluminum colored spray paint, but the coverage on it was not that great. (we didn't prime it - I told you we are impatient)   I had some hammered metal spray paint that was a little more forgiving, so we coated the plaque with that.  At the same time we removed the doors from the pantry and painted those with the red spray paint.  Note in the picture of me painting the door, I did NOT paint them in the enclosed basement - that picture was taken after the fact to illustrate that we had indeed spray painted the doors.  Make sure to paint in a well ventilated area and wear protective gear.  The over-spray on that much coverage area is really bad!

Lesson learned:DO NOT use Lacquer to clear coat over spray paint!!!!  Only use an approved clearcoat like Polyurethane.  I should have been a little more careful because that bit of carelessness caused a LOT of headache and the need to double the amount of paint we ended up using to cover that mistake!!!  Not to mention the "texture" we ended up with on the doors!

Step 3: Assembling and Hanging the Pot Rack

Before I begin explaining step 3, I apologize for the lack of pictures for this step.  We were in assembly mode and not thinking about taking pictures.

I shortened the chain down to 4 pieces of 9 links.  This is an arbitrary number as you can choose the length that works best for your application.  I attached the chain to the wire shelving rack at the same intersection in from each corner.  See picture in step 3.  Make sure your chain is not twisted as this will actually shorten the chain length and make the rack uneven.  
Next I slipped a bracket through the other end of each chain, predrilled and screwed the brackets onto the painted plaque.
Finally I pre-drilled and started the cabinet screws between each bracket on the plaque.  With the help of my wife holding up the rack, I finished screwing the cabinet screws into the ceiling.  You could also screw the plaque up to the ceiling first and then attach the chains to the rack, but for locating purposes I chose not to do it that way.  

~ Using a mounting piece like our plaque is not necessary as you can attach the brackets directly to the ceiling. ~

A note on mounting this to the ceiling:  Normally I would try to find the rafter or floor joist in the ceiling or if I couldn't locate one in the proper place, I would use an insert to screw into.  However, we have the classic 1950's tongue and groove pine boards in our kitchen which are about 3/4" thick.  This is a strong enough material to allow me to screw directly into without the use of such techniques.

Step 4: Bending the Pot Hooks

We tried using S-hooks, but the hook radius was too small or the wire was too thick.  I decided I could bend my own hooks and have a much more safe and appealing pot rack.  I created a jig to do this so each hook would essentially be the same.  I had a piece of 3/4" plywood scrap with three small holes in a line that I used as  my jig baseplate.  (See the 3-d model for a visual of how it was laid out)   In the first hole, I screwed a small eye bolt, in the last hole I screwed a wood screw through into my workbench and the middle hole I drove a lag screw through just into my workbench to help hold it still. (Don't worry, it's just an OSB top, not a high end woodworkers workbench)  I left the lag standing up about an inch so I would have room to bend my hook around it.  Using a 3/4" hole saw I drilled a hole into the jig baseplate which was used to insert a 3/4" copper fitting into. This acts as the form for the actual hook part where the pot hangs.  Please watch the video for clearer instructions as I cannot explain it in word very well.

Step 5: Installing the Buther Block Top

Disclaimer:  I know the wood we chose for our table top is not truly what would be considered a butcher block.  However since we were on a budget and the edge glued pine panels provided the look we were going for, we chose to save a couple hundred dollars and use them.  We also do not plan on using this as a chopping block.  If you want a true chopping block table top, you will have to find a more expensive hardwood material.

I do not have a good step by step instruction on the frame I used since it was already existing and all I had to do was shorten it a bit.  It is basically three triangles connected by cross pieces.  I have included pics for reference though.  Once the frame was mounted to the wall, I fastened the top down with small L-brackets and wood screws.  I then followed the instructions on the Howards Butcher Block Conditioner so we could have a natural finish on the butcher block top.  I did use a hairdryer to assist in getting the wax to soak more into the grain - Whether it helped or not I cannot say, but it made me feel better none-the-less! :)

Step 6: Putting It All Together

With the rack hung and the butcher block top in place, all that was left to do was rehang the doors on the pantry and then step back while my wife added little decorative touches to make it look pretty.  We also replaced the ceiling fan with a newer more modern light that was a little more energy efficient.  See the pictures of the final look. 

Spray paint is a great way to give inexpensive furniture a face lift.  If done properly it can produce a nice finish on a tight budget.

Thanks for looking and don't forget to vote!

2nd Annual Krylon Summer Contest

Participated in the
2nd Annual Krylon Summer Contest