Introduction: Closet Door Clamping Tie Rack

About: Jack of All Trades, Master of One: Being Me!

It's no secret - I like to look good. And a large part of my stylings involve wearing a dress shirt and tie. In my short life, I have acquired quite a few ties, (only some of which are shown here, most are in storage). I've had a few different kinds of tie racks which have worked well, but since my wife and I started traveling and living in a fifth wheel trailer, space is pretty limited. For the longest time, I've kept my ties on a suit hanger, with the pant bar clamp keeping them in place.

This has been far from ideal considering the space it takes up in the closet combined with the fact that I have to unclamp the bar to take off a single tie at which time half of the other ties always fall off. Plus, there isn't that much room on the hanger, so it's hard to see what ties I actually have on the hanger bar.

With these issues in mind, I set out to make a new tie rack to more efficiently organize my ties in the small space I have available. This project uses minimal parts, mostly what I had lying around. The new rack has two rows with a raising clamp to keep the ties in place while we are on the road. 

Step 1: Parts and Such

Like I said, most of the parts and pieces I used in this project were things I had already. With that in mind, many things could be replaced with something else.


4 Dalrods - The length is whatever you need for you project. I was able to cut them in half (only needing 2). I would recommend at least 3/8" or thicker diameter, it will make drilling into the rods a lot easier.

Flat Aluminum Strip - I used about 2' of fairly thin, 3/8" wide pieces I originally got from Lowes. These will form the frame, so use your best judgement on what you need.

L-Shaped Aluminum Strip - I used about 8" of fairly thin, 3/8" wide pieces pieces I originally got from Lowes. These are used to mount the rack to the closet door.

Screws, Bolts, and Nuts - 8 screws to mount the dalrods to the metal frame. enough small nuts and bolts (6 sets) to hold the frame together, 4 or so screws to mount the rack to the closet.

Felt Material - Any sort of felt like material will work, such as velvet. You will need four pieces a few inches in length and as wide as your finished dalrods.

Window Rubber Insulation Strip - In case you don't make the pieces line up perfectly, this can be added to the clamping bars so they are definitely working.


Drill with various sized drill bits
Hand saw (to cut wood and metal)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue
Duct Tape
Spray Paint

Step 2: Make a Plan

Since my dimensions are probably not going to work for every case, the first thing you need to do is measure the closet door where you want to put the tie rack to decide how big it can be. I have included a few of my initial sketches to get you started, but note that these measurements might not work for you!

Essentially, the rack is composed of two triangles supporting either end of two dalrods. A second pair of dalrods is then attached to a swivel arm used to hold the ties in place.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

With an idea of what you want to do, measure your wood and cut it to the correct length. I could only fit 15" in my closet, but your door may be wider or skinnier. Always better to cut too long than too short!

Next, cut the metal pieces. This isn't an exact science, just don't cut off your fingers.

Step 4: Build the Triangles

The first thing to do here is drill a few pilot holes in the ends of the dalrods. This is crucial! Screwing into the wood will just cause the rods to split apart. The hole needs to be a bit less than the diameter of your screws.

Next, measure and drill holes in the metal pieces for the screws and bolts. Again, the placement of everything isn't an exact science. You can use my diagram in Step 2 as a guide, but just do what seems right!

Then you can attach the metal pieces to the dalrods. I started with the two flat pieces, adding the L-brackets last. None of these parts need to swivel, so snug them up tight.

Step 5: Add the Clamping Bar

The exact placement of the clamping rods will depend on how well you made the base rack. Basically, you will just add two more pieces of flat aluminum to attach the last two rods. The aluminum will be bolted to the top of the L-Brackets with two nuts on each bolt (or one locking nut) not completely tightened to the metal to allow the arms to swing up.

Step 6: Coat the Sharp Edges

Of course, you should really sand down everything you have cut, but there will still be a chance that a shirt or tie will catch onto some corner and snag. That would just be a bad day! To prevent this, I coated anything I thought could cause a tear with hot glue. This included corners, edges, and the bolt and screw heads.

Next, I wrapped the edges of the dalrods with a bit of duct tape to prevent them from breaking off of the screws, just in case one of those cracks from bad pilot hole drilling decides to split the wood.

Also at this time, I spray painted all of the metal pieces so they would be a uniform color without blemish. This is optional, but you could have some fun with it.

Step 7: Adding Upholstery

Adding material to the rods is crucial in keeping the ties from slipping easily off the wood and catching on splinters. I can sew, but I didn't really want to have to for this project. Instead, I relied on the man's means of attaching things: duct tape and glue.

First, measure four pieces of material (or felt, or velvet, or whatever you want) a coupe of inches in length and as wide as your dalrods. Then, fold one edge back and tape it back to itself. This is how you hem material without sewing!

Next, tape the other side of the material to one of the rods such that wrapping the material around the rod will keep the taped areas on the inside of the roll and out of sight. The direction you wrap it doesn't matter much, but I'd suggest lining it up so the edge of the material will not be visible.. it just looks better that way.

Finally, tightly wrap the material around the rod. Then glue the inner side of the duct tape hem to the material/tape underneath it to keep the roll in place. Starting in the middle works well, just keep it tight and uniform.

Do this to all four dalrods.

Step 8: Add a Clamp

I didn't really know how to hold the the clamping rods down. I toyed with using rubber bands or string. In the end, I wrapped a large paperclip around the bottom of the two clamping rods. It is wrapped around the rod with the tail wrapping around itself to keep it from coming off the bar. The other tail is then hooked over the lower tie rack bar to hold the two rods together. If you think of a better idea, let me know!

Step 9: Mount the Rack

Finally, you are ready to mount the rack to the inside of the closet door. 

There are really two things to consider here:
  1. The rack should be as high up on the door as possible to allow plenty of room for ties to hang, while still letting the clamping rods rotate up without hitting the ceiling. This should also put the rack over top of any hanging clothes in the closet. Any lower, and it would hit the clothes in the closet, causing the door to want to pop open from the pressure.
  2. The rack needs to be in the center of the door width to allow the door to close as the door itself is most likely wider than the closet hole.
I used two screws on each side of the rack. I originally planned to use four. (you can see the holes in the metal) but it was sturdy enough with just two.

Just like with the dalrods, you need to drill pilot holes in the metal and wood. Drill the metal first, then mark the door through the metal holes. Be careful not to drill too deep into the door or you might come out the other side! I recessed my drill bit into the chuck so only what I needed was sticking out. That way, is was impossible to drill through the door because only a small portion of the drill bit was exposed.

With that done, screw the rack into the door.

Step 10: Populate the Rack

Finally, it's time to put your ties onto the rack. I tried to arrange mine by color, but you are welcome to do it however you want...

I did notice that the ties would fly about as the door was opened/closed, so I added a piece of string across the middle of the door to hold the bottoms of the ties down. This also keeps them from getting shut in the door. I backed out a couple of existing screws in the door (one from the door hinge and one from the door handle) and tied the string around each before screwing them back into the door. Don't make the string too tight or it will crease the ties!

If there is still space between the clamping rods and the ties when you lower the arms, then continue onto the next step. If you measured yours better than I did and the clamping rods work as intended, then congratulations, and enjoy your new space saving tie rack!

Step 11: Filling the Gap

As mentioned numerous times, I kind of screwed up somewhere between my measurements and actual build, and the clamping bar didn't really clamp down onto the ties, at least not the lower rod. To solve this, I took a strip of rubber windows insulation - the kind that comes in a roll at most big box stores - and added it to the lower clamping rod. 

With this strip in place, both clamping rods firmly hold down onto the ties, keeping them from moving about while we are on the road or I am opening the closet door!

Now, you can finally enjoy that extra inch and half of closet space. That, or your wife will instantly fill it with something, as mine did. Either way, you did a fine job...

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