Introduction: Clothing Drying Rack

About: I'm a pre-engineered metal buildings detailer by day, and a fiddler of whatever projects catch my interest nights & weekends. Primarily woodworking and cooking.

While trying to determine the perfect Mother's Day gift for my wife, I came across several drying racks pinned to her Pinterest account.

While we have a nice sized house, there isn't much in the way of places to hang wet laundry. Our HOA doesn't allow outdoor drying lines. Our utility room is only large enough for the washer, dryer, and an aisle to get to the garage. If she's bringing company over, it's a mad scramble to hide her delicates hanging in the bathroom, on doors, and wherever else she's got things drying.

The particular style of rack I decided on will fit within our utility room, attach to the wall, and best of all fold up out of the way when not in use. In a nutshell, compact when it needs to be. Buying one of these in the size I was thinking of comes to around $150 plus shipping.

Making it would be cheaper (around $60 in materials) and has the added benefit of being hand-made (always appreciated by my wife).

So, let's get started.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

(Not all materials are shown in the photo.)


  • 1/2" x 2" x 4'-0" poplar board
  • 1" x 3" x 8'-0" pine board
  • 3/16" x 32" x 48" white beadboard
  • 3/8" x 48" round hardwood dowel
  • 3/4" diameter black ceramic disc magnets
  • 1-1/2" oil-rubbed bronze finish narrow utility hinges
  • 3" half round bronze with copper highlight pull
  • #16 zinc jack chain
  • #212 zinc plated screw eyes
  • #8 x 1/2" round head phillips screws
  • #8 x 1-1/2" flat head phillips screws
  • Wood glue
  • Satin enamel paint


  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Miter saw
  • Table saw
  • 3/4" forstner bit
  • #8 countersink drill bit
  • Kreg pocket jig
  • Various clamps
  • Pencil

Safety Equipment

  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Gloves
  • Common sense

Above all else, whenever working on a project, keep safety in mind above all else.

Step 2: Back Frame

Begin by cutting the 1" x 3" boards down to create a rectangular frame that will fit the beadboard.

Cut two pieces 36" long, for the top and bottom of the frame. This gives enough room for a little decorative overhang. The two sides should be the correct length of 48". However, measure just to be certain. Not all pieces will be perfectly cut.

Cut two 1/2" x 2" boards down to 32" to fit within the frame. These will be the top and bottom attachment boards.

On the top board drill two countersunk holes 1-1/2" in from the edge. Drill two more countersunk holes 1-1/2" in from the opposite end. Repeat this step for the bottom board.

Drill two small pilot holes in each end of the side boards.

Add wood glue to one end of a side board. Using two #8 x 1-1/4" screws, screw the top board into the side board. Use a damp cloth to wipe up any excess glue. (This tip applies throughout the project. Whenever working with wood glue, always have a damp cloth handy.) Add wood glue to the end of the other end board. Use two more screws and screw the side board into the other end of the top board.

Repeat the glue and screws with the bottom board.

Give the assembly around 30 minutes to dry.

Step 3: Pocket Jig Intermission

This step will come up quite a bit, so refer back here for instruction.

Clamp the Kreg pocket jig centered on the piece of wood, sticking past the end by 1/4". Adjust the collar on the bit to 3 5/16". Clamp the wood to your worktable securely. Drill, starting at low speed and increase as needed. The collar should end up flush with the end of the jig. If there is resistance, pull the bit back a little, then resume drilling.

Step 4: Back Frame Continued

Drill a pocket hole in each end of the top and bottom attachment boards.

On the opposite face of the top attachment board, use the forstner bit to drill two holes deep enough for the magnets. (It is recommended to use a drill press for this step. I used a hand drill, since I don't have a drill press. I set up a jig with clamps and scrap pieces of wood, clamped the attachment board down well, and drilled using a low speed.)

In the assembled frame, place a 1" x 3" board snug against the top frame board inside the frame. Place the beadboard inside the frame. Add glue to both ends and one side edge of the attachment board. Place the top attachment board on top of the beadboard, tight against the top frame, with the magnet holes facing up. Use clamps to tightly hold the top attachment board to the frame.

Carefully pull the frame up, leaving the 1" x 3" and the beadboard behind. Flip the frame over and use a #8 x 1-1/4" screw in each hole. Screw these in with a screwdriver. I used a hand drill and cracked the two boards I was trying to attach together.

Repeat the above process with bottom attachment board.

Step 5: Back Frame Beadboard

Liberally add wood glue to the back of each attachment board. Place the beadboard face down on the attachment boards. Clamp the board into place top and bottom. Using four #8 x 1/2" screws at each end, fasten the beadboard to the attachment boards.

Allow the entire assembly to dry for 30 minutes before removing clamps and/or moving.

Step 6: Hanging Cleats

Angle the table saw blade to 45 degrees. Run a 1" x 3" board through the saw, cutting one side down to an angle.

Note in the photo a piece is chipped off the end of the board. The wood caught in the blade and bucked as I was pushing the end through. Always keep in mind with a situation like this, the wood can be replaced if need be. Your safety is more important.

That said, the damage to the wood wasn't too bad. Especially for a hidden piece like a cleat. So I still used it.

Cut the cleat board into four pieces. Two of these are attached to the wall, and two to the back of the hanging rack.

Step 7: Drying Rack Frame

Cut two 1/2" x 2" x 4' poplar boards down a little for the side boards, leaving enough room for the hinges at the bottom and a small gap at the top. Place the side boards inside the completed back frame. Measure the distance between the two side boards. Cut two 1/2" x 2" poplar boards for the top and bottom boards a little less than the measured dimension.

At each end of the top and bottom boards, drill a pocket hole (see Step 3). On the top board, drill two holes using the 3/4" forstner bit to line up with the magnet holes in the back frame. These holes should be drilled on the same face of the board as the pocket holes. (Eagle-eyed viewers may notice that I drilled the pocket holes on the opposite side of top board originally. I didn't realize this error until after the entire drying rack frame was assembled. This required that I cut the board off, refabricate it, and attach the new board.)

Drill six 3/8" holes in the edge of both side boards about half the depth of the board, equally spaced (keeping in mind the top and bottom board to be attached later). A good trick to keep the depth consistent is to attach a piece of tape (masking tape or painters tape) as a guide.

Cut the 3/8" dowel to fit between the side boards and fill the depth of the holes.

Add wood glue to the end of the top board. Clamp the board in place to the inside of the side board. Screw the board in place with a #8 1-1/4" screw. Repeat with the bottom board.

Allow 30 minutes for the assembly to dry.

Add a generous helping of wood glue to each hole in both side boards. Add glue to the ends of the top and bottom boards. Place the dowels in the semi-assembled frame. Line up the dowels in the holes of the other side board. Clamp the entire assembly from the sides, at the top and bottom, using bar clamps. Clamp the boards at the top and bottom to ensure they are aligned. Finally, screw the boards using the pocket holes using #8 1-1/4" screws.

Drill holes in the top board for handle attachment later.

Allow 30 minutes for the entire frame to dry.

Step 8: Paint the Assembly

Set up a clean area to paint. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the frames.

Paint the back frame and the drying rack frame separately.

Step 9: Attach Hardware

Add a generous amount of glue to the magnet holes. Place a magnet in each hole and clamp in place. Ensure the magnets are in the correct direction for the polarity. Allow sufficient drying time.

Drill pilot holes for the screw eyes on the inside of the back frame side boards. Screw in the screw eyes by hand. Drill pilot holes for the screw eyes in the back of the drying rack frame side boards. Screw in the screw eyes by hand in the drying rack frame.

Thread the bolts for the handle through the back of the drying rack frame and screw into the handle. (I had to get shorter bolts, as the ones provided were made for 3/4" and 1" material.)

Drill pilot holes in the bottom edge of the bottom board of the drying rack frame for the hinges. Screw in the hinges to the bottom of the drying rack frame with the provided screws. Line up the drying rack frame in the back frame and mark with pencil through the hinge holes. Drill pilot holes in the bottom board of the back frame. Screw in the hinges with the provided fasteners.

Test the frame, pulling the drying rack out to the desired angle. Measure the length from one screw eye in the back frame to on screw eye in the drying rack. Cut the chain to this length and attach (we went with 18"). Cut a second piece of chain to the same length and attach to the other screw eyes.

Step 10: Installation

Using a stud finder, find the distance between studs in the wall. Screw two cleats to the back of the back frame using this distance. The angled surface should be pointing down, with the short side against the drying rack.

Drill holes into the wall, going into the studs. Attach the final two cleats to the wall with the angled surface pointing up, and the short side against the wall.

Now, hang the drying rack, lining the cleats up.

Step 11: Improvements

My wife has already determined her mother may want one of these made. The word "jealous" was used.

Next time I would increase the tolerances between the drying rack frame and back frame. Things are a little tight. I had to add an additional board at the back to spread the side boards a little bit.

I would also make sure to hand tighten all pocket screws to avoid wood splitting.

Other than that, I have a happy woman here at home, with a new drying rack in the utility room.

Flat Pack Contest

Second Prize in the
Flat Pack Contest

First Time Author Contest 2016

Participated in the
First Time Author Contest 2016