I made my first rack to help me keep the commercial yarn skein(s) I am working with from giving me a headache detangling skein centers while finding the inside ends. Finding outside ends are not as much of a headache. This rack is designed to hold up to 5 regular skeins of yarn or 3 skeins of 1 pound yarn. How to show you (the person reading this) how to build your own yarn rack for yourself or as gifts for those you know who use yarn to knit or crochet.

Step 1: Tools:

Drill with bits for drilling pilot holes and holes to hold the dowels (1/16 inch bigger than your dowels should work) on the rack (you will also need a bit that drills a snug hole for dowel caps) and a tiny bit to drill holes into the edges of the paints sticks

Screwdriver that fits the screws you are using. (WARNING: Don’t use an impact driving or drill with brass or steel wood screws you can end up striping the heads making it hard to screw them in all the way)

Fine toothed saw for cutting dowels (pruning shears may work for smaller dowels too)

Cross cut saw (in case you can’t get by the foot wood for the base.)


Rulers both foot and yard stick will be less of a headache than a tape measure for this job.

60 grit sandpaper with either a sanding block or sander

Step 2: Supplies:

2 Home Depot paint sticks (the long ones but you can get away with 2 23 inch peices of 1 ½ inch wide lath)

15 inches of 1 by 8 or wider wood for base (I built 1 rack using a stair tread that came off a park gazebo)

30 inches of 1 ¼ inch round stock (find it in with trims) or a good thick dowel or a wood mop/broom handle for the handle and dowel caps

3 good straight 3/16 inch thick dowels 36-48 inch long

6 #6 2 inch long wood screws

2 screw in L hooks

Wood glue

Desired wood finish (stain, tung oil, polyurethane or paint what ever tickles your fancy)

Step 3: Paint Sticks

Use pencil and yardstick to draw a line through the center of the print side of 1 paint stick then hold the bottom of the paint stick against the base and draw a line where the paint stick meets the top of the base. From the first line measure and mark along the center line 3 1/8 inches 5 times and once on either side of the center line under the base line and along the center line that will be the middle of the handle. Stack both paint sticks together. Use the drill bit for drilling pilot holes at all the marks on stacked paint sticks. Use the drill bit for drilling dowel holes at the 5 marks on stacked paint sticks leaving pilot holes at top and bottom of paint sticks.

Step 4: Base

Mark the center of the base’s short edges then holding the marked paint stick lining the center lines up then use pilot drill bit and drill to drill pilot holes on the ends through the already drilled pilot holes on the paint stick. Sand markings and print off both paint sticks and base. Put a dab of glue on the base then line up pilot holes on paint stick with the base and screw into place. Repeat for the other side.

Step 5: Dowel Caps and Dowels

You will need these to keep the dowels holding yarn from falling off the rack. (I am telling you to drill and cut the caps before you cut the handle to make it easier to keep your hand away from where you are cutting)

Before cutting handle to length make 10 dowel caps but first using the snug drill bit to drill a hole as far as it will go then cut 1 inch pieces until you are close to running out of hole then drill further down into the handle wood until you have 10 caps. (If you have access to a chop saw I’d set up a stop block with a scrap of wood and make my cuts using the chop saw just keep an eye on the hole in your handle piece) Sand each of the caps smooth and glue a cap to one end of each dowel leaving the other caps to be popped on after you put it in place after you cut it to length.

Step 6: Handle

Cut the rest of the handle rod to the length of the rack base drill a pilot hole in each end, add a dab of glue then screw it into place.

Step 7: Finishing/ Painting

You will want to do this before you ad the hook just make sure you don't clog up the dowel holes with paint or polyurethane but you don't really have to do it at all if you don't feel like it.

Step 8: Hooks

Use the smallest bit to drill a hole in the edge of the paint stick where you want to put in each hook. Then twist in a hook.

Hand Tools Only Contest 2017

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2017