Stacking pans, particularly ones with non-stick coatings, can easily damage them. I was running out of space in my kitchen cupboards, so I decided I wanted a hanging pan rack to store some of my pots and pans. Commercially available models were either too expensive or did not meet the tight space requirements above my stove. My kitchen has a vaulted ceiling, limiting the places where I could easily install a rack without blocking the existing cupboards, so I decided to make a trip to the hardware store and see what I could make.
I came up with a pretty simple solution that I installed in about 30 minutes with off-the-shelf parts. It was a bit more expensive than I had envisioned (each piece of hardware quickly adds up), but in the end I have a pan rack that fits perfectly in my space and has a great industrial look.
1 1/2" x 30" galvanized pipe (this pipe is also readily available in black)
2 1/2" 90-degree elbows
2 1/2" x 2" galvanized pipe nipples
2 1/2" galvanized floor flanges
6 standard-thread eye bolts
6 hex coupling nuts
6 standard-thread hook bolts
8 screws and sheetrock anchors (depending on your mounting situation)
Total cost: ~$50
Step 1: Design Your Rack for Your Available Space
Threaded steel pipe comes in a variety of sizes. By using T couplers and elbows, you can come up with any number of shapes and sizes to create the perfect solution to your pan-storing needs.
Come up with a design based on the following considerations:
- How many pans do you want to store on the rack? My rack is 30" wide and holds 6 skillets and sauce pans. About 5" of width on average for each pan is probably a good rule of thumb. Also make sure that once you hang pans on your rack that they do not prevent you from opening up nearby cupboards. (In my case, the two cupboards immediately behind the rack are not very useable, but this is because the person who build the kitchen ran the exhaust fan for the stove in that space.)
- How low should my pans hang down? For example, I am 6' tall, while my girlfriend is 5' 4". I made sure that the pans were low enough for her to reach, but high enough so that I didn't bang my head on them while I was cooking. The ceiling where the rack is mounted is 8' high, for your reference.
- How far from the wall should I mount my rack? Keep in mind that you probably don't want to have large pans touching your wall or cupboards. Make sure that you account for the diameter of your largest pan when it is hanging.
Step 2: Buy Materials
Because this rack requires no special tools, you can more or less build your rack in the store to make sure that it will serve your needs. Make sure that all of the pipe fittings you buy are the same size and will thread together. Also make sure that the eye bolts will fit around the diameter of the pipe. Keep in mind that large home improvement stores usually have a pipe cutting and threading machine, so you don't have to rely on standard lengths for this project.
Many racks use a large "S" hook to hold the pans. I chose to use eye bolts around the pipe so that when I grabbed a pan from the rack, I wouldn't risk the hook coming with it. The only downside is that if I want to add or remove a hook, I need to disassemble the entire rack.
This rack could easily be made out of different types of pipe. I encourage you to look for used or discarded components, which would make this project much cheaper.
Step 3: Install and Enjoy!
Thread your main pipe through the eye bolts and then screw on the elbows, short pieces of pipe, and flanges. Carefully mark where you will attach the rack to the ceiling (you should have figured this out in step 1) and use appropriate mounting hardware to attach it to the ceiling.
I was limited in where I could mount my rack, so I used sheetrock anchors to attach it to the ceiling. (Do not just screw the rack into drywall without using anchors!) 4 sheetrock anchors behind each screw (8 total) has so far held the rack securely. I would recommend attaching it to something structural if possible, but this will depend on your situation.
Once you have the rack mounted, screw on a small nut to the eye bolt and the hook bolt before joining them with the hex coupling nut. The order of hardware should go (from top to bottom): eye bolt - small nut - hex coupling nut - small nut - hook bolt.
Once you tighten these the small nuts will help keep the hooks from spinning and detaching. For added security you could add a locking washer.
You should now be looking at a beautiful custom pan rack. Hang up your pans and enjoy!