Flat Pack Wine Rack




About: I'm a structural engineer with a woodworking habit. I try to make things as an artist, but as an engineer sometimes it's hard to take the right angles out of things. So I embrace the precision, this is about...

This wooden wine rack consists of two pieces of wood that interlock to form a cradle for three bottles of wine.

I wanted to see if I could make something that would fit together well, be easy to make, and not be too expensive. If you're short on space, you can dismantle it to store flat.

I used 1/2" birch plywood, but you can use the wood of your choice to customize it however you like. This is an easy build, with just a few cuts, some sanding and a few coats of finish. A little woodburned design or some stencils would also make this look great. There are some people on my gift list that will be getting these as presents this year!

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Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials

First, you'll need to gather some tools and supplies:

- Measuring tape
- Pencil
- Ruler

- Speed square (optional)
- Table saw (or jig saw)
- Hammer
- 1/4" chisel
- Drill
- 3-1/2" hole saw bit
- Router (optional)
- 1/8" radius router bit (optional)
- Wood clamps (2 minimum)
- Palm sander (optional)

- 1/2" plywood, (2) pieces that each measure 12" x 16.5" (I used birch)
- Sandpaper
- Wood stain of your choice
- Rags and foam brush to apply stain

Safety stuff:

- Safety glasses

- Gloves for applying finishes

- Dust mask / mask for applying finishes

Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once

First you'll have to lay out your wood and mark your cuts. The cuts should be laid out according to the attached sketch - there will be a slot on each half where the two parts will intersect, and three holes for the bottles in each part. I've attached a pdf file for the rack with 3 holes so that you can print out a page for reference.

Be sure to mark the slots on the small side - you want the pieces to lock tight. For the 1/2" plywood, I cut slots that were 7/16" wide, then sanded down any high spots. If you cut the slots too wide, when you try to put the pieces together, the two halves will be loose and won't fit together well.

For the circles for each bottle slot, measure in each direction to mark the center of the circle. You won't need to draw the circles, the hole saw will take care of that.

And make sure to measure twice, so that you don't make a mistake before you start cutting.

Step 3: In the Slot

Now that you've laid out your cuts, it's time to get cutting!

I cut the slots in each half first - you'll need 2 identical slots that will mirror each other.

First cut the two long cuts with the table saw, then finish it with a chisel for a neater edge. These edges will get sanded so they don't have to be perfect. Remember to check where your blade cuts - you want a tight fit so that your wine doesn't wobble! Cut both pieces to have a slot.

TABLE SAW NOTE: Make sure not to cut the entire length of the slot that's marked on the top of each board with your table saw. If you do, the blade on the bottom of the board will cut longer into the wood, and you'll see those marks once the rack is put together. Instead, stop short so that your saw blade only cuts to the end of where the slot is supposed to be. You'll have to make a few cuts to verify this length, for me it was about 1.75".

You can also drill some corner holes at the ends of your slots to make the cutting/chiseling easier. I didn't do this, and I regret it - I highly recommend that you do.

Now is a great time for a fit check - try to put the two halves together. Mine were a little tight, but after making a bad cut with a really loose fit, that was ok with me. I used my sander and knocked down the edges to allow the two pieces to slip together, with a little help from a hammer.

Step 4: The Hole Enchilada

Now it's time to cut the holes...

SAFETY FIRST: First, you need to secure your plywood so that it doesn't move when you cut the holes. This may seem trivial for those of you sitting on the couch reading this, but it's very important because the hole bit will dig in and try VERY VERY hard to throw your wood right back at you. So use some clamps to secure your work, you'll avoid some nasty injuries.

After you've secured your wood, line the pilot bit in the hole bit up with the center of the holes, and start cutting. I had a hard time with the cordless drill having enough power to cut through the 1/2" plywood, so for each hole I cut halfway through and then flipped each piece over to finish the hole from the other side. You'll be able to use the pilot hole to center the bit and finish the cut. This can be a pain because you have to keep unclamping and reclamping, but this also helps with avoiding tearout, which will be a pain to cover up later.

Cut all three of the holes in one piece, then switch pieces and cut the other three. Almost there!

Step 5: Router and Sander (Optional)

This is an optional step that you can skip if you don't have these tools, but I highly recommend them both for faster finishing, and a nicer looking product.

First, clamp down your wood. Using your router, cut 1/8" radius edge around the inside of the holes and around the outside edges of your two pieces. You can use a different radius or design instead, the sky is the limit here.

Next, use your sander (or just sandpaper and a scrap block) to finish the edges. Finally, check for any stray pencil marks and erase them - the white eraser on the mechanical pencil works very well to get rid of them.

Step 6: All Together Now

It's time to put the pieces together! Slide one half along the slot into the other. You should have a tight fit, so you may need to use a hammer for help, or sand in a few places. Be sure to use a scrap piece of wood between your hammer and the wine rack parts, so that your finished product doesn't get any marks.

Step 7: The Big Finish

Now it's time to apply a finish - wipe off any dust and apply the finish of your choice. I used tung oil, which you apply with a rag or foam brush and then wipe off any excess after 15 minutes (consult the instructions on your bottle/can to make sure that you apply it correctly.) I like tung oil because it gives the wood a nice shine. So buff the finish, pour a glass of wine and enjoy your new wine rack!

Step 8: See, That Was So EASY!

Now you're ready for a toast! Here's to flat pack!

Total cost:
1/2"x2'x4' birch plywood $19.95 (Yes, you get some scrap, but let's count the whole sheet)
Sandpaper: $0.67 (1 sheet)
Tung oil: $1.00 (estimated)

Grand total: $22.32

This took me about two hours to build, figuring out the steps and taking photos for this Instructable. To make another one, it would take an hour or less. I hope that you enjoyed this Instructable, and make one for yourself!

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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago

    very compact,simple but yet effective, nice work!

    Do check out this flat pack table tennis table:


    1 reply

    3 years ago

    If I drank all of that wine - I'd be flat on my back. cool project

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I didn't think of that - maybe that's the "flat" part! Thanks :)


    3 years ago

    This is a fantastic little project, and an excellent instructable. Very nicely done, all around! :)

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you, I had a great time making it, and I'm hoping to give some as gifts too.


    3 years ago

    Awesome work, this looks so good!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback! :)