Space-Saving Kitchen Rack — Easy DIY Project

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About: Slovenian-American math and physics student at the University of Ljubljana. I share my projects in the hope they will help you as much as they have helped me. I enjoy DIY projects, cooking, fitness, computer...

If you have free space above your stove and counter area, this tutorial might be useful to you.

The goal is to make use of un-used space above the stove and countertop, clear out cabinets and drawers, and make working in the kitchen more efficient—it is easier to reach for a kitchen utensil right in front of you than rummage through drawers! The project requires minimal tools; all you really is an electric drill and basic hand tools.

The project lends itself to using repurposed materials, cutting down on cost; the entire build cost me $ 5.05. Besides saving on cost, building instead of buying gives you a product custom built to your kitchen's specifications.

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Step 1: The Main Rail

This section explains the main rail on which the pots and pans hang.

Metal plumbing pipe (strong, lightweight, and heat resistant) works perfectly. You should be able to find plumbing pipe at a home improvement or building materials store, or even repurposed from a construction site.

Notes on Measurements

Measure the ideal length you want to custom-fit your stove and counter area.

A diameter in the range 5/8 to 3/4 inches works best. I used an outside diameter of 1.75 cm (11/16 in) and a length of 185 cm (6 ft 1 in).

Preparing the Pipe

If necessary, use a hacksaw or grinder to cut your pipe to length.

If your pipe is stainless steel, zinc-coated, or otherwise treated against corrosion, it is ready to use. Pipe you buy in a home-improvement store will likely corrosion free.

If your pipe is iron like mine (unlikely), it is at risk of rusting. You will need to sand off any rust (sandpaper or electric sander) and paint it to prevent future corrosion.

Explanation of Pictures

  1. Shows the pipe's dimensions
  2. The raw iron pipe (notice the rust)
  3. The pipe after sanding off rust (compare to 2)
  4. The pipe after painting with brown paint I had on hand

Step 2: Supporting the Main Rail Part 1

Please note that there are countless ways you could support the main rail, and mine is by no means the best. The method you use depends on the type of pipe clamps you find, since every clamp mounts differently. I outline my process in the next two steps. If it works for you great, if you have another method, also great—I would love to hear what you figured out!

Pipe Clamps

I supported the main rail with 3 pipe clamps attached to the overhanging cabinets by bolts. The mounted pipe clamps are shown in picture 1; the pipe then slides right in. The same store where you bought the pipe should also carry pipe clamps that fit your pipe; don't be afraid to ask! You should use at least 2 clamps, 3 is good for a longer pipe.

Bolt Length

The bolt you use should be long enough so that, once screwed into the pipe clamp, the leftover length matches the width of the cabinet board. See picture 2 and the annotations for a visual explanation. In the likely event you cannot find a bolt of the right length, use a slightly longer bolt instead of a slightly shorter one and fill the extra space with washers.

Step 3: Supporting the Main Rail Part 2

This section continues the explanation of my method of supporting the main rail. If you're using another method, feel free to skip to the next step.

For each of your 2-3 pipe clamps, drill a hole through the overhanging cabinet board to hold the supporting bolt (picture 1).

Location of the Holes

  • You probably want your pans out of the way, right up against the back wall. Plan the location of your holes accordingly. Mine are roughly 3 cm (1 1/8 in) from the wall.
  • Tip: make sure your hole is far enough from the wall that you are able to turn your pipe clamp through a full revolution without hitting the wall, so that you'll be able to easily screw your clamps on later.

  • If you are using 3+ clamps, the holes must all be in one straight line for the pipe to fit in. To easily ensure a straight line, just drill every hole the same distance from the backing wall.

Drilling the Holes

  • Do your very best to make the holes as vertical as possible (e.g. they should not be slanted)
  • Make the hole just slightly smaller than the outside diameter of your bolt, ensuring a solid fit that won't wobble or jiggle. The threads on the bolt will catch on the wood and pull the bolt into the extra space like a screw.
  • I highly encourage you to drill a few practice holes in piece of scrap wood to find the right hole diameter. The hole should be small enough so that the bolt fits snugly without wobbling, but large enough that you can screw the bolt in.

Screwing the Bolts and Attaching the Rail

Once the holes are drilled, use a wrench to screw the bolts in (picture 3). There should be just enough bolt sticking out of the bottom (picture 4) to snugly screw on the pipe clamps (picture 5). Slide the pipe in through the attached pipe clamps, and finally tighten the clamps to hold the pipe snugly in place (picture 1).

Step 4: Add S-Hooks

Congratulations, the hard part is done! You just have to add S-hooks to hang your pots, pans, and kitchen utensils. You can either buy them at a hardware or home improvement store or make them yourself. DIY S-hooks are easily doable, economical, and allow you to make custom sizes. I made mine with a home-made jig and repurposed metal from 3 old wire clothes hangers. A tutorial on making S-hooks is beyond the scope of this instructable; I link you to user brbaldwin's excellent instructable or this great video for a detailed explanation on DIY S-hooks.

Hang up your pots, pans, and kitchen utensils, and enjoy!

Note: if your hooks cannot fit over the top of your pipe, then, before sliding the pipe into the pipe clamps, slide the hooks onto the pipe from the side, then slide the pipe into the pipe clamps.

Step 5: PS — Tool List and Breakdown of $5 Materials Cost

Materials

  1. 185 cm long 1.75 cm diameter rusted iron plumbing pipe (€ 1.12)
  2. 3 pipe clamps (€ 1.00 each, total € 4.12)
  3. 3 2.5 cm long 7.5 mm diameter bolts (€ 0.12 each, total € 4.48)
  4. Extra paint sitting around in the attic (free)
  5. 3 old repurposed wire hangers for S-hooks (free)
  6. Total: € 4.48 or $ 5.05

Tools

  1. Electric drill and drill bits
  2. Wrench with hex head
  3. 120 and 240 grit sandpaper (potentially not necessary)
  4. Hacksaw (potentially not necessary)
  5. Paintbrush (potentially not necessary)

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    5 Discussions

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    jeanniel1

    26 days ago

    Brilliant! Right now my pots and pans are either taking up a LOT of room in a deep drawer, or they are stacked face down on a rolling cart. Lids are the biggest problem in storing, too, as the handles / knobs are in the middle of the lid, and can't be hooked. I'll bet this is way less expensive than the ones being sold at Williams and Sonoma, Sur la Table, etc.!

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    ejmastnakjeanniel1

    Reply 24 days ago

    Thanks jeanniel1! I completely relate to you regarding the lids—they are a pain to store for me as well. I might also do a lid organizing project in the coming months now that the pots and pans are taken care of—stay tuned!

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    jeanniel1ejmastnak

    Reply 24 days ago

    OMG - you would be a kitchen Angel if you get a way to get the lids sorted out!!!

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    OutofPatience

    4 weeks ago

    Nice idea...my pots and pans currently hang on a wall mounted board, and your version could be space saving. I'd not seen foam lined pipe clamps like this before, so this is an innovation for me...thanks for posting!

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    ejmastnakOutofPatience

    Reply 27 days ago

    Thanks for your kind words and glad you checked out the project! The foam-lined pipe clamps are great