Hi interwebular world of crafters!! I come with a few tips and tricks on how to construct your own dish drying rack made from thrifted or simply extra wooden hangers you might have laying around. The entire project took about 4 hours with a few trial/error moments thrown in for good measure. My first and only suggestion to make this better would be to find straight hangers instead of curved suit hangers. This would alleviate the need to cut notches in the tops of the hanger arms and would add an ease-of-build to the project, but, alas, curved hangers work just as well so don't be afraid to follow my lead.
9-10 Wooden Hangers
4 Dowel Rods (deconstructed from hangers)
1 Drill, 1-2 bits
22 screws (countersunk for increased smoothness)
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Step 1: Finding the Right Hangers!
It's crucial that your hangers have wooden dowel rods and that you acquire at least 9-10 hangers (your number depends on how many cup holders you want on your rack). It's a plus to have a few extra in the event that you break some (it's bound to happen unless you're extremely nimble when pulling the metal from the hangers and drilling your holes later on). To prep the hangers you need to carefully extract the dowels from the steel cross-members and set those aside. Then you'll need to grab a vice grip and with the hanger clamped in a vice or table clamp, pull out as much of the steel from the wood as possible. Some may be more of a challenge than others but wiggle and pull and they should all come out relatively easy. You should be left with 9 hangers and 9 dowels. All the metal can be recycled or thrown out and for the final product you only need 4 dowels.
Step 2: Notching the Hangers for the Connecting Dowel Rod.
The next step can be tricky without the right tools but with a jig or table saw it can be done with ease. A small cutting tool on a hand dremel would work as well. Take each hanger and line then up with the centers aligned all facing the same direction. Make markings on each hanger at a point approx 1 inch up from the tip of each hanger arm. Your markings should be slightly wider than the width of the diameter of your dowel rods. Do this on both hanger arms on 5 of the 9 hangers. Once each hanger is marked you can cut a notch about the thickness of your dowel making sure not to cut entirely through the hanger arm leaving enough material for a screw to take hold. Make sure your notches are cut at a 90 degree angle when the hanger is sitting straight up and down on the table. Once all notches are made you are ready to begin assembly.
Step 3: Assembling Your Dish Rack's Base
For assembling the drying rack I used a nice big jar of countersunk screws I acquired from a thrift store. I gathered 3 different sizes/lengths for the project for differing thicknesses of adjoining pieces. I picked drill-bits that were slightly smaller than the diameter of the specific screw to be used for each joining members. I started with one hanger curving outward and set the end of my dowel in the notch I cut out earlier. I drilled directly downward through the dowel and into the hanger. I took my screw and fastened the two pieces making sure to not put so much pressure on the dowel that it cracked. I did this on the other arm of the hanger and then twice more for the hanger on the opposite end of the two dowels. Initially I faced the farthest hangers towards one another and did the same for the next two inner hangers. Quickly I changed my design to have the hangers all facing/curving the same direction so I unfastened my screws and re-did the base to get to the final picture in this step.
Step 4: Adding the Bottom Dish Supports
For this next step I took 1 of my 2 remaining dowels and fastened it to the bottom of the first and last hangers to act as the needed support for smaller plates and dishes. Its important to place these dowels parallel with the 2 main support rods and up the hanger arms just far enough apart to hold the desired dishes but without interfering with the placement of the upside down hangers which act as the cup-drying arms. To find the right spot for the final 2 dowels I took an extra hanger and flipped it. With the arms facing upward I placed it flush inside the end hanger and make a mark directly below where it met the end hanger. I flipped the entire dish rack and drilled holes and screwed in the final 2 dowel rods connecting them to the first and last hangers. Pictured is the final product thus far sitting in the correct orientation.
Step 5: Final Step-connecting the Cup Drying Arms
For the final step I took a few minutes to figure out how I wanted my cup-drying supports to look and function. I decided to place one symmetrically on the end (connected with two screws to one of the end hangers, see 1st picture) and added 3 more on the remaining hangers by drilling/screwing through the upper dowel rods (see 2nd and 3rd pictures).
Step 6: Finish Drying Rack!
Feel free to contact me with any questions and I look forward to seeing your drying racks should you take the plunge! Here are 4 pictures of my finished product. Cheers!