Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ballard-Inspired Drying Rack

I adore the Beadboard Drying Racks from Ballard Designs. I do not adore the price.

One (semi-domestic) human couldn't love anything more than those racks.

Or so I thought, until I saw Kate's Ballard-inspired drying rack last year over at Centsational Girl. And then I knew I really couldn't love another thing more than I love her version.

So I asked my grandfather for help building my own drying rack for my laundry room; he was such a sport. (Room is too nice a word; it's more like a laundry closet. A hole, if you will.) You see, I have a long history of making odd requests and asking even stranger questions of my grandfather.

"Can you grow grass in a pot? Or does it need a big yard?"

"We're trying to light a giant Eiffel Tower, but we messed up all the lights. Can you come and just splice this stuff together?"

"Why is it called a male end and a female end?"

So in comparison, asking him to help make a drying rack is pretty normal. Mundane, even.

Not mundane? This drying rack!

I have so little extra space in my apartment that I have to be smart about where I hang things to dry. A pop-up drying rack is great, but sometimes I only need to dry one or two things. That's why this drying rack is perfect for a small load, for delicates, for hand-wash items.

(Forgive these pictures. They were all taken in low-light conditions because I made this rack back in the winter and all inside, so they're a little harsh.)

Kate has a great, great tutorial here. But I'll offer my own humble tutorial too.

What You'll Need
2' x 2' precut wood (1/2 inch thick), larger if you'd like
Two 1/2" by 2" poplar boards
Two 3/8" dowel rods
Sash lock (the kind you use on a window)
Pin hinges (I'd suggest smaller, more narrow ones than I used.)
Tack nails
Drill with 5/8" drill bit
3' small link chain
4 medium eye screw eyes
Three knobs
Wood putty
Wood glue
Paint brushes

Now that's a miter saw. It's old. It's an antique even, and I loved every second of using it. (Except maybe when it had trouble sawing.)

Step 1: Sand the board and round the edges (if you like).

Step 2: Measure and cut at 45-degree angles the 1/2" x 2" boards to fit the 2' x 2' wood. If you want to have the knobs on the bottom, make the vertical sides about four inches shorter than the horizontal sides. With your wood glue, glue the boards together, one corner at a time. Then gently hammer in nails, coming from both directions to secure the frame.

To make placing dowel rods easier, leave one of the vertical sides off until you've put the rods in and are ready to finish the frame.

Step 3: Cut your dowel rods to fit inside your rack frame (about a 1/2" shorter than the width of the frame). From the top of the frame, measure down equal distances for your dowel rods. With a 5/8" drill bit and your drill, prepare holes for the dowel rod. Do not go all the way through the board. Drill in about half way. Then dab a little wood glue on the ends of the dowel rods. Put them into one side of the frame and then the final side, securing in place with glue and nails. You may need a rubber mallet to get the dowel rods into the drilled holes completely.

Step 4: Place the frame on the board and mark holes for hinges. With your screwdriver or drill, prepare pilot holes for the screws. Then screw on the hinges. You could use invisible or narrow hinges so they aren't as noticeable as mine.

Step 5: (Sorry, I don't seem to have pictures for this step.) Screw in your medium eye screw eyes into the sides of the board and the frame. Cut enough linked chain (twice) to allow the drying rack frame to hang down. You can choose the angle. More chain, larger angle.

Step 6: Prime and paint the entire rack. (Cat not an acceptable substitute for paint brushes.) I filled in a few holes in the board with some wood putty and sanded it down before priming. I used a basic white satin paint for the white and Glidden's Butterscotch for the back. (I got a free quart a few months back, and I was pumped to find a project I could use it on.)

To paint mine, I took it apart. (Yes, just after having put it together.) You can leave it together like Kate did, and just cover the back with newspaper in order to paint the rack. Or take them apart, like I did. Either way.

Step 7: When your paint is very dry, you need to attach your sash. Place the sash where it needs to be on top. Mark screw holes with a pen or pencil, and use your drill to make pilot holes. Then screw in the screws to hold the sash in place.

Step 8: Drill holes in the bottom of the board and put in your knobs.

Step 9: In order to hang this (as it is somewhat heavy), I used a French cleat. It's designed to hold very, very heavy loads. Martha Stewart uses them to hang headboards. Plus, I screwed this into the wall's studs, so this little rack can take some weight if I need to hang something heavier on the hooks. (Remember: the dowel rods can only handle so much weight. Keep them for lighter things.)

I also glued felt to the back in order to protect the wall and the drying rack from scratches.

Then I screwed in the other side of the cleat into the studs. Slipped the cleat together, and it's done!

The whole rack was relatively inexpensive. I actually already had the piece of board. The paint was a free sample. My grandmother gave me the porcelain knobs. The French cleat was expensive, in comparison to a wire and D-hooks. It was about $17. But well worth it at least for me.

Total cost: About $25.

Ballard drying rack: $89 + shipping and handling

Doing laundry just got a little sweeter. :)


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ChRiS said...

just think of the memories this will carry with you for many yrs...i actually have teary eyes made me miss my grandpa

Anji* said...

I love your drying rack, thank you for sharing it. I need to make one!

alissa said...

Great project - I love how it turned out!!!

Jami said...

This is awesome!!! I'm forwarding it to MY dad right now!
Thanks for the tutorial!

Centsational Girl said...

Fantastic ! I love your color choice too, what a great memory you've made together and now a perfectly functional piece for your stylish laundry room, fab !


Jill said...

Now, that's just awesome!

Orange it Lovely said...

oh I LOVE IT!!!! Great job.

shannon i olson said...

Great project, love that green!

Amanda@The Hand Me Down House said...

Ingenious! Doesn't it feel great to knock off a pricey find? You guys did a great job! Hopefully it makes laundry "fun" now. :)

Adam and Wendy said...

This is such a great idea! And is that an Auburn sweatshirt your granddad is wearing? :)

~k said...

Hi! I definitely would love to have a drying rack like that!

Thanks for stopping by my blog
To answer your question- I used photoshop to group all of the images and and make the numbers!

Christe said...

I, too, have been lusting over Ballard's drying rack recently. Yours looks fabulous!!!

Kristen @ Miss Prissy Paige said...

I like yours even better! And how special that your gramps got to help. I want one now!

The Cannary's said...

I really love the paint color and how cool that your Grandpa did that for you! I need one of those1 The grandpa, too!

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking said...

Love, Love, Love it! I'd love to make one for my laundry room too. Thanks for the GREAT tutorial... I'm putting you in the SPOTLIGHT at the PoPP on Saturday.

Jessabells said...

I like it and wish I had space for it. I have my washer and dryer down in the dungeon that is my basement.

sydney @ memorable minutes said...

i love this. on my to do list it goes. wish i had all the handy space and tools needed!

FrouFrouBritches said...

That is sooo cute! I wish I had some skills in the carpentry department!

Laura said...

This is awesome! I love the color.

Kaysi said...

That is so awesome, I love it!!

Jerri said...

This looks great! Your grandpa is very handy! And it was so sweet of you to come and help you!

Thanks for stopping by for Friday Favorites!

Centsational Girl said...

Hey Kimberley, I'm featuring your drying rack tomorrow, tune in!


The DIY Show Off said...

Wow! You did an amazing job! I'm featuring it in my highlights! Thanks for sharing your creativity in the DIY Project Parade! :)


Tammy@InStitches said...

Awwwe, your grandpa rocks !

christi @ grey umbrella said...

this is a great tutorial and i love how your drying rack turned out. thanks for posting.

Holly said...

That is totally cool! I've always loved those drying racks too, and yours is a great knock-off. And that's totally awesome that your grandpa can and will do all that for you.


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