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.)
Drill with 5/8" drill bit
3' small link chain
4 medium eye screw eyes
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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