My laundry room is actually a closet. I have a really small space, an awkward space, and I needed a laundry drying rack. I also had this beautiful Eastlake mirror frame sitting around and decided to build a DIY laundry rack. The best part is this was a really easy DIY project. Let me tell you how I made my own DIY wall-mounted laundry drying rack.
11 Reasons Why You Need a Wall-Mounted Laundry Drying Rack
There were several reasons a DIY clothes drying rack was the perfect solution for my problems.
- Space Saver. They don't take up much space at all and it's wall space. My laundry room is a closet and so there is very little space. Barely enough space for even my clothes dryer and washing machine, let alone anything else. But I do have wall space next to my laundry closet.
- Good for the Environment. By using the dryer less you emit fewer emissions.
- Lower Electric Bill. Saves on electricity because it requires none!
- Can Be Used in Any Season. Because they're indoors you can use them year-round.
- Better For Clothing. They prolong clothing life.
- Some Clothes Shouldn't Be Put in the Dryer. Occasionally you have wet clothes that you need to be dry clothes like delicate clothing that needs to be air-dried.
- Increase Humidity in Your Home. Great for the dry winters. Especially when they're close to an air vent. And mine happens to be right over one!
- Prevents Fire Risk. Since you're using the dryer less which equals less chance of dryer lint build-up.
- Needs No Extra Floor Space. My laundry closet is also in my very narrow hallway, which means there's no space next to my laundry area to put a floor rack.
- DIY is Typically Low Cost to Purchasing. I'm always working on a tight budget. I wasn't looking to spend hundreds for the beautiful aesthetically pleasing dry racks I was dreaming of like this $300 Trenton Laundry Drying Rack from Pottery Barn.
- Repurposing Made it an Easy Project. Besides the logistics of figuring out how to build something bespoke, it was actually really cut and dried. And kept the cost extremely low.
Why Build your own Wall-Mounted Laundry Drying Rack?
I mentioned the budget reasons, but there are a few other great reasons to build your own.
- Repurposing allowed me to use something I already loved and owned and give it a reason to continue living in my home. There are only so many mirrors or mirror frames you need on your walls.
- Being able to use my creativity by designing my own version was enjoyable. And allowed me to also build on my power tool skills.
- The Versatility of this particular design allows me to take it with me when we move. Which is great because I love it and would hate to part with it.
- Functional Piece of Furniture. It is my aesthetic as I love the victorian era as well as a functional piece of home decor. If you're interested in more functional decor ideas read this post 15 Functional Decor Ideas for Your Home.
- 11 Reasons Why You Need a Wall-Mounted Laundry Drying Rack
- Tools & Supplies to Build a DIY Drying Rack
- Step One - Designing the Wall-Mounted Laundry Drying Rack Frame
- Step Two - Finalizing Your Cut List & Making Cuts
- Step Three - Building the Inner Frame
- Step Four - Connecting the Inner Frame to the Outer Frame
- Step Five - Installing the Suspension System
- Step Six - Hanging the Wall-Mounted Laundry Drying Rack on the Wall
Tools & Supplies to Build a DIY Drying Rack
The supplies and tools you need may vary depending on how you design your drying rack frame. But I will list the tools & supplies I used to create my own.
- Spray Paint (I chose white)
- Wood Putty
- 2 ½" Pocket Hole Screws
- 8 - ¾ in. x 48 in. Hardwood Full Round Wooden Dowels
- 2 - Large Steel D-Ring Hangers
- 3 - Small ReadyScrew D-Ring Hanger
- 2 - 4-¾ in. x 5/32 in. Zinc-Plated Turnbuckle Hook/Eye
- 3/16 in. x 50 ft. Polyester Braided Outdoor Clothesline
- Drywall Anchors
- ¼-in x 20 Zinc-plated Steel Wood Insert Nut
- 2 - ¼-in x 2-½-in Zinc-Plated Coarse Thread Hex Bolt or Joint Connector Bolt, ¼-20 x 1.57-Inch,10
- 120 Grit Sanding Discs or Sponge
- 1 - 2x2x8 Pine Lumber
- 2 ½" Brad Nails
- ¾" Forstner Bit or ¾" Drill Bit
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig & Clamp
- ¼-in x 1-⅞-in Hex Nut Driver
- Impact Driver
- Measuring Tape & Pencil
- Miter Saw or Jigsaw
- Orbital Sander
- Stud Finder
- Brad Nailer
- Small Level
If you're loving this project don't forget to check out my full Small Laundry Closet Refresh (Budget-Friendly) for the complete look (sans doors that haven't been built yet).
Step One - Designing the Wall-Mounted Laundry Drying Rack Frame
For this step, you'll need a measuring tape, a piece of paper, a ruler, and a pencil.
Before you cut into anything you need to do a little bit of planning.
01 Choose an Outer Frame
I had already gotten my heart set on repurposing the Eastlake Mirror frame that was a leftover piece from a dresser I had purchased. The dresser was purchased to repurpose into a bathroom vanity, but the mirror frame was too large for the space.
02 Decide on a Location
Putting it in the laundry closet was already ruled out. Due to space and the new laundry room (closet) design, I'd already decided on and built which gave me the ultimate amount of easy storage.
I had an empty piece of wall next to the laundry closet that seemed the perfect spot.
03 Measure the Space Out
Once I'd chosen the outer frame I knew my measurement for the total space. Then I had to measure the inside of the frame for the cuts. Then draw out my design.
I chose to use a 2x2x8 common lumber, which is the least expensive option. Also, I did choose to rip the rounded edges off this wood to give it a more premium appearance. Go read How to Make Cheap Wood Look Pretty to learn how I do this.
To ensure the inner frame would swing freely I made it slightly smaller than the measurement of the inside of the frame itself. And I knew it would get even looser with sanding.
04 Make a Rough Draft Drawing Design
My final design had a "u" shape made out of 2x2s (cut down to 1 ½"). I also ripped the boards down to be the same depth as the Eastlake Mirror Frame. I didn't want it sticking out or inset, but flush.
So, a 2x2 on the top with a 2x2 on either side. The frame would end with a ¾" dowel and have dowels inside the "u".
Step Two - Finalizing Your Cut List & Making Cuts
For this step, you'll need a measuring tape, pencil, a piece of paper, and a calculator.
You want to measure twice and cut once. Also, take into account the wood thickness when finalizing your design and ensure you have exact measurements.
Measuring the "U" Part of the Frame
My total inner measurement was 33 ¾" x 27 ½". Which meant my total height and width for the inner frame could not go beyond that. Also, I learned after some trial and error to swing open it needed to be smaller.
My total inner frame ended up being 33 ½" x 26 ¾". And the top 2x2 ended up rounding off so it swung freely without scraping the top of the outer frame.
The Two Side Boards
The 2 side 2x2s were 26 ¾" and rounded at the bottom.
The Top Board
The measurement ended up being 33 ½". The top board sat on the top of the two side boards.
I wanted my dowels to be inset on either side at least ½". So this would add 1" total to the dowels. For me, the measurement was 31" + 1" inset. This means my dowels all needed to be cut to 32" length.
Step Three - Building the Inner Frame
For this step, you'll need a pocket hole jig, pocket hole screws, or 2 ½" brad nails, brad nail gun, wooden glue, impact driver, ¾" Forstner bit, Masking Tape, Carpenter Square, Measuring Tape, Pencil, your drawn-out design, Orbital Sander, 120 grit disc or block, and clamps* optional.
Sidenote: Mistakes Are A Part of the Process
Don't be discouraged if you cut your boards to create your wall-mounted laundry drying rack and they need adjusting later on in the process. Professionals that know the correct math and measurements may get these done first. However, building something bespoke really is an art and it takes time and experience to know exactly how something is to work.
So, if you've never built one before it's a complete learning experience.
01 Drill the Holes for the Dowels
- First, mark off the space where your 2x2 will be connected to the top.
- Then measure out the rest of the length of the board.
- Last, decide your spacing and how many dowel rungs you want. Divide the total space by the number of dowels. I chose to make my inner frame bottom a dowel instead of a 2x2, so I had 8 total.
- Mark each spot, then draw a center line all the way through as a place setting for your drill bit.
- You will use these lines as a template for your second corresponding board for the other side. Therefore go ahead and mark both boards.
- Use a piece of tape to mark the tip of your drill bit to ensure even ½" depths throughout all the holes.
02 Sand All Your Pieces
Go ahead and give all your pieces a good sanding with either an orbital sander and a 120 grit disc or a 120 grit sanding block before you begin. All the dowels, the sides, and the top piece.
I chose to make my holes first so that I could sand off all the pencil marks and any wood splinters made from drilling.
03 Installing the Dowels
- To properly install the wooden dowels you will need to have both boards mirror-imaged from each other.
- Place one board down, holes facing up.
- Then place a small bit of wood glue into each hole on one of the side boards.
- Insert your dowels into the holes and push them down.
- Drop a bit of glue on the top of each dowel.
- Place the mirror-imaged board on top and line the dowels into the holes. Apply Pressure.
- Tap one 2 ½" brad nail into each dowel.
- Carefully turn the whole thing over and tap one 2 ½" brad nail into each dowel on the other side.
04 Connecting the Top to the Sides
- Drill pocket holes to the top of the side boards. Alternatively, you could simply connect using a brad nailer and 2 ½" brad nails. (This is the method I ended up using for reasons you'll find out in the next step).
- Connect the top board to the side boards with wood glue and pocket hole screws or Brad Nailer and 2 ½" Brad Nails.
- Let the glue set before moving forward.
05 Painting the Inner Frame
Before moving forward get out your white spray paint and give it 1 or 2 coats of paint. Let it dry fully between coats and afterward.
Step Four - Connecting the Inner Frame to the Outer Frame
You may choose to simply go the easy route and use hinges. But I could not because I was trying to keep the antique Eastlake frame as unmarred as possible. Installing hinges on the front of this beautiful frame would not keep its carvings' integrity.
Because of this, I chose to go a bit more difficult pathway.
01 Drilling Pilot Holes for the Insert Nut & Hex Bolt
- I measured and marked on both sides 9 ½" from the top and center of the board width, which was ¾".
- Then I used a ¼" drill bit and drilled a hole straight through either side of my frame where I would install the top of the inner frame.
- Then drilled corresponding holes in the top of each side of the inner frame.
02 Installing the Insert Nut & Hex Bolt or Joint Connector Bolt
- At this point, I installed the Insert Nut on either side, all the way in.
- And then I was able to thread the Hex Bolt through the outside of the outer frame all the way into the inner frame Insert Nut. Alternatively, you could use a Joint Connector Bolt. I couldn't find any in-store, but I wish I had been able to because I was looking!
Your bolts and insert nuts may require adjustment, mine did, but after a bit of working it, I got them to fit perfectly. You have to install the inner frame perfectly center for it to swing smoothly.
Step Five - Installing the Suspension System
For this step, you'll need 3 Small D Ring Picture Hangers, 2 Turnbuckle Hook/Eyes, and Cotton Sash Cording.
The D Rings, Turnbuckle Hook/Eye, and Cotton Sash Cording
I'm sure there are alternative ways to make this work, but this was how my brain figured it out. If you find an alternative way to put this together I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
01 Installing the D Rings
- On the inside of either side board, above the last dowel install one small D Ring.
- Then measure the back of your outer frame and find the center.
- Mark center and install the 3rd D Ring close to the top of the frame on the back. (shown below)
02 Installing the Cotton Sash Cording
- From there measure diagonally with your cotton sash cording from one D Ring at the bottom of the frame to the D Ring at the top of the frame. Double that plus 6" for extra knotting rope.
- Fold the rope in half and slip it through the D Ring. Pull the rope through in a larks head knot.
03 Installing the Turnbuckle Hook/Eye
- Take one end of the rope and thread it through the eye side of the turnbuckle.
- Then I did a quick sailor's knot with two half hitches.
- I pulled it taut.
- Repeat the steps with the second turnbuckle and the other side of the rope.
- Ensure both ropes hang evenly in the center. Or adjust them until they do.
- Then lift the whole laundry dry rack up and hook the Turnbuckles hooks to the D Rings and test them out.
- Cut off any excess rope. (If you were to use nylon cording you could burn the ends to keep them from fraying.)
Step Six - Hanging the Wall-Mounted Laundry Drying Rack on the Wall
For this step, you'll need your Stud Finder, Drywall Anchors* optional, Drill, 2 Large D Ring Hangers, Measuring Tape, and Pencil.
The first step you'll want to take is to look for any and all studs in the wall where you've chosen to hang your wall-mounting dry rack.
There were no studs in the center of this portion of my wall therefore I had to use drywall anchors.
Decide How High to Install the Laundry Drying Rack
Things I considered when choosing how high to install mine:
- It must be high enough so that when the rack is open people can still walk under it.
- I was installing a flip-up laundry folding table top below it, so I had to consider the proper height for that first. This was installed at a counter height which is 36".
The Final Installation
- Once you decide on the height for the wall-mounted laundry drying rack use a pencil to mark the height on the wall for one side.
- At this point, install one drywall anchor and screw.
- Measure about 4-6" inset on either side (This will vary depending on the size of your frame).
- Then install both Large D Rings on the back of the frame so that the weight is evenly distributed to both.
- Pick up the frame and use the single screw in the wall to hold it steady. While holding it up, use a level in the center of the frame and made a mark for the second drywall anchor on the wall.
- Install the second drywall anchor and screw.
- Hang the wall-mounted laundry drying rack and you're finished!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you feel inspired to repurpose something you love dearly or build something entirely new of your own design! It can sound complicated, but I promise you it's not. This project is still today one of the absolute favorites I've ever done.