Saturday, March 12, 2016

Weekend DIY: Build an Easy Coat Rack

Kids are messy.
And when you walk in the door after a long day with sleepy, bumbling, crying toddlers who only want to race over to their toys and continue playing, well...the mess becomes a living thing that grows like a fungus all around you. My kids don't care one bit about removing their coats, hats and shoes, and then neatly placing them on their appropriately marked cubby holes. They're immune to the mountain of outdoor gear rising in the corner like Kilimanjaro.

Which is why I decided to spruce up the front entrance of my house by building an easy coat rack! It's time to put an end to the madness.

48in long wood beam (2.5in wide x about 3/4in thick)
6 hooks with screws
rough grit sandpaper & fine grit sandpaper
a rag
paint, wood stain, or clear polyurethane & a dropcloth
4 screws 2in long (at least twice the thickness of the wood)
handheld screwdriver
power drill
measuring tape

Step #1: Prepare
Visit your local hardware store and purchase what supplies you don't already have at home. Strosniders sells wood beams and 3/4in trim strips for around $5. Since it was 8ft long, I asked them to cut it in half, which they were happy to do. Also purchase around 6 hooks of your choice. Cabinet knobs work great too. (I used some antique copper hooks previously purchased from Target.)

Step #2: Sand
Go outside and put on an apron or wear bummy clothes for this step. Sawdust blows around like baking flour and sticks to everything! Wear a mask and goggles too. Using rough grit sandpaper, rub all over the wood...mostly on the prettiest side, which will be the 'front'. Get those edges nice and smooth. Splinters hurt! Take your time and make sure to blunt the corners of the beam. Remove any stickers or staples. Go over it again with a finer grit sandpaper and then remove all the dust with a rag.

*If you wanted to add some color to your coat rack, now is the time to lay down a dropc loth
and apply a coat of paint, polyurethane or wood stain to the front and side edges. I like the unfinished look of my project, so I'm keeping mine bare.

Step #3: Measure
(Once your paint/stain has dried completely) using a measuring tape or ruler, space your hooks evenly across the beam. Mine are spaced 7 inches apart. Using a little 4th grade math, I calculated the entire length of the coat rack was 48in...divide by 6 hooks = 8. Since the thickness of each hook is around 3/4 of an inch, I placed one hook on the beam every 7 inches and it worked out pretty well. You could also measure by eye.

Using a pencil, mark the wood at 7in intervals. Then mark it again 1/2in from the top so the hooks will line up evenly with one another. If you are using round knobs, center them instead of following the 1/2in rule. Mark where all the screw holes are.

On the left, right edges, and center, mark where your installation screws will be. Space them evenly apart, equidistant from the edge, about 1/2in.

Step #4: Drill
This is the fun part. I love tools, especially power tools. When I moved into my first home 3 years ago, I ran out and bought a drill kit to celebrate! Put back on your goggles and drill all the pre-marked screw holes using a narrow bit, about 3/32in. Use a handheld screwdriver to attach all the hooks to your beam.

Step #5: Install
Find the spot in your home where you would like to hang your coat rack. Place it at the desired height on your wall, center it if necessary, and mark that point with a pencil. Set your coat rack aside for the moment.

If you don't have a level, measure from the floor upwards to your pencil mark. Note that measurement. Mine was 66in, so I drew two spots on the wall 66in high. Connecting those lines with your tape measure, draw a line between them. Now your coat rack should hang nice and straight. Be sure to drill your screws directly into the wall stud, or use wall anchors if you are drilling into gypsum. This may be a two person job. It never hurts to have a helper hold the rack in place while you drill. And voila! Stand back to admire your brand new, 100% handmade coat rack!


  1. Ah the classic coat rack! Actually I recommend taking this type of approach when mounting anything where there are multiple items to fix to the wall, especially if you have hollow walls - we all know how much of a pain they can be! So for things like a row of guitar wall hangers, or even racks for skis and fishing rods in a garage, this is the right approach to take.

  2. Awesome! Thanks so much :)
    Especially for load bearing projects like this one, you really need to find the vertical wall stud or securely anchor your screws into the wall, for safety and durability.


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