Make a DIY Laundry Rack + Shelf

Did you know that you’re supposed to wash your bras every three to six wearings? It makes sense, since they go right against your skin, and sorry guys, boob sweat exists. But I don’t think I’m alone in grossness (at least I hope not!), when I admit that I definitely don’t wash mine that often. I’m pretty dubious that anyone does, unless they have a maid doing it for them. Do you?

Part of the problem is that you’re not supposed to throw them in the washer. So I always hand-wash mine (they do last way longer that way). But that requires trekking them down to our basement laundry room to dry them on our laundry rack down there, and then remembering to fetch them before the next time I need to wear them. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s one small obstacle keeping me from washing them more often, so I thought I’d remove it by making myself a bathroom DIY laundry rack.

Make a DIY laundry rack with shelf. This combination drying rack and shelf gives you a bit of extra storage with your drying space.

My bathroom happens to have the perfect spot for this rack, right above the bathtub that doesn’t have a showerhead or sprayer of any type, just a tap. Since we can’t take showers in it, we never use it, making it an ideal location for drip-drying my delicates. But I know that most people don’t have an unused bathtub, so you can definitely put this above a utility sink in a laundry room. Which is probably what I’ll do when we get around to remodeling our bathroom someday. And then I’ll store more practical things on the shelf, like my artisanal laundry powder that I decanted into a hand-blown glass jar, and my framed, illustrated stain chart.  (If the sarcasm isn’t coming through, my real laundry room is nothing like that.)
Make a DIY laundry rack with shelf. This combination drying rack and shelf gives you a bit of extra storage with your drying space.

This DIY laundry rack also works well for drying other delicates, like knit sweaters. And can we talk about silk items that say dry-clean only on the tag? I totally ignore that, and wash those by hand, so I’ll be drying those here, too.
Make a DIY laundry rack with shelf. This combination drying rack and shelf gives you a bit of extra storage with your drying space.

This is one of the most complicated wood projects I’ve ever done, and while I could have just followed someone else’s instructions for how to make a DIY laundry rack, I had to go and add a shelf. But I’m really happy with how it turned out, and now I have no excuses for not washing my bras more often. So here’s how I made my laundry drying rack.

Make a DIY laundry rack with shelf. This combination drying rack and shelf gives you a bit of extra storage with your drying space.

DIY Laundry Rack + Shelf

Materials

24″ by 36″ 1/2″-thick plywood, cut to 24″ by 28 1/2″ final size
Two 48″ 1/2″-diameter wood dowels, cut into four 19 3/4″ pieces
Two 48″ 1″x2″ boards, cut into two 22″-long pieces, and two 23 3/4″-long pieces
28″ long 1×6″ board
Wood glue
Wood screws – Two 3/4″-long screws and four 2 1/2″-long screws, plus two additional for screwing into the wall
Two wood corbels
Chain
Four screw eyes/eyehooks
Four 3/4″ diameter disc magnets
2″ narrow utility hinges
Wood filler (optional)
DIY laundry rackAs you can see from this photo, I was originally going to use lid support hinges. I didn’t end up using them, mainly because I wanted to use silver hardware, and I could only find the hinges in gold/brass. Also you can see that my 1×6 board for the shelf was pre-primed.

Tools

Miter saw/chop saw
Measuring tape
Electric drill/screwdriver
Drill bits
1/2″ Forstner drill bit (I used this set)
3/4″ Forstner drill bit
Rotary sander, or hand sanding block
Sandpaper
Clamps
Nail set (optional)
Countersink bits (optional)
Carpenters square (optional)
Pliers (if you use the chain)
Jigsaw (for cutting the plywood)
Jigsaw plywood blade

Steps

1. First, cut your wood. Here’s my cut list: 24″ by 28 1/2″ plywood backer board , two 23 3/4″ and two 22″ pieces of 1″x2″ boards for the rack frame, four pieces of 19 3/4″ dowel, and a 28″ piece of 1×6 board for the shelf.
If you buy your plywood at a big hardware store, you can have it cut to size, but if not, you’ll have to cut it yourself with a jigsaw. If you’re cutting plywood with a jigsaw, to help prevent chipping, cut with the good side up, and use a sharp new plywood jigsaw blade.
2. Measure and drill the holes for the rack frame on the narrowest face of the 23 3/4″ pieces of wood. Evenly space the holes at 4 3/4″ inches apart. It helps to clamp down the wood, drill small pilot holes first, then drill the larger holes with a 1/2″ diameter Forstner bit, about 1/2″ deep. Mark the depth on the bit with masking tape.

DIY laundry rack
3. Fit the dowels into the holes, and put the rack together. Check to make sure the corners are square. If it doesn’t fit together right, selectively drill dowel holes deeper to even things up.

DIY laundry rack
4. Lay the rack flat and clamp down the boards where the corners meet. Drill a pilot hole, then screw the boards together with 2 1/2″-long wood screws. Repeat on all four corners. For extra credit, use a countersink drill bit to drill the holes, then hide the screwheads with wood filler. Sand the filler after it’s dry.

DIY laundry rack
5. On the top corners of the plywood, measure the locations for the screws for the wood corbels. Drill pilot holes, then add 3/4″-long screws.

DIY laundry rack
6. If you’re planning on painting the rack, before you assemble everything is a good time to at least prime. I actually did a coat with paint, too, but ended up having to do another one after I assembled it because it’s tricky to prop the pieces up for painting otherwise. Sand every surface, wipe down, then paint with primer.  Let everything dry.
7. Lay the rack flat on the plywood. Center it relative to the long edges. On the bottom edge, position the hinges 5″ from each side, and 1/8″ from the bottom. Drill pilot holes in the plywood and frame, then attach with screws. (I attached the hinges and shelf for this photo, then took them off again for painting.)

DIY laundry rack

DIY laundry rack
8. Add screw eyes to the plywood 9″ from the top edge. Add screw eyes to the side of the frame at the same level. Use pliers to open links in the chain, and attach 22 inches of chain to the eye hooks on each side of the rack. Close the links back up with the pliers.

DIY laundry rack

9. One way to fasten the rack so it stays up is to use magnets, two on the rack itself and two on the plywood. Drill a 3/4″ hole for each magnet, carefully lining them up. Put wood glue in the bottom of the hole, add the magnet, and clamp in place. Make sure the magnets are facing the correct direction so that they attract, not repel one another! Let the glue dry, and then paint over them, if you want.
10. Put the wood corbels on the screws, then place the shelf on top. If you want to secure it to the corbels, drill a small hole through the top of the shelf into the corbels, then nail the shelf down. Hide the nails with a nail set, wood filler, and paint.
11. Remove the wood corbels and shelf for hanging. I attached the rack to the wall using screws that I aligned under where the wood corbels would go. This didn’t correspond with wall studs (I couldn’t find mine anyway), so I used drywall anchors. The top screws are for attaching the corbels, and the bottom ones go into the wall.

DIY laundry rack with shelf. This combination drying rack and shelf gives you a bit of extra storage with your drying space.
12. Slide the wood corbels (and attached shelf) onto the screws.
Make a DIY laundry rack with shelf. This combination drying rack and shelf gives you a bit of extra storage with your drying space.

2 thoughts on “Make a DIY Laundry Rack + Shelf

  1. Pat Schwab says:

    Rachel, This is fantastic. I wish I had wall space for it. Our basement doesn’t have regular walls and my husband will not drill into the walls. I wonder if he could hang it from the ceiling? How much do you think it cost you to build this? Thanks, Pat S

    • Pat, thank you! Hmm, that does sound like a tricky situation for hanging. I’m sure you could figure out a way to ceiling mount it, without the shelf though.

      I already had the plywood and shelf wood leftover from other projects, but if you had to buy that, I think this would cost about $35, more if you had to buy screws. I’ve seen other people say that they made similar ones for $25 to $45, so that sounds about right.

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