DIY: Laundry Room Drying Rack

July 27, 2009

For a long time, I have really wanted one of those drying racks from Ballard Designs.   You’ve seen them.  They’re so perfect in the laundry room for drying your delicate clothing.


I really wanted to save the money and build one myself.  I knew I could do it with the right supplies.  I even drew my own diagram on a napkin.  And I added knobs to the bottom of my design.

Here’s a look at the final result:

 diy laundry room drying rack

This is the perfect solution for drying all of my delicates!  I am so happy with the way it turned out – it is both pretty and practical.

How to Build a Laundry Room Drying Rack + Supplies:

  1. 2 x 2’ precut birch (1/2 inch thick)
  2. Two 1/2 x 2” poplar boards
  3. Two 3/8” dowel rods (48” long)
  4. Sash lock
  5. Narrow loose pin hinges (set of two)
  6. D ring hangers for mounting on wall
  7. Bracketed hinge for side (or chain with small screw eyes)
  8. Three white porcelain knobs
  9. Primer and paint of choice


Necessary tools:  Drill bit set, including 3/8 inch drill bit, screwdriver, framing nails, a hammer, and a saw.


Step One:  Measure and cut your 1/2 inch x 2 boards to fit the 2 x 2 precut birch.  Cut your dowel rods to fit inside your drying rack frame.


Step Two:  With your 3/8 inch drill bit, drill holes for your precut dowel rods.  Use a mallet to hammer dowel rods into predrilled spots.


Step Three:  Finish assembling your rack with framing nails.


Step Four:  Attach your pin hinges with a screwdriver.


Step Five:  Prime your wood drying rack, then paint with your color of choice.  I used a spray primer, then once it was dry, I applied Rustoleum’s Seaside Green to the back.  Once the back was dry, I covered it with newspaper, and painted the dowel rods and frame with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White.


Step Six:  If you want to make the sides of your inexpensive wood smoother, then use paintable wood filler (or wood putty) to fill in the uneven surfaces.  I use my finger to apply it.  Once the wood filler is dry, simply spray paint right over it.



Step Seven: When your paint is dry, attach your sash lock to the top of your drying rack.  It’s a good idea to drill pilot holes first when working with wood only 1/2 inch thick.  This way, when you drive your screws in, you have a much better chance of avoiding any visible split in your wood.


Step Eight:  Drill holes to attach your knobs to the bottom.


Knobs after:



Step Nine: Attach a hinged bracket, or a chain with screw eyes, to keep your drying rack at your desired angle when open.  Attach your D-ring hangers to the back, and hang on your laundry room wall.

What I like about this new drying rack is that I can dry all sorts of delicate clothing (*ahem* ladies, your lingerie…).


I added knobs to the bottom of my design so I can dry sweaters or other clothing right on the hanger.


It’s a solid wood piece, hung right on the wall studs, so I can even dry towels right on these knobs.


When open, it has four rungs for drying several layers of clothing:

When not in use, it folds up flush with the wall, with the help of the sash lock on top:



I purchased all of my wood and hinges at Lowes.  The total cost for the supplies for my drying rack was around $25 (not including paint and primer that I had in my supply closet).   Compare that to Ballard’s price of $89 for their small version (not including tax plus shipping).

2013 Update:  This drying rack is still working perfectly in the laundry room and definitely worth the effort since it’s used almost every day!

diy drying rack




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190 Responses to “DIY: Laundry Room Drying Rack”

  1. Unknown Mami says:

    Genius. I have one of those freestanding metal ones and it just gets in the way.

  2. Cindy says:

    Thanks Kate. I too have been coveting the Ballard Design one, but couldn’t justify the cost to myself. I’m going to give it a shot.

  3. Susan says:

    Oh I love this. Absolutely LOVE this. Our laundry room is very narrow, and this would be absolutely perfect. One day winter project for hubby (who is a cabinetmaker) for the basics and I’ll do the rest). I don’t use many of the power tools…stroke in 93 made my hands a bit unsteady at times, although I do help him. He drills the holes and I put stuff in them ‘D

  4. Danielle says:

    I love this idea! I also think this would work well in a bathroom for hanging towels to dry and bathrobes could go on the knobs. Great work, thanks for the tutorial!

  5. […] Ballard Designs inspired laundry room drying rack was a cinch to put together and the effort has paid off handsomely.  It dries all our delicates […]

  6. I actually like your version better than Ballard’s. I love what you did with the color (making it pretty and not just functional) and think the knobs at the bottom make it even more useful. Genius!

  7. Kate, this is so perfect! I was just complaining to my husband who keeps drying all of my work clothes. Now he’ll have no excuse. I’ll be sure to post pics when it’s done!

  8. I absolutely love your version of this drying rack. I’ve been lusting after one of these racks since I saw them in a couple of magazines last year. As I live in the UK my only option is to make one which I have considered – thanks for doing the ground work for me :)

  9. tony says:

    Wow. You did a remarkable job with the carpentry. I am very impressed with the design; the finished piece looks professionally made. Kudos.

  10. […] chose to paint the box frame with Rustoleum’s ‘Seaside Green’ leftover from this laundry room drying rack I made last […]

  11. […] This week’s DIY Round Up is headlined by a post from last Summer that we just discovered! Centsational Girl gives us instructions for building a laundry drying rack. […]

  12. carrie says:

    Fabulous drying rack! I just received the “newest” Ballard design catalog today in the mail, and saw their drying rack… and WOW you’ve done an amazing job! LOVE all your make overs ~ so inspiring.

  13. raji says:

    Hi there, very good idea to built for small laundry room, thank you for the idea, I’ll built one for my laundry room

  14. This is WONDERFUL!!! I’ve added it to a “Green Cleaning” roundup on my website today.

    You can also grab an “I’ve been featured badge” if you’d like.

    Great site!!

  15. Graciele says:

    Creativity 100!!! I wanna do it too… Tks for teaching me… :)

  16. steph zerbe says:

    THis is genius and gorgeous! I use to DIY everything years and years ago.
    You have inspired me to get back to it. I love all the details you give and PHOTOGRAPH.
    For instance, the type of primer and poly. Awesome tips and tricks.
    I especially love that you share the prices. You have me wanting to thrift shop instead of what I am supposed to be doing. I can’t wait to find my own things to refurb!

    Thank you for having this blog and being so darn good at sharing and writing!

  17. BlissfulBabe says:

    I just love it! And the color is so soothing! I have bookmarked this for future reference. It’s just genius! Thank you for sharing!

  18. kathy says:

    oh my goodness…
    I am a DIY fanatic and I just have to try this! We live in Vegas…and I love saving money by drying the clothes outside…but, THIS is SO stinkin’ cute…and the sun will not fade them!
    I’m a fan!

  19. Christy says:

    Where did you find the bracket hinge- I can’t find one!! Is it called something else?

  20. […] drying rack I built last summer is still in […]

  21. Patty says:

    Ok I love this! I am going to have my hubby make me one and the laundry sorter!!
    I have been sprucing up our laundry room over the last few months and this should make it even better.

  22. LouAnn says:

    Oh my gosh – I can’t believe I just stumbled upon your site and this post!!!! I have a very narrow laundry room and been wanting that drying rack from Ballard … but just can’t spend that kind of money. Kept thinking I should just suck it up and buy it – and lo and behold I find your post today! THANK YOU so much! I love the internet…. :)

  23. […] if there was some sort of ranking based on learnedness I guess maybe just maybe this article about building your own laundry room drying rack just might qualify.   If you Google […]

  24. Mag says:

    Just moved into a new house with a narrow laundry room and have been seeing drying racks on lots of blogs, then you wrote about your most helpful post and there it is! What I’ve been looking for! Thank you!

  25. Natalie says:

    This is a great project! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  26. You make me want to do laundry. I will be making one of these as soon as we close on our house!

  27. Christy says:

    I just saw the drying rack at Ballard Designs and wanted to recreate it. One quick Google search and I see you have already done it and yours looks GREAT! Thanks for the motivation to do it!

  28. Lisa says:

    You have no idea how excited I am about this! Awesome job!

  29. Homepodge says:

    This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing this fantastic tutorial!
    I noticed that you only used one side bracket for your version (looks like the Ballard rack has a bracket on each side). Has the unbracketed side warped at all? I’d imagine that heavy towels or rugs might cause it to over time.

  30. Gal says:

    What a wonderful idea!

  31. Nanci says:

    I sent your blog and information on how to make this to my sister, and she and her husband made it this weekend. She loves it!!! Thanks for the great idea and tutorial.

  32. Pat Matera says:

    My husband made this incredible rack for me. He did adjust the size and some of the features but I use it all the time. I went a step further though and decorated mine to brighten up my laundry room. My kids are jealous! They want Daddy to make them some racks, too.

  33. Catherine says:

    This is GENIUS! I’ve been trying to come up with a system to dry our sweaters and I think this may be the best solution I’ve come across. Thanks!

  34. DJRSgarden says:

    Great idea. I am living in a temp Fla. condo for winter with no hanging space. I can transport this with me on my annual pilgrimage south. When I build it though I will try to make one thing different to accommodate my needs…..I want to replace every other rod with laundry rope so I can use clothes pins. Thanks for the inspiration.

  35. Stephanie says:

    I love this idea. Its adorable and a great way to save some extra money!

  36. Kathy C. says:

    Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. My husband just finished cutting the wood pieces to make ours. Your instructions were our inspiration for our small laundry space! I’ll be posting the finished product hopefully on Monday and will be sourcing this post in my blog! Thanks again!

  37. Jen S. says:

    Amazing! This is definitely something I wished I had stumbled upon 3 years ago! I will most certainly give this a try– since we’re moving into a new apartment that does not offer private washers & dryers…

  38. mike says:

    I was looking for a way to dry pool towels. This will be perfect. May up the dowel size a bit though

  39. Carrie J. says:

    I was also inspired to make the laundry room drying rack and I’m still trying to find the bracketed hinge for the side. Where did you get yours?

  40. Linda says:

    Love this…made one for my new, tiny laundry room. My dimensions are a lttle different, slightly bigger, and more dowels. I used small chain instead of a hinge and hook & eye to close instead of a window sash lock. I bought a hinge at HD but returned it for small chain. I like it better, I made the chain the right length for me.

    Simple, cheap, custom to fit my space.

    Awesome..thanks for the great idea and clear instructions.

  41. I featured this loveliness here on my blog Coffee and their Kisses. I would love for you to come over and grab a featured button. The button is located on the left hand side bar. Have a great day!

  42. Beadcharmer says:

    Love it!!!… totally have to make one!!

  43. Ashley says:

    Love this idea, thank you for sharing!! I want to make one for my laundry room!

  44. gnee says:

    terrific job!

  45. Denise says:

    Love it!!!! I am so making one of these for over the utility sink in the laundry room. :)

  46. Stacey says:

    I am making one today!! Where did you find the bracket hinge? Lowes doesnt seem to have one. If I cant find one I will use the chain method, but would really like to use the hinge.

  47. Judi says:

    Love it!! Great idea and it looks so neat. Much better than hanging little items all over to dry.
    Great job.

  48. Kelly says:

    Love this! I am so afraid of “building” things, but I may have to give this a try! My mom would love this in her laundry room!

  49. Carole says:

    Fantastic! I’ve been looking for something that hangs on the wall that I can hang my ironed quilting fabric on while working on a project. You’ve saved me a long trip to Ikea and no doubt money, and l will have the satisfaction of making it myself and customizing it for my space. Well done, and thank you so much!!

  50. Sheri says:

    This is awesome! I was trying to figure out how to do this without spending an arm and a leg. Thanks for posting this, i can’t wait to make mine.

  51. Jaimee says:

    I came back to this post to share as an awesome DIY project in a Tips on Tuesday – Laundry Edition post on my blog. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I love it!
    Jaimee @

  52. Jenny says:

    Awesome idea! Thank you for posting :) I love the fact that I am not the only woman who does craft things with power tools…wearing flip flops haha! I built a bar for our patio while I was 6-8 months pregnant…all in flip flops!

  53. Silvie says:

    Thanks for this! I picked up one side rail of a baby crib at our ‘free store’ to attach to basement rafters – plan was for drying herbs and/or clothing. Your project has given me some ideas on how to mount it.

  54. Kelly says:

    OMG!!!! I Love this…….time to get out the Power Tools

  55. Brilliant idea! I’m going to make one for our new laundry. Thanks so much for the tut! I’ve also posted this on pinterest and will post it on NZ Ecochick’s facebook page!! Thanks M

  56. Jennifer says:

    AHHH! I really want to do this, but NONE of your pictures are showing up! Any idea why? I want to do this!

    ♥ Jen
    The Teachers’ Cauldron

  57. Kim says:

    I would love to make this drying rack. but the pictures are no longer visible to me. I just see a big exclamation mark for each picture. Have the pictures been removed or is it just my computer? Are the instructions posted anywhere else? Thanks.

  58. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hey Kim and Jennifer, that is so wierd!!!! I will see if I can fix it tonight, so so sorry!

  59. Michele says:

    Thanks for trying to fix the pictures – I’m gonna need them! I want to tackle this and the wrapping paper organizer this week. My house is on the market and this would really spruce up my laundry room! Thanks for your great (and cheap!) ideas.

  60. Chris says:

    I’m also hoping for the pictures. I’ve just remodeled my laundry room and have the perfect place for one of these.

  61. What a clever idea. Thank you for the tutorial instructions. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll be the “millionth” one copying your idea! ;-)

  62. Hello
    It is a very good idea and it is beautiful to the laundry. I like a lot

  63. breanna says:

    smart smart SMART!!!

    I’ve linked to your post here:

    Thank you!

  64. Christy says:

    This is great, I might try to build one for outside, I’ve been looking for a place to dry diapers outside and I could just mount this to the side of the house :)

  65. Renee says:

    OMG! I’ve been looking for something just like this for my laundry room!! Love it! Definitely going to make!! Thank you!!

  66. Miranda says:

    You mentioned you used a water-based paint, rather than the oil-based, as the laundry room isn’t as high-traffic as a kitchen or bathroom — how’s it holding up??

    We are getting ready to buy a house, and I’d love to find some cheap (used) cabinets and breathe in some new life :)


  67. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Miranda, they are holding up great!! Again, not as high traffic as a bathroom or kitchen, but the paint I used in my laundry room still looks beautiful!
    Here are more details on the paint I used:

  68. Linda says:

    OMG – THANK YOU! My sister and I have always wanted the one from Ballard too but wouldn’t pay the money. I saw your tutorial and went to Home Depot the same day! I’m suprising my sister with it.

    I also picked up a thin piece of beadboard in White already and glued/nailed that to the backboard so it looks just like the Ballard one (but I do love the color paint you used).

    Thanks again, it was a fun project to make with my husband and my sister will love it! On to making me one next.

  69. Bella says:

    Where in Lowes/Home Depot did you find the “bracketed hinges”? I don’t want to go the chain route.

  70. Mary says:

    Such a great idea! I’ve been trying to find a way to do this for years….in a very tight laundry room. I wonder if this would work with cement walls? Worth a shot!

  71. Laurette says:

    Love the colors! This is so much nicer than that store-bought one. I would end up wanting to hang plants on it!

  72. CentsationalGirl says:

    Look in the door and window hardware department Bella, I think that’s where I found it…

  73. Debbie says:

    I love this idea. I will try to make it this summer. A grate way to put humidity into the air in the winter.

  74. Beth says:

    Everytime I see this on your page, I think of how awesome this would be in the kitchen for a pasta dryer! I really need to add this to my project list. Thanks for the website. You are so inspiring!

  75. MomHomeGuide says:

    Looks great! Would love to make one for my Tiny!! laundry room.

  76. Steve says:

    It’s more likely that your poplar boards are 3/4″ thick, not 1/2. At the hardware store you would ask for a 1×2 ( since wood is sold in nominal dimensions). the actuall size would be 3/4″x1 1/2″

    Your backing board is 1/2″ thick and your poplar frame is much thicker, you can see that in your pictures.

    A 3/8″ dowel would also be difficult to put into a 1/2″ thick board!

    Also, it’s more usual for the long side to go the full length of the frame. You can see that’s how it was done in the original too. It’s visually more appealing. it’s been done that way for centuries for a reason!

    thanks for ideas and the detailed instructions! Good ideas.

  77. Steve says:

    Sorry, just to clarify. I said “the longer side should go the full length”. This is, in fact, what you did. What I meant was that the upright ‘stile’ should extend the full length of the side. The shorter piece should be parallel to the dowels.

    If you are going to do it this way, you would be better to glue and use 2 screws than nailing a single nail (which can twist and work loose over time).

  78. […] Follow the complete step-by-step photo instructions HERE […]

  79. Leslie says:

    I can’t believe this, I saw the Ballard one today and fell in love with it, but I can’t afford to buy one so I looked up making one and this site came up. SO AWSOME!!!! Thank you so much for posting this I’m off to Home Depot for the stuff now.
    Thank you again

  80. Love the photo that shows you were making it in flip flops! Nice work!

  81. Jenn says:

    ::sing-songy voice:: AWWWESOME!! Very helpful and detailed!! THANK YOU!! :)

  82. I was thinking you could use an old window frame and drill holes on each end to put the dowels through. I’m all about re-use (and cheap) :)

  83. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Elaine, with the right window frame that should work!

  84. Love the way you found something you like and then made it yourself! You rock!

    This is such a simple and great idea too. It’s perfect for smaller laundry rooms that don’t have a lot of space to hang clothes and what this small and compact drying rack would be perfect!

  85. Simone says:

    This is awesome I will save this to my file when we redo the laundry room hopefully in the very near future. Thanks!!

  86. I can’t love this more. I never have enough drying space and this would be a great addition to the laundry room. Plus, I love the color you picked. Thanks for the step by step details. This is stellar!

  87. Jenn says:

    I loved this idea! Instead of painting the back piece of wood I covered it with some cute fabric! Thanks for posting this!

  88. Maygen says:

    I actually really like this as a desk Idea. Ive been trying to buy one of these types of desks and they are just so expensive. But I think i may try doing this. :)

    Thanks a bunches!!

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