DIY Drying Rack Drawers

It has been a while since I created a blog post. You can blame it on work, family, COVID fatigue, or simply lack of time. However, I am excited to write about a recent woodworking project I undertook in our new home the last few weeks (it took this long due to limited time to work on it).

We moved into a new home at the end of July this year. We built the home, and my wife was hoping there would be space for us to use some specialty built vertical hanging laundry drying racks. I made them for her when we lived in our old home prior to moving and will create another short blog post on their construction at a later date. However, these sadly did NOT fit the space we were given.

Our laundry table mid build of the house

At this point we were left with minimal options for hang drying. We purchased some wall drying racks (as my wife just wanted to get them up and useable rather than wait for me to finish a project). These worked, however when you literally hang dry EVERYTHING, the more space the better. With that said, I elected to build her some pull out drying rack drawers to make it simpler.

Materials used:

– 1×3 wood – in this build I used pine

– Metal rods from previous drying racks – I was able to buy 1-2 cheap ones from Target and deconstruct them to use the rods. You could also simply use wooden dowels for this and adjust the build, however I wanted something metal

– Soft close drawer slides – I used 20 inch to fit our space

– Pocket hole jig and appropriate screw lengths

– Power drill with various screw head types

– Tape measure and level

– Miter saw

– Paint to match trim in the house and drawer pulls – luckily we had leftovers from both of these from the recent house build

The Build

1) I measured the space we had and realized with the rods that I could make 3 drawers with about 8 rods each. I picked out rods that were the exact same length. I then took my 1×3’s and cut them to size to fit the appropriate space. The laundry table is 22 inches deep, so I cut these to about 20 inches to leave room for the face of the drawer.

2) I then used a drill with a drill bit to make holes roughly the same diameter as the screws to hold the metal rods. I fit the rods into place between the two 1×3 pieces creating the main body of the drawer.

Drying rack rods, cut boards for the sides and the body post assembly

3) I cut another piece of 1×3 to fit the width of the drawer face. Prior to attaching it to the drawer I used the drawer pull and a scrap 1×3 to make a jig for the screw hole placement to use on each of the drawer faces. This saved a significant amount of time. I then painted the drawer face with the same white paint we used for the trim in the house; after they dried, I attached the drawer face to the drawer sides with pocket holes and attached the drawer pulls.

I did not attach a board to the back of the drawer since the rods provide enough structural support

4) This next step was tricky, and sadly I did this to myself. I had to attach the drawer slides to the side of each drawer; however I simply did not realize that the bolts holding the metal rods in place were literally in the way. With that said I placed the drawer slides directly over the bolts and screwed them into the wooden sides where there were openings. Had I used wooden dowels or just not wanted to use the screws, I could have simply used a boring screw head to screw partially into each board and placed the rods into the holes without requiring screws.

5) I cut more 1×3 wood scraps that I had to fit the length of the drawer slide as well as the full dimension from the wall to the end of the laundry table to allow for installation of the drawer (essentially creating a frame for the drawer to fit in). On the inside of these 1×3’s I attached the main part of the drawer slides. I then cut 2 pieces of 1×3 scraps (they were painted white from a previous project) to cross perpendicular to the drawer and hold the frame together. I screwed 3 pocket holes into each of these crossing boards to allow for easy installation into the underside of the laundry table

Drawer slides I used. Lower image shows the drawer with complete drawer frame (right) and partial completion (left)

6) Once in the laundry room I lined up each drawer with their respective space and screwed in the front and back of the drawer frames into the front end of the laundry table and wall behind it using the pocket holes. Prior to this I actually secured another 1×3 board horizontally into the wall studs along the area the drawer frame would be placed for increased strength. The boards did not attach to the table above it, so I cut another few scraps of wood and attached the drawer frame to the table, again for more strength.

Back of the drawer frame attached to the wall support. You can also see the two back wood scraps used for attaching the drawer frame to the bottom of the table. I attached the scraps with pocket holes to the table and a simple screw from the frame to the scrap

7)            At this point I simply slid the drawers into place, and they were ready to go. 

8)            HOWEVER, let’s discuss a simple failure during the build.  I assumed the middle section would hold the width of the drawers like the left and right side.  However, the drawer frame was slightly too big due to the table supports underneath.  Measure twice, cut once.  Oops.  The good thing, however, was the width of the drawer itself actually fit perfectly into space.  I simply screwed the drawer slides into the bracing on each side of the laundry table and the drawer slid into place.

9) The last step will be to fill in the gaps with 1×3 scraps painted with the same white as the trim. I will attach these with wood glue to the supports available as well as pocket holes from behind into the bottom of the table. This is something I will do later on as it is more cosmetic and not functional.

Before and after photo with the drawers in place. Bottom image shows how the drawer looks when pulled out.

I’m excited to see how well these work. The opening underneath allows the clothing to hang and dry, but also allows the clothes to hang underneath and not be in the way like a traditional drying rack would be.

How would you have done things different? Any other drying rack DIYs that you have tried?

Imperfect Dad MD

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