PVC Drying Rack

Drying Rack
DYI PVC Drying Rack

This is my husband’s first post. I forgot to tell you that he is the cook of the family. Incidentally, this is NOT a cooking post. If this looks like a recipe then you likely suffer from pica and should see a doctor. In the meantime, let me introduce you to my husband and one of his creations, our post-apocalyptic steampunk drying rack.

Wife calls me into the laundry room,”I want a new drying rack.”

“Ok. What is wrong with this one?”

She points at the rack, “Look! It is nasty and dirty. Throw out that old ironing board too, I don’t want it. While you are at it, move the rack over there so people can’t see my *clothes* from the living room.”

My only response,”Yes, dear. When do you want it done?”

“Whenever you get time.”

I took some measurements from the old drying rack before I took it down, 32″ in width. That means it was anchored to studs….hmmm, I wonder why. Then, I took it down. It had a welded 1/4″steel frame and a 1″ iron pipe that was SUPER heavy duty. No wonder it had 3″ screws holding it to the studs in the wall. I cannot weld and steel is a medium that I detest so simply moving it over and repainting it was not going to happen.

Old drying rack
Here is the old rack. It is so ugly, I don’t even want to watermark the picture

My wife has a wonderful way of giving me directions. She gives me all the requirements and then lets me run with it, I am truly blessed to have that much freedom. I thought about this problem for a few days and came up with some solutions based on our interests and my skills.

My first idea was to make a traditional fold out wooden drying rack that could be mounted to the wall. We had one in the house as a kid so I knew all the corners, connectors and ways it could smack me in the head or cut my forehead. I hated that drying rack and it would have been very Americana and trite. It wasn’t a solution for this problem.

My second thought was to heat form some PVC and put a nice bend it that so it could be up and out of the way as a drying rack. This was actually a really good solution and takes a ton of weight off the wall. However, it would have a modern look with the curves and solid piece…definitely not our style.

Then it dawned on me. Bathrooms in Ukraine had pipes on the wall that I could use to dry clothes on (they were hot water pipes actually)! What if I replicated that using PVC pipe in the the laundry room? Hmmm…this might just work. It is lightweight, has a post-apocalyptic feel with the PVC but it feels too unfinished with plain PVC so I should paint it. I saw some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint at the store and thought about making a crossbow prod out of it, instead I can use it on this! WE HAVE A WINNER!

I talked it over on our morning commute with my wife. She said that PVC would be acceptable, IF it will hold up and not get too scratched. I knew a nice solution from making bows to prevent that so our problem was solved. On my way back home, I bought the stuff I needed…and a little extra PVC,. you can never have enough when you’re a PVC bowyer.

pvc parts
Parts for PVC Drying rack

Here is the cutting list, all PVC is 1″ pipe.

2 x 30″
2 x 25″
2 x 16″
2 x 11″
2 x 10″
6 x 90° elbows (cut 2 of these off on one end where it straightens out so it will be flush against the wall)
2 x 45° elbows
2 x T connectors
4 metal pipe hanger brackets

I spray painted the PVC oil rubbed bronze. Be sure to tape the ends where the pipes fit into the connectors or they won’t fit later.  The brackets were painted metallic copper for contrast…and I like copper. We test fit everything and I got the go ahead to attach it to the wall but there was one more thing to do first. I got out my matte clear coat spray and made sure that the cross bars (30″) were not going to get easily scratched up then let them dry overnight.

rack in action
PVC Drying Rack in action! And yes, these are my favorite wool socks drying on it.

I carefully screwed the rack to the wall after locating two studs, I used shorter screws for this because the rack was light and it isn’t expecting to hold a ton of weight. We have wood panels on that wall so I didn’t use any of the anchors needed to prevent pulling out from drywall.

PVC drying rack schematic
Here is the schematic for the rack. You can clearly see where each piece goes and adjust the whole structure to your personal needs.

And there you have it, a post-apocalyptic steampunk drying rack. Plenty of space to dry my wife’s delicate clothes. As for mine, they go in the dryer.

-Psychobbyist’s husband

Isn’t he a sweetie! And I love the industrial look. Especially since after the bathroom remodel oil rubbed bronze seems to be a theme color for the house. I even spraypainted some dollar store bins oil rubbed bronze, and no, I will not post about it. This experience can be described in just one sentence: “It was not worth it!

Before and after

Back to the drying rack though. Just in  case you are still not convinced, here is a before and after. Also, I should mention that it has been 3 months since the rack went up and countless loads of delicate laundry dried on it, both on hangers and without them. The paint has not chipped a bit, nor did it bleed onto the fabric.


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