If your house looks like mine, there are jackets and sweatshirts stacked in hallways, corners, and anywhere else the kids drop them off. We tried to solve this problem by hanging adhesive hooks at child height near the front door so that the jackets had a place. But those sticky hangers weren’t the size for 6-year-olds – half had fallen off in a matter of months.
As a more durable solution, I made wooden coat racks that could be attached to the wall. A coat rack, in its most basic form, is an easy project anyone can do: buy coat hooks, screw them to a board, then put that board on a wall. But if you want something a little more sophisticated, there are ways to take it up a notch without adding a lot of difficulty.
Warning: DIY projects can be dangerous, even for the most experienced manufacturers. Before proceeding with this or any other project on our site, make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment and know how to use it properly. At a minimum, this can include safety glasses, a face shield and / or hearing protection. If you use power tools, you need to know how to use them correctly and safely. If you don’t, or if you’re uncomfortable with everything described here, don’t attempt this project.
- Time to complete: 2-3 hours
- Material cost: $ 20 to $ 50
- Difficulty: Easy, with moderate upgrades
1. Cut your wood to length. Decide how much wall space the coat rack should take up and cut the wood accordingly. My space was very tight, so I built two 20 inch long racks.
Using your square, draw a straight line on the board at the desired length. Then use that same square as a circular saw guide to get a straight cut. Align your saw blade with the line and position the speed square along the plate or saw shoe. This will prevent your blade from wandering around and creating a wavy cut.
2. Sand the board. Using your orbital sander and up to 120 grit sandpaper, sand the wood gently. Make sure to keep the orbital sander moving as you go. Lingering in one spot can leave an imprint or a groove in the wood.
3. (Optional) Route or cut decorative border elements. This step is not strictly necessary, but it will help give your room a finished look. There are different ways to give the coat rack a decorative touch, but the most versatile is to use a palm router with a molding of your choice. Personally, I like the look of the Roman router bit, but use the bit that matches your style.
If you don’t have a router, there are several other easy ways to add some spice to your room:
- Use a hole saw and drill to round off the corners.
- Use an inclined circular saw or table saw to cut the edges of the face at an angle.
- Use your orbital sander to round all edges of the board.
4. Measure the wall for your mounting holes. Locate the studs in the wall with your stud finder. Determine how far from the centerline of the board is each stud and mark those stud positions on your board. Ideally, your coat rack will be supported by two studs, but a stud and drywall anchor should be sufficient if the spacing isn’t working.
- Pro tip: With a little planning and luck, you can position your screw holes under the hooks themselves, especially if you’re willing to move your coat rack left or right of your ideal location a few inches or so. if you can reposition the brackets. This will hide the wall mount screws when you install the hooks.
5. Pre-drill all of your screw holes. With your drill and a bit, pre-drill all the holes for your mounting screws. Pre-drilling has a few advantages. First, it reduces the risk of your board splitting when driving the screws. Second, the countersink allows the screw heads to sit below the surface of the wood, so you can either fill the holes with putty or cover them with the coat hooks. if the spacing works.
Once you have countersunk the mounting holes, position and pre-drill the holes for your no-count coat hooks. For children’s jackets, I space my hooks at least 6 inches apart. For adult jackets, I place the hooks at least 12 inches apart. Again, you can cheat those spaces a bit to cover your mounting holes with the hooks.
6. Complete the sanding. When you have finished cutting and drilling, complete the sanding. I always go through everything with 120 grit paper first, then go to 150 and end with 220.
- To note: If you created a decorative edge, you may need to sand these outlines by hand. Folding the sandpaper can help you get into nooks, crannies and nooks and crannies.
7. Apply your finish. I chose the clear spray polyurethane because it is quick, easy, durable and leaves the natural look of wood. Spray it in a well-ventilated area while wearing a face mask and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Typically, you shake the box and apply long, even sprays to the wood from a distance of 10-12 inches, then let it dry for a few hours. Some products may require light sanding between coats.
8. Secure the coat rack to the wall. This is a stage where it is worth taking your time and being specific. Using your level, draw a light pencil line at the bottom of where you want the coat rack. Mark each of the studs on this line so that they are easy to see. Triple check your measurements here and use your stud finder to confirm that the studs are there. Then hold the board against the wall on that horizontal line, position it so the mounting holes line up with the studs, and screw your coat rack into place.
- Pro tip: If you are using drywall anchors instead of a stud, screw them into the drywall anchor before screwing into the studs, as the stud will have a little more leeway in terms of where the screw can go.
9. Attach the hooks. Once the coat rack is on the wall, screw your coat hooks to the wood making sure you touch the pre-drilled holes from step 5. Technically, if you are not trying to cover your mounting holes with the hooks, you can install these before assembly, it entirely depends on your personal preference.
Once the hooks are installed, take those jackets and sweatshirts off the floor and place them on their new home on the wall.