How to Build a Laundry Drying Rack

Updated February 21, 2017

Anyone sick of wet clothing hanging everywhere around the house while it dries can try a simple solution: build a laundry drying rack. While laundry drying racks may look complicated, they are not too overwhelming if broken down into simple components. You can make one that suits your needs with a few simple supplies and a few handy tools.

Prepare the wood. Use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges and ensure the ends of the wood slats are completely flat.

Set up the legs. Drill holes in the slats completely through the wood, making sure they are large enough to fit the dowels. Each slat will have three holes for the dowels--one in the direct centre of the slat and one on either end 1 inch from the edge.

Set up one side. Lay two slats in front of you at a 45-degree angle. Make sure they are parallel and 10 inches apart. Make an X with one slat on top of each of the existing slats, with the middle holes lining up. You should have two X shapes next to each other that join at the ends.

Insert dowels. Stick seven of the dowels through the holes drilled in the four slats. Those in the centre and where the Xs overlap should go through both slats of wood. Three dowels will be inserted through a single slat at the ends. This leaves one end of the X open.

Fashion the top. Lay the end hole of another slat on the open end of the X and insert a dowel through that hole. This leaves one slat not part of an X shape and available for the top of the rack.

Set up the other side. Using the same process, criss-cross your slats on top of the inserted dowels. Start with the top area where the slat is not part of an X shape. Insert a dowel through the middle and end holes, then lay another slat on top of the dowels. Add two slats to the top of the dowels directly above the slats that make up the top layer of the X on the other side. Add two slats that match the bottom slats of the X.

Secure the structure together. Use a hammer to gently bang the dowels securely into place so the rack stays together.

Use a saw to gouge out two notches, one on each end of the two slats that make up the top of the rack. Position the notches on the side that faces the rest of the rack. The notches will be used to hold the rack open when it's in use. The rack can be folded and stored when it's not.

Use a waterproof sealer, such as polyurethane, to seal the wood so it can stand up to holding wet clothing.


Adjust the size of your slats and dowels if you'd rather have a bigger or smaller drying rack.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • 10 dowels (30 inches long and 1/4 inch thick)
  • 10 wood slats (20 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1/2 inch thick)
  • Drill
  • Saw
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