How to build your own metal washing line poles

Written by ned millis
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How to build your own metal washing line poles
Clothes hung to dry on outdoor washing lines saves money. (Drying out image by HugoCCampos from

In the days before automatic washers and driers, washing was hung out to dry on outdoor washing lines. Many people have become accustomed to machine washing and drying laundry. However, drying clothes outdoors saves money by eliminating the energy used on machine drying. You can make your own metal washing line poles at home.

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • 3 perforated galvanised posts; 3.7 cm x 3.7 cm x 2.4 m (1 1/2 inches x 1.5 inches x 8 feet) x 12 gauge thick
  • 2 bags fence-post concrete-ready mix
  • 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) piece of timber
  • Carpenter level
  • 8 wood braces; 2.5 cm x 5 cm x 90 cm (1 inch x 2 inches x 3 feet)
  • 8 wood stakes; 2.5 cm x 5 cm x 30 cm (1 inch x 2 inches x 12 inches) long, pointed at one end
  • 8 9 cm (3 1/2 inch) nails
  • Metal-cutting hacksaw
  • 8 bolts; 7.5 cm x 6 mm (3 inch x 1/4 inch)
  • 8 nuts; 6 mm (1/4 inch)
  • 16 washers; 6 mm (1/4 inch)
  • 4 metal straps; 2.5 cm x 45 cm (1 inch x 18 inches) x 18 gauge with a 6 mm (1/4 inch) hole at each end
  • Adjustable wrench
  • 1 coil green vinyl jacketed washing line; 15 m (50 foot)
  • Pliers

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  1. 1

    Determine the location for your outdoor washing lines. It should be close to the doorway you will use to bring laundry from the washing area. The site for your washing lines should be fairly level.

  2. 2

    Dig two holes 6 m (20 feet) apart and in line for the two vertical metal posts. The holes should be 30 cm (12 inches) long by 30 cm (12 inches) wide by 60 cm (24 inches) deep. Center an 2.4 m (8 foot) perforated post in each hole. This will create 1.8 m (6 foot) posts above ground. Be sure the flat surface of each pole faces the other pole.

  3. 3

    Mix sacks of fence post concrete ready mix with the recommended amount of water in a wheel barrow or mixing box. A drier mix will simplify bracing. Pour one sack around each perforated metal post. Tamp the ready mix around the post with a short piece of 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) timber.

  4. 4

    Check the post for vertical plumb with the carpenter level. Drive one 9 cm (3 1/2 cm) finishing nail halfway into one end of each wooden brace. Insert the nail head in each wooden brace into a hole on a perforated post 60 cm (2 feet) above ground. With each post true and plumb wedge the other end of the wood brace firmly at ground level with a wooden stake. Allow the concrete post mix to set for 24 hours.

  5. 5

    Cut the remaining 2.4 m (8 foot) perforated pole in half with the hacksaw. Use these two sections as cross arms to anchor the clotheslines.

  6. 6

    Bolt the cross arms in place with a 7.5 cm x 6 mm (3 inch by 1/4 inch) bolt, washer, washer and nut. Be sure the cross arms are at a convenient height for the user. Hand-tighten the cross arm bolts until the diagonal braces are placed.

  7. 7

    Thread a bolt and washer through the end holes on two of the metal straps. Insert this bolt into a hole on the vertical post about 30 cm (1 foot) below the cross arm on the side of the post that faces the opposite post. Apply a washer and nut. Hand tighten the nut. Swing up each strap to the cross arm so it forms a diagonal brace. Insert a bolt, washer, washer and nut. Repeat this step with each of the four diagonal braces. Use an adjustable spanner to tighten all nuts when the braces are in place.

  8. 8

    Tie a knot in one end of the washing line. Thread the untied end through the outermost hole in one cross arm. Pull the washing line through the matching hole at the opposite pole and cross arm. Use pliers to grip the washing line. Skip the number of holes that will space the washing lines 30 cm (12 inches) apart. Thread the washing line back in the opposite direction to a matching hole. Pull the washing line tight with the pliers to be sure all the slack is taken up. Repeat threading the clothesline through equally spaced holes, 30 cm (12 inches) apart. This will yield four lines 6 m (20 feet) in length. Cut and tie off the washing line at the last hole.

Tips and warnings

  • If your local hardware shop or building products outlet cannot supply the required materials, check with local suppliers of fencing posts or a metal products warehouse. Online sources can deliver these metal products in your area.
  • Many DIY centres offer stock clothesline T poles to speed and simplify your project.

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