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Build & Remodel

How to Build a Wooden Coat Rack


In this winter season, it's very handy to have a coat rack near your home's entrance when you are coming in or going out to brave the cold.


In this post, I'll go over how to make a simple way to easily store your coats, hats, and even umbrellas using basic materials found at your local Home Depot store. 






Tape Measure

Table Saw

Mitre Saw


Cordless drill

3/16" Drill bit 

3/4" hole saw

Power Sander



Two 8' length Stud Grade 2x4

1 2' x 2' 3/4" Oak Plywood

Danish Oil 

Cloth or staining pad

1 Dowel Rod 3/4" diameter

Wood Glue

2 #8 size eye hooks

1" wood screws















STEP 1: Gather Measurements, Materials, and Tools


Before you visit your local Home Depot store to get the items needed for this project, be aware of the area where the coat rack will go. 


The overall height is 5'6" inches, and it is 10 inches wide on both sides. There should be 11 main pieces to the coat rack in the following list (not including the 6 dowel rods pieces to hold the coats at 2-1/4”):


·         4 corner pieces (cut down from the 2 x 4) 5’6” in height at ¾” x 1-3/4” 

·         3 shelves cut to 10” x 10” with corners cut to allow the 4 corner pieces to rest inside of it (drawing and further explanation in steps below)

·         4 upper front pieces to hold the dowel rods ¾” thick cut down from the 2 x 4 (sizes and how to cut explained below)



Obviously, you can adjust any of the sizes listed above as you wish.  But I chose this due to it being small enough to fit in a corner, but sturdy enough so it won't fall over...and these dimensions are what we will go over in this post.


At this stage in the process, I find that drawing what the final design will look like helps greatly during each subsequent step of the build to ensure what I’m doing can and will work.

STEP 2: Cutting the Wood Pieces


The two 2 x4s in 8 foot lengths will be cut down to 5' 6" and the 3/4" plywood will be cut down to three 10" x 10" pieces. Once the 3/4" plywood pieces have been cut down, you will next use the jigsaw to cut out 3/4" by 1-3/4" corners (shown below).

After you cut down the 2 x 4s, you'll next need to cut them in half length-wise on its wider side (3-1/2") using a table saw. Carefully mark the cuts with your measuring tape, and you'll end up with 4 pieces at 5' 6" in length and 3/4" by 1-3/4".


Remember at this step with the table saw that you may have a slight leftover piece due to the width or kerf of the blade at 1/8", so always measure twice to cut once! Be sure to cut slowly at this step; the motor of the saw can easily be overtaxed. To help reduce stress on the saw, use a lower teeth blade at this step.


You'll have some leftover now 3/4" pieces of the 2x4. Cut 2 pieces using the mitre saw at 11-1/2" and 2 at 10". This will give you 4 pieces for the front facing top portion where the coats will be held.


The final wood cuts are left to the 3/4" dowel rods. These are to be cut into 6 pieces at 2-1/4" in length. Before this is done though, you will carefully make a fillet, or small cut line into all pieces.


This is done by setting the table saw at about a 1/8" depth and gently rotating the dowel rod until the cuts are complete. Separate the cuts by 1/4". This is done so that whatever hat or coat hangs on the rack, it's easier to 'grip' it. 


Once you make the fillet cuts, then use the mitre saw to cut the dowel rods at 2-1/4" in length. 


For the final cutting at this step, carefully measure out 3 holes needed to place the dowel rod holders on 2 of the 4 front sides that will face the most usage. Space out the holes at 3 inches apart and centered on 2 adjoining faces of the front sides. 


Use the ¾” hole saw after making an X where the cuts will be.  


STEP 3: Sanding 

Once you have all the pieces cut, your next step is to sand down each edge for a smooth finish. Failure to do so can not only give someone splinters touching it, but looks unprofessional. 

Use a power sander with a 150 grit and then 220 grit sandpaper to give a final smooth surface to the future coat rack. This includes even the small ¾” dowel rods which will hold your coats. 

In fact, make sure the dowel rods edges are sanded down, so that they will be easier to place in the holes when you are ready to install them.

Finally, at this step, use a tack cloth or rag to ensure that all sawdust is removed from all surfaces before continuing. 

STEP 4: Staining the Coat Rack

After double-checking that all areas are clean, you are now ready to stain. This is done before you assemble the pieces together, so as to ensure even tight corners are thoroughly stained. 

Use staining pads and lint-free rags with the Danish Oil to apply it evenly onto the wood. Since oak is obviously a different species than the softwood pine, you’ll notice that the oak shelves will look slightly darker. 

Depending on what color and type of stain you use will determine if you need additional coats or even a final clear coat to seal the surface. 

With my coat rack, I decided to use a very light color Danish Oil to bring out the natural look of the wood and to seal it at the same time without using additional coats of lacquers or polyurethane. 

Since drying times and sometimes applications can vary from product, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific information on applying it. 


STEP 5: Assembling the Coat Rack

Once you’ve ascertained that the stain has completely dried on all the pieces, you are now ready to put everything together.

Using wood glue and clamps, place the 4 corner pieces with the 3 shelves. Wipe any excessive amounts of glue as soon as you see it. This is probably the trickiest part of the build, as you may need a helper to hold the corners into place.

Throughout the build, have a level handy to ensure that all 4 corner pieces are at the same height.

Once this is done, apply the clamps to allow a firm hold onto the glued surfaces. Once the frame portion is done, you can then glue the front top pieces where the dowel rods will go.

After all the glue is dried and the clamps are removed, you can now use 1” screws on the undersides and hidden back areas to give added stability to each shelf and top front portion.

The key to ensure you reduce the amount of splitting of the wood is to use drill bits smaller in diameter to the screws to ensure the pilot hole easily accepts the screw.

Install the 2 hooks underneath 2 shelves via a pilot hole from the drill bit and twist into place. These hooks are to hold wet umbrellas.

Lastly, place the 6 2-1/4” dowel rods into the holes on the top front sides using the wood glue as well as the mallet to drive them firmly into place.


Wait until all glue is dry and remove any remaining clamps and set upright. Due to its small size, you can place this in corner or tight spaces near the entrance door. Rather than placing hooks and shelves in a wall, you now have a portable coat rack you can move as you wish!


As stated earlier, you can change the size of the coat rack to even the amount of shelves you place in it. And as long as you have the basic power tools listed above, you can easily get a new coat rack ready for the winter.


For any additional questions, please let us know here.


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Posted 2016-12-29T15:12:00+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL