How to make a foldable drying rack

Get your washing dry when it’s raining outside with this folding laundry rack. When it’s not in use, it folds flat against the wall, looking functionally beautiful and barely there.

Tools and materials:

1.2m lengths of 42mm x 30mm DAR pine x 4

2.8mm, 4mm and 4.5mm drill bits

20mm black round head timber screws

30m clothesline cord

300mm spring-loaded folding brackets x 2

38mm-wide paintbrush

50mm black countersunk timber screws

Clean cloth

Clear varnish in satin

Combination square

Drill with driver bit


Measuring tape


Philips head screwdriver

Quick-grip clamps


Sanding block with 120-, 180- and 240-grit abrasive paper

Safety equipment

Timber adhesive

drying rack

1. Cut side pieces

To cut the sides, front and back of the frame, mark the pine lengths to 1160mm and cut with a handsaw. Smooth over all the ends with 120-grit abrasive paper to remove any breakout. Tip: Keep the offcuts to use as support blocks for the corners of the rack.

drying rack

2. Make holes for the cords

To mark out holes for the cord on one side piece, use a tape measure to mark along the centre of the wide face, at 145mm intervals. For pilot holes to join the frame, mark 15mm and 45mm from each end. Position the marked side piece against the other side piece and clamp them together on a work surface. To make holes for the cord, use a 4.5mm bit to drill through both pieces along the 145mm-interval marks. Use a 4mm bit to drill the pilot holes at the ends. 

Tip: There are seven holes for the cord and two holes either end for the pilot holes. Check the holes are centred along the face by using a combination square to mark 21mm in from the edges.

drying rack

3. Join support blocks

Smooth over all holes with 120-grit abrasive paper to remove any breakout. To join the support blocks to the front and back pieces, make pilot holes by measuring 21mm from the ends to mark a line across the wide face. On these lines, mark 11mm in from either edge, then drill the holes with a 4mm bit. Position the blocks against the ends to drill through the pilot holes, halfway into each block. Apply timber adhesive to the blocks, reposition them and secure with 50mm screws.

drying rack

4. Assemble the frame

To assemble the frame, position the front piece with the block facing up and butt a side piece against it. Using a 4mm bit, drill through one pilot hole and halfway into the side piece, then secure with a 50mm screw. Repeat with the second hole. Repeat to position the other side and the back. 

Tip: At each corner, secure the first screw before drilling the second hole to keep the pieces square.

5. Apply varnish

Smooth over the frame with 180-grit abrasive paper and wipe away dust with a damp cloth. Use a 38mm-wide brush to apply two coats of varnish, leaving to dry thoroughly between each. Gently smooth over the frame with 240-grit abrasive paper and apply a third coat, leaving to dry thoroughly.

drying rack

6. Thread the clothesline

To string the clothesline, uncoil about eight metres of cord to thread it from outside, through the first hole and across the frame to the corresponding hole. Pull the cord all the way through, feed it back through the next hole and across the frame, repeating to the last hole. Knot the cord on the outside of the frame with about 20mm excess, then pull back each row to tighten the cord. Tie a knot against the frame and trim the cord with scissors, leaving about 20mm excess.

drying rack

7. Attach the brackets

To attach the brackets, position an open bracket flush with the back of the frame to mark the hole. Use a 2.8mm bit to drill pilot holes halfway into the pine, then secure with 20mm screws. Repeat with second bracket, positioning it in line with the first one, then attach to the wall. 

Tip: Enlist a second pair of hands to hang the rack, ensuring you have the correct fasteners for the wall. 


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