Building an Industrial Style Clothing Rack Building an Industrial Style Clothing Rack

As someone who detests ironing, it’s always been a goal of mine to do away with dressers. No matter how neatly I fold something, once it goes in the dresser it comes out a wrinkled mess.

The simple solution would be to hang everything, but that's easier said than done with the cramped closet space I was working with. If I really wanted to accomplish this lofty laundry dream of mine, I was going to have to think bigger. Then it hit me - why not ditch the closet? I could build a clothing rack without the strict space restrictions; one that would fit my budget, aesthetics, and specific needs.

Finding the Right Look

The rack would have to exist in harmony with my living space, which is best described as industrial. It features wood flooring, exposed brick walls, and a few mysterious pipes. Fortunately, I had just material in mind – galvanized steel. It made perfect sense for the industrial yet minimalist look I was going for. I started doing some concept drawings to get an idea of what I'd need.

Concept drawing of the clothing rack.Thankfully my drawing skills won't be tested.

With a rough concept in mind, I set out to find the right pipes and fittings. For the purpose of this project, I found 1/2" diameters to be a good size. Any diameter should technically work, just make sure everything is the same.

Looking for the right parts.

Once I had collected everything on my list, I gave all the steel a good cleaning with a rag. The last thing I wanted was a grease stain on my shirts.

Building the Base

With so many fittings and threads, it became clear that this was going to be a trial by error project. I decided my best bet was to build the base and work my way up.

Connecting the steel piping.

I started with two flanges on each side with a few nipples to create a sturdy base.

Building the base.

As I worked my way up, I used tees to connect the nipples and left elbows on top for the pipes.

Base constructed.

Connecting the Piping

As I started connecting the pipes I discovered my first rookie mistake. Tightening a pipe on one elbow would loosen it on the opposite elbow. I failed to get reverse thread piping. With my local hardware store out of stock, I would need a workaround. My solution? Use a pipe cutter to divide each pipe into two halves and connect them with a threadless coupling.

Cutting the pipe.

Connecting the threadless coupling

Adding a Shoe Rack

With that problem solved, I took a step back and saw a great opportunity to improve on my original design. A sanded board would not only cover up my base pipes, but also act as a place to keep my shoes.

Cut and sanded board.

I measured the width and length and decided to cut out two semicircles on each end so the board would sit flush around the pipes.

Cutting holes.

Finished cutting the holes.

Finished board sitting on pipes.

Final Touches

With the base, shoe rack, and piping all connected, I did a final tightening of my threadless coupling to reduce any pipe sag.

Tightening the threadless coupling.

I also utilized some left over elbow and tee fittings to create a last minute hat rack.

Pipe fitting for the hat extension.

Hat extension fitting.

Trying It Out

Voila! An open space clothing rack that fits the industrial aesthetic of my living space. Not only did it give me ample room to hang my clothes, but I also had a spot for my shoes, ties, and hats.

Finished clothing rack with clothes on it.

Hat rack finished.

Shoe stand.

All said and done, one key thing I'd do differently is getting the appropriate piping. Having to cut them down the middle and use a threadless coupling creates a bit of a sag. Fortunately, once I get enough clothing on the rack it should be less noticeable.

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