DIY Pull Down Drying Rack

It’s laundry room tutorial time!  I’m starting off with one of my favorite projects in the room: the drying rack.  We wanted a simple look that would fit the color scheme and feel of the rest of the room.

Supplies needed:

  • sisal rope
  • 2″ strips of wood {we used MDF} to the size you want
  • plastic dowels {wood would work too}
  • trim
  • nail gun
  • level
  • drill
  • screws
  • miter saw
  • hinges

Mike started this project while I ran to the store for more supplies so I don’t have a picture of the first step, but we first measured the wall and decided on our size {27″ x 27″}.  Mike cut 4 pieces of the MDF {leftover from our built-in bookcases} to size, angled the corners on the miter saw at 45 degrees:

so the angles would meet up…

and nailed it together.

After he had the outside box built, we laid out the plastic dowels to make sure they would fit.  They needed to be a little bit smaller than the box we just built so they would fit into the inside box.  It’ll all make sense soon:)

Then we made the inside box {where the dowels will attach to} only a little smaller than the outside box {about 25 1/2″ x 25 1/2″}.  Once we had all the wood cut and built into boxes, Mike had to make the holes for the dowels to fit into.  He measured across the side bars and spaced out where the bars will sit.  He traced the dowels to make sure they would fit.

All traced, the bars looked like this.

Then Mike took his drill and notched out holes where he drew circles for the dowels to sit in.

Both bars need to line up across from each other to fit the dowels straight into.

We sat the bars into their notches and nailed the inner box together just as we did the outer box.  Then I painted everything with leftover Elephant Skin paint from the cabinets.  Then we took them both inside.  Mike marked the studs on the wall, held up the outer box to make sure it was level and then screwed it into the studs in the walls.

Once the outer box was attached, we added the hinges.  Mike pre-drilled the hinge holes on the bottom of the outer box and also on the bottom of the inner box where the hinges would attach.


And attached the hinge to both pieces.

At this point, the inside box will pull down and will stay up on its own.  However, when it comes down, the hinges would allow it to go all the way down against the wall, which would do us no good to dry clothes.  So we had bought some sisal rope to keep it out straight when it was in use.  Mike drilled 2 holes in the top of the outer box.

And then did the same thing on the top of the inner box and brought the rope through and tied a knot in both holes.

The last step was to add some trim to the top.  We used some scrap trim we had in our wood pile in the garage and Mike nailed it in place with the nail gun.

This project took a couple of hours and cost about $4 for trim and sisal rope {everything else we had on hand}.  You could add some bead board or back board to the wall to add a little more interest or use chain instead of rope.  Lots of options here!



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  1. This is great! I may try it, but using high test fishing line instead of rope or maybe a retractable line if I’m feeling really ambitious.

    • Thats’s a great idea! Let me know if it works out!

      • Linda Mitchell says:

        I love this idea. I think I put a picture/poster on the outside of the box. That way when it isn’t in use I will just look like a picture on the wall.

  2. Maggie B. says:

    Such a good idea, I always need more drying space.

  3. Thank you for such an incredibly detailed tutorial! This has been on my to-do list (I recently revamped my laundry room) but I’m still a novice at building things and your pics are a great help! Pinning so I can work up the courage to try and make this!

  4. Great idea. I’m always running out of hangers or having clothes hanging in doorways!

  5. I’m SOOOOO glad I found this!! My husband has been nagging at me to do something about all of my clothes that are hung all over our house while they dry… looks like I have my weekend project!!

  6. Great idea! I so want one of these for my laundry room! Thanks for sharing.

  7. PERFECT! Crossing my fingers you’ll share at my party! Saturdays at Seven!

    XO, Aimee

  8. I need a big one of this!

  9. Love this idea, but how do I “pin” it?

    • Thanks, Rita! There is a “Pin it” button near the bottom of the post, under the pictures of the other posts you may like. Let me know if I can help!

  10. That’s a great looking rack and awesome tutorial, thanks! I’ve got this linked to my drying racks post too today, well done!

  11. This is FABULOUS! Featuring you today! XO, Aimee

  12. How do you get it to stay closed? Sorry for the silly question, but going to make this today and I am such a novice DIY! Love it though, hope mine turns out just as good.

    • Because it is nice and snug, when you push it up, it stays closed. Just make sure you take good measurements so that it fits in there tightly!

  13. Thanks for this tutorial! I’m going to ask someone about making one for me but I need to reverse this so it opens on the top side but am not sure how to make it stay open. I want to use it to hang clothes on hangers as I take them out of the dryer.

  14. How do you get it to stay closed? Sorry for the silly question, but going to make this today and I am such a novice DIY! Love it though, hope mine turns out just as good.

  15. This is great and gave me a wonderful idea. My husband likes to make his own pasta and this would be a great way for it to have somewhere to dry.

    • Jess Gregg says:

      Omg Tammy! Absolutely genius way to dry the pasta!!! Well since I can’t have this for my laundry dungeon maybe a nice rack for drying pasta!! Great way to think outside the box! Or rack rather lol

  16. Have you been able to hang jeans and other clothes on hangers from the dowel rods? If so, has the rack been able to support the weight? What is the height of the bottom of the rack frame from the floor? I was thinking about using an old window but it needs to be able to pull away from the wall, support the weight and tall enough to not have jeans drag the floor but low enough to lay a sweater out on. Nice job! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Does the rack support the weight of hanging jeans? How far is the bottom of the frame from the floor? Nice job!

  18. Sandy Stephens says:

    I LOVE this idea! We have a small laundry room and this would be a perfect fit in there to have a place to hang clothes that either come out of the dryer OR something that need to hang to dry. QUESTION: About how much weight will this hold? Great job! My clothes usually go out on the line to dry, but there are times when you just have to use the dryer or delicates need to dry on a rack…..

  19. Jess Gregg says:

    I want this so bad it hurts me! My laundry room is in the dungeon aka the stone basement of an antique home built in 1880. Tell me how I can have nice things like this!!!! If I tried to drill into the stone, I do believe the house would cave in. What’s a girl to do? Ughhh
    Nice job for yours though, I’m really envious

  20. You said “Mike drilled two holes in the top of the outer box” but you didn’t say how he attached the rope to this piece. Based on the pictures, it doesn’t seem that it could have been attached the same way he did the rope tie to the inner box. Can you elaborate? Thanks.

  21. 2 lengths 3×1
    2 or 3 broom handles.
    4 large hooks
    Length of rope.

    Attach hooks to wall at bottom and top of expected frame. Cut broom handles in half. Place the 2 lengths of 3×1 side by side. Drill holes through one piece and partway through other to accept broom handle. Maybe alternate which side gets the hole all the way through. Glue and screw broom handles in place. Where hole is all way through side, drill pilot hole and insert small screw from below. Where hole is partway, drill pilot hole into side of wood into end of broom handle.
    Attach rope to topmost piece of broom handle at either side and simply loop over top hooks.
    When not in use, the frame simply hangs by the rope from top hooks. To use, lift bottom of frame and slot onto bottom hooks then allow frame to lean forwards.
    Alternatively, you can buy drying frames for over the bath. Just needs 4 hooks and rope.


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