Fold-Down Laundry Drying Rack

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buildsomething added on 2/19/2019

This wall-mounted laundry drying rack offers almost 20 feet of clothesline for air-drying clothes, all in a compact space. Plus, the rack folds flat against the wall so it’s out of the way when not in use. A couple of dowels and four boards, plus some clothesline, are all you need to build it.


Follow the steps below to complete this project.


Make the Rear Rails

Cut two Rear Rails from a 1x3 board, as shown in the cutting diagram. Then, with your Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig set for 3/4"-thick material, drill pocket holes at the ends of the Rails, as shown. Sand the faces and edges smooth.

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Make the Rear Stiles

Cut two Rear Stiles from a 1x3 board, as shown in the cutting diagram. Then drill pocket holes along one edge of each Stile, as shown. Sand the faces and edges smooth.

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Assemble the Rear Frame

Now you can position the Rear Stiles and Rear Rails as shown. Make sure that the pocket holes in the edges of the Stiles are pointing outward so that you can attach the Side Supports to them later. Attach the Rails to the Stiles using 1 1/4" coarse-thread Kreg pocket-hole screws.

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Make the Side Supports

Cut two Side Supports from a 1x3 board, as shown in the cutting diagram. At one end of each Support, drill a 1/4" hole where shown. Then, lay out the radius on two corners, as shown, and cut it using a jig saw. Then sand the faces, edges, and ends of the Sides Supports smooth.

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Attach the Side Supports

Now position the Side Supports against the edges of the Rear Stiles, as shown. Make sure both side supports are oriented with the holes at the same end. Attach the Side Supports to the Rear Stiles using 1 1/4" coarse-thread Kreg pocket-hole screws


Make the Arms

Next, cut two Arms to length from a 1x2 board, as shown in the cutting diagram. Now you can lay out the holes in the Arms. First, lay out and drill 3/4" holes near the ends. These will be used to hold the Cross Bars, which are made from 3/4"-diameter dowels. Then lay out the holes that the clothesline will pass through. We used paracord that measured about 4mm in diameter, so we drilled 3/16" holes for the cord to pass through. Finally, lay out the radiused ends on each Arm, and cut them using a jigsaw. Sand the faces, edges, and ends of each Arm smooth.

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Attach the Cross Bars

Now you can attach the Cross Bars. If you use 48" dowels, like we did, you won’t need to cut them to length, but you’ll want to sand the ends of the dowels smooth. To attach them, spread wood glue on about the last 1/2" of each dowel, and then slip the dowels into the Arms, as shown, making sure both Arms are oriented in the right direction. Insert the Cross bars so the ends of the dowels are flush with the outside faces of the Arms. Then drive 1" brads into the Cross Bars, as shown. A brad nailer makes this easy. If you don’t have access to one, you can drill small holes, and then pound the brads in with a hammer.


Drill a Couple Extra Holes

Before moving on, you need to drill an extra hole in each Arm, as shown. These extra holes allow you to weave the clothesline cord to the inside of each arm at the beginning and the end, and attach it using staples on this inside face where it won’t be as visible. Note that on one Arm the hole is at the front. The hole is at the back on the other Arm.


Stain the Drying Rack

Now is a good time to apply stain to the drying rack, before you install the clothesline cord. We chose a grey gel stain.

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Add the Clothesline Cord

When the stain dries you can weave the clothesline cord through the rack assembly, as shown in the illustration. Start by threading the cord through the extra hole in one Arm, and stapling it to the inside face of the Arm. Then, weave the cord through the holes from Arm to Arm. Pull the cord taut as you pass it through each hole. once you reach the final hole, pass the cord through the extra hole in that arm, and then staple it to the inside face.


Attach the Rack Assembly

To mount the rack assembly to the Side Supports, we used 1/4" x 2 1/2" bolts with locking nuts. Because the rack assembly is slightly narrower, we also stacked a few 1/4" washers between the Arm and Side Support at each end to fill in the gap. After you tighten the locking nuts to secure the rack assembly, install a lid support on each arm. We picked ours up at a local home center for just a few dollars each. Note when you buy these that they’re sold as right and left. You’ll want to use one of each so that the supports will fold and lock properly. Install the lid supports according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Mount the Rack to the Wall

Find a location on the wall that puts the drying rack at a comfortable height. Then locate wall studs. If possible, attach the drying rack to the wall by driving 2 1/2" deck screws through the Rear Rails and into the studs. If you can’t position the drying rack so that you are able to hit studs, use heavy-duty wall anchors.

Tools Used:

Materials Required:

Wood Products:

(1) 1x2, 72", Board  
(3) 1x3, 72", Board  
(2) 3/4" diameter, 48", Wood Dowel  


(18) 1 1/4" coarse-thread Kreg pocket-hole screws Shop Online
(1) wood glue Shop Online
(1) 50-foot coil of paracord Shop Online
(2) lid supports (one left, one right) Shop Online
(4) 1" brad nails  
(2) 1/4" x 2 1/2" lag bolts  
(2) 1/4" locking nuts  
(12) 1/4" flat washers  
(4) 2 1/2" deck screws  

Parts/Cut List:

(2) Rear Rail, 3/4" x 2 1/2" x 43 1/2" poplar  
(2) Rear Stile, 3/4" x 2 1/2" x 24" poplar  
(2) Side Support, 3/4" x 2 1/2" x 24" poplar  
(2) Arm, 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 24" poplar  
(2) Cross Bar, 3/4"-dia. x 48" poplar dowel  


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