I am really excited to share this post with you since I think this idea can really be useful for a lot of people.

I never used to lay my shirts out flat to dry, but after becoming completely frustrated with my shirts shrinking (that I had specifically bought for their long length), I started laying all of my shirts flat to dry.  This has been great for solving the shrinking problem, but then I had a new problem of trying to dry a lot of shirts all of  the time.

So, I did what most people do –  I would try to arrange them in a single layer on top of my washer and dryer.  That is great for one or two shirts, but more than that and they overlap and take forever to dry!

Here is my laundry room before.  I am really fortunate to have a pretty large laundry room.   (My laundry room has been half-painted like this for 10 years.  Yep, I started painting it when I was pregnant with my oldest, but since I was hugely pregnant at the time, it was getting hard to reach the corners, so I just stopped, and obviously never started again!)

Laundry Room - Before

The laundry room already had this one wire shelf running the length of the wall above the washing machine.

Laundry - Before Top Shelf

I had been using this over-the-toilet shelving unit (from my college days) to hang shirts and as extra shelving.  It worked great.

Laundry Hanging Shirts - Before

This metal shelving unit that used to be in my pantry was being used for sheets/blankets.  It fit pretty great into this little corner section of the laundry room.  (Yes, that is one of my cabbage patch dolls from when I was a kid – my sons stashed it there for who-knows-why)

Laundry - Before Linen Shelves

As I was rotating my shirts on top of my washer and dryer the other day (so that they could dry out), I started thinking that I needed a better solution to my problem.  After some searching on Pinterest, I found some ideas.

I LOVED the idea of pull-out drying shelves, but by the time you purchase all of the slide-out hardware and shelving, it starts becoming  a very expensive project.

I knew I wanted a few things:

  • A minimum of 5 drying racks
  • The ability to easily lay out the shirts to dry (either pull-out shelves or shelves I could remove)
  • Each rack had to be big enough to accommodate adult-sized clothes
  • To be as affordable as possible

I had used the ALGOT shelving system from IKEA for my dining room shelving project, and I completely fell in love with it.  With some rearranging, I was able to get everything I was looking for in my new shelving.

I installed two “wall uprights” (that is what the part that attaches to the wall is called) and bought six sets of brackets.   The measurements I have are for racks that are 32 inches wide by 24 inches deep.

Laundry - After Shelf Brackets

To build the racks, I cut up my children’s old crib.  Of course, you can just go to the store and buy lumber as well.   (You can use some very inexpensive wood for this project since it is for drying racks and nothing too fancy.)

Crib Rails

Cut Rails for Racks

I use my garage as my workspace – I don’t see any point in trying to keep the garage floor perfect.  It is going to get dirty and oil spots/stains on it anyway, so just go with it!  I spray paint directly on it all of the time, saving me from the bother of using newspaper.

For this project, I penciled my measurements directly onto the garage floor, giving me a convenient guide for making my drying racks.  This way, I don’t have to measure each individual one.

Rack Guide on Garage Floor

I laid the wood over my template and then nailed it together.  A couple of things here:  I was using my crib slats, so I was limited on the length.  They were just slightly shorter than I needed, so I had to do the corners like this.  Also, this wood was SO HARD, so I nailed them together instead of using screws since I didn’t want to bother predrilling holes.  You will want a support across the middle as well to help avoid sagging when a heavy sweater is placed on the fabric.

Lay out Rack on Guide

I used a combination of glue and nails.  It is important to remember that you will need to nail in two places at each connection point to keep it from moving.  (if you only use one nail, it can become like a pivot point and rotate).


After the corners were nailed together, I trimmed the extra pieces that were sticking out.

Trim Corners

When it came to fabric to attach to the racks, I used some old sheer curtains that used to be in my dining room.  They worked perfectly.   I just used good old hot glue to attach them!

Hot glue old curtain

As you can see, it is not super pretty, but it works!

Curtain hot glued on

I was able to cover all six of my racks with curtains to spare!

Completed drying racks

And now, for the completed project!!!  Finished Laundry Room

Drying Racks - top view

I take a rack out and set it on my washing machine so that I can arrange the shirt that needs to dry.  Then, easy-peasy, I place it on the rack to dry!

Laying Shirt to Dry

While I was doing this project, I also went ahead and installed additional shelving.

I cannot tell you how much I love these cardboard bin boxes.  They are one of my organizing secret weapons.


Finished Laundry Room

I have always just written directly on the box with Sharpie, but then I couldn’t change it!  I covered up all of the old writing with white sticker labels, and then I used chalkboard tape to put labels that are very easy to change when needed.

Laundry Room - Finished Shelving

These shelves fit perfectly in the space, and unlike the old shelving I had in this spot, I am able to use the entire height of the wall.

Laundry Room - Finished Side View Shelving

I also installed a very narrow shelf above my washing machine and dryer.  It is only 7″ deep, so it still allows me to open my washing machine lid without hitting anything.  (for this post, I went ahead and spray-painted the ice cream bucket that has my homemade detergent)

Narrow Shelf

You know it is a good project when even your son says “Wow Mom, this looks great!”

Laundry Room - Finished
 Drying Racks



It has been about a year since I put in these shelves.  They have worked great.  I did begin to have a problem with the brackets being a little wobbly and bending outwards.  This made them wider and then the shelves would fall off.  I solved this problem very cheaply – I used clear packing tape to hold the brackets together.    I ran the tape from one bracket to the other at about the center point.   This has solved the problem and is hidden by the shelves.

14 Thoughts on “DIY Sweater Drying Racks

  1. You are not normal, in the BEST WAY. Hurray for solution finders! I’ve been draping my lay flat to dries over my bannister for years, so we always look like a Hooverville shack. At my new house I have a big laundry room next to the garage so I’m going to make it my command center. This is perfect and should fit right be my desk.

  2. Pina on March 3, 2017 at 7:01 pm said:

    This is an absolutely perfect solution! Congrats, your laundry room is not only more functional, it also looks gorgeous, with all the additional shelves and the new labels. I am going to copy your idea/s. Just discovered your blog through Pinterest while looking for drying racks. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • Rachel on March 7, 2017 at 11:39 am said:

      I am so glad that you found this post useful!!! My blog doesn’t get a lot of traffic, so I am thrilled you found me through Pinterest! I hope you find some other posts useful, too!

  3. Natalia on April 1, 2017 at 4:58 pm said:

    I am very impressed with the solution to slats being too short… genius! You laundry looks so organised that it must be a pleasure to use it!

    • Rachel on April 9, 2017 at 10:06 pm said:

      Natalia, Thanks so much for commenting on this post! I have been on vacation and only returned tonight. I couldn’t help but laugh that you said it must be a pleasure to use the laundry room since we all know pleasure and laundry don’t usually go together!! That said, it is true that having an organized laundry room makes the never-ending task of laundry much better! Thanks so much for checking out my blog and I hope you have a wonderful day!

  4. Where did you get your brackets? I only see 15″ from IKEA

  5. I think we share the same brain when it comes to using what’s available to get the job done. You did an awesome job. I love the boxes you used. Where did you find them?

  6. Wow! Kudos for your great solution! I too dry my sweaters flat and have been using a countertop for years. I just love how many shelves you were able to fit into the space. Well done.

  7. Cassandra on July 17, 2019 at 1:23 am said:


    I just found this via Pinterest. I like those U-line bins – thank you for the link.
    I love your solution, however, I’m missing something that may be obvious: how are the racks attached to the brackets? And do they slide out or……? It seems like it might be hard to balance them appropriately on the thin edge of the brackets, with the edge of the rack also being thin.

    • Rachel on July 17, 2019 at 9:16 am said:

      Cassie, the racks simply sit on me brackets. You are correct that it did become a problem after a while with the rack staying on the brackets. Because the brackets only attached to the wall, the brackets did have about an inch or two of movement. After a while, they would splay in an outward trajectory and then my racks would fall off. I solved this problem by running packing tape from one bracket to the other, holding them towards each other versus having them splay outwards from each other. Then my racks set perfectly on my brackets again. I utilize these racks weekly. As I did not build them in a super sturdy fashion, I am very gentle with them. Now that I have been using them for multiple years, if I were to build them again, I would put the supporting brace going the long direction instead of the short direction. This would allow the supporting brace to rest on the brackets, giving better support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation