Upcycled Coat Racks

Written by  Rachael Ranney Wed Feb 29 2012 Last modified on Mon Jul 01 2013

Find out, step by step, how to create two very different DIY coat racks using both natural and recycled materials. Watch {Re}habitat, Rachael Ranney’s online video series, to learn how adaptive reuse can add fun and function to your space.

I am constantly looking for ways to create new and inexpensive storage for my small home. Throughout the winter and spring months here in the Midwest, my house is always cluttered with a flurry of coats, gloves, and other cold weather gear. Installing a coat rack near your front door will add storage capacity to your entryway and can help you to clear up some of the chaos.

These projects require some basic DIY tools and materials as well as tree branches, scrap wood or reclaimed trim, and wooden hangers. Either of these coat racks will add style and function to your space at hardly any cost, but one is rustic in its appeal while the other has a more polished look. Choose the one that suits your style.

Rustic Branch Coat Rack

This project has fulfilled my enduring need to bring the great outdoors into my space and incorporates the rustic look and textures of natural branches. Here’s the breakdown of my project in five simple steps.

  1. Collect branches. You will need seven to 12 fallen branches with sturdy offshoots to create the “hooks” for your coat rack. Try to gather branches that are not wet or rotten. Allow the branches to dry for at least two weeks before you begin building.

  2. Select and cut wood for the frame. I chose to use a piece of reclaimed trim and cut two 30” pieces and two 9 1/2” pieces to create the frame of my coat rack. (It goes without saying that you should measure the space available in your entryway before deciding the dimensions of your coat rack.)

  3. Rachael Ranney assembling an upcycled tree branch coat rack
  4. Construct the frame. Run a thin bead of wood glue along the edges of the trim, assemble the frame, and use clamps to hold everything together. Be sure that your frame has square corners before driving two wood screws into each joint. Allow the frame to dry completely.

  5. Cut and trim the branches. Using a saw, I cut my branches to a length of 8”. Be sure to cut each end square so that the branches will fit flush within the frame. You will need to take into account the unique bends in each branch before making your final cut. To trim the cut branches, use a utility knife to trim off any knots, bark, or offshoots that you don’t want to use as hooks. Sand and smooth all of the cut ends and the “hooks” on your branches.

  6. Rachael Ranney assembling an upcycled tree branch coat rack Rachael Ranney assembling an upcycled tree branch coat rack Upcycled tree branch coat rack
  7. Attach the branches to the frame. Arrange your branches according to how you would like your hooks to be laid out. Once you have determined where each branch will go, begin attaching them one by one. Thinly spread glue on the top and bottom of a branch. Fit it into the frame. Then drive a finishing nail through each end to secure it. Repeat this process until you have filled the frame with branches.

Repurposed Hanger Coat Rack

This repurposed hanger coat rack is very inexpensive and easy to make. Keep your eyes open at antique malls and flea markets for funky vintage wooden hangers (many bear advertisements from the last century). Follow these four simple steps.

  1. Trim the hangers and prep the reclaimed hard wood. Using a carpenter’s square, mark a 90 degree angle just behind the hooks so that they will lie flush against the backboard and cut each hanger on that line. Sand and paint or finish the wood that you will use as the base for your coat rack.

  2. Lay out the “hooks.” Using your tape to measure, space your cut hangers on the reclaimed hard wood, which will serve as the base of your coat rack. Bear in mind that spacing matters both horizontally and vertically. I chose to place my hangers about 2” from the bottom of the board, leaving a little more space along the top. Use a pencil to trace around each hanger.

  3. Drill pilot holes for your screws through the base and into the hangers. Erase any pencil marks after you drill your pilot holes.

  4. Attach the hangers. Apply a thin layer of wood glue to the bottom of each hanger and mount it to the base of your coat rack. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, drive the screws through the pilot holes in the base and into your hangers.

  5. repurposed hanger coat rack repurposed hanger coat rack repurposed hanger coat rack

Whether you prefer a rustic look or a more urban appeal, these two DIY coat racks can add some unique winter storage to any entryway.

Leave a comment about your own repurposed storage projects!

Rachael Ranney

Rachael Ranney

Rachael Ranney is the host and one of the creative forces behind the sustainable design and home décor series {Re}habitat on Buildipedia.com. This environmentally friendly how-to series focuses on repurposing salvaged, vintage, and recycled furniture and house wares in your home and garden.

As a lifetime treasure hunter, Rachael grew up scouring Midwest flea markets and thrift shops for unique and beautiful pieces. Raised among tinkerers and artists to value sustainable design, she is constantly pushing herself to see the beauty and possibilities within forgotten things.

Constantly inspired by the online green design and DIY communities, Rachael never stops searching for new projects and materials, discovering how to apply green practices everyday to her home and life.