A Towel/Coat Rack

We’re in the second home we’ve bought, and it’s the second home I’ve moved into that had the towel bars ripped off the walls. Am I the only one? I’ve never really seen the point of patching those holes because you can’t put a new towel bar up in the same spot, and chances are extremely likely that a new towel bar will also be torn out of the wall. Studs are your friend, but I’ve never found a towel bar that is 16 or 32 inches wide (16 inches is the space between studs) or the studs are never in the place I’d really like my towel bar to be.

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Holes in the wall and a cute helper

That’s when I came up with this solution. It was for our first house. We had way less money (like, none), so I used a couple of scrap pieces of cedar my father-in-law gave me and the cheapest hooks I could find at Walmart. And it was amazing! Little hands (and big) can hang towels up easily, instead of shoving them through a small space and … pulling the bar off the wall.

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This time I decided to up the fancy factor a little with some trim. It required some miter work, but it’s really easy.

I stopped in at my local lumber store to price out the lumber I would need. I originally thought I’d use something like poplar, but at $20 for a six foot length, I decided pine would be just fine. And here’s a tip. When you’re picking out your pine (ALWAYS pick your own!) set it on the ground and eyeball it to make sure it’s straight. A bow in it is ok, but sometimes there are boards that decide to take a little trip off in one direction. You don’t want that. I picked a six foot long 1×8 and paid $5.44.

Here’s where I decided to spend a little money that was unnecessary. I picked out a beautiful piece of hemlock crown at $2.73 a foot. I ended up needing seven feet since I didn’t pre-think my cuts, so that was almost $20. I could have definitely used an MDF trim, or even a pre-primed pine. But since it was going in a bathroom, I didn’t want to have to worry about MDF swelling, and I loved this one, so there you go.

Now to the fun stuff.

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Power tools! A miter saw is really helpful for this. You’ll also want a power drill/driver with both a drill bit and a driver head, a stud finder, and a level.

I wanted my board to be 5 1/2 feet long, so I took six inches off my pine board and primed it and the trim board, plus added a couple coats of paint. (Sherwin Williams ProClassic in Extra White Semi-Gloss. I asked what would dry the hardest and they said this is recommended for trim doors. On sale, of course.)

When the paint was dry (it needs four hours between coats and being handled) I marked the studs on the wall, put the board up with a level on top, and screwed the board to the wall at the studs, placing the screws where the trim would cover. I’ve also done this where I attached the trim and then mounted the whole thing to the wall, but then I had to countersink the screw heads and cover them, and I didn’t like that as much.

I should have taken a picture of this step, but doing it all myself and then remembering to photograph it as well was more than my frazzled brain could handle.

Since the board is up, now let’s cut some trim. I wasn’t using my full brain for this part either and had to go get an extra foot of the trim. I could have definitely done it with what I had if I had thought it out a little before.

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Here’s a really fancy and professional sketch of what I’m talking about. Also, extremely to scale. Make your cuts so you end up cutting a V out, and you’ll have very little waste. Those two side pieces at the shortest part will be the length of the side of your board. If you’re using 1x, it’ll be 3/4″.

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See that crescent shaped ruler at the front of saw? That’s how you’ll set your angle. Now stretch your brain to your high school geometry class, or just trust me, that you need to set it to 45 degrees. And here’s where it can get a little tricky. Honestly, it’s easiest to draw your cut lines on you board before you bring it to this point, because trying to visualize angles and cut lines is tough! At least for me.

Also, notice that there are two marks with 45 degrees on them. That is so you can set your angle to the right direction. If you drawn your lines, you’ll be good to go. Oh, and draw the lines one at a time, to account for blade width. It’ll take off a hair more than your pencil line. And you want your blade to cut just on the pencil line so you can almost still see it on your finished piece. I’m so bossy! But this will make for less filling in the end.

My saw has a red button that I push down and then turn to whatever angle I need. Yours should be similar. Go ahead and make a cut.

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If I had been smart in the very first place, I wouldn’t have been cutting this extra foot of trim I had to go buy. If I had learned my lesson in the second place, I would have only had to make one cut. But, alas, I’m not and I didn’t. Two cuts for me. Live and learn and then pass your knowledge along.

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Now we’re going to attach the trim! Exciting stuff. I highly recommend drilling a tiny hole in the small pieces so you don’t split the wood in half. Again, from experience. I was just smart enough to learn from it the first time this time.

Ah, a nice blurry picture of glue. But seriously, use it. Trust me. Then put in a nail (or a few if you’re nailing the long piece) and sink all your nails.

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Like so. If you don’t have a nail sink, you can use another nail to tap that nailhead in.

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Fill your the nail holes and those pesky gaps between your never perfectly cut joints, let it dry, sand, repeat, then touch up paint.

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While I was waiting for the whole filling/drying/sanding/repeat process to be done, I chose some pretty hooks and put those up. These are from Walmart. I think they’re pretty great, plus a much better price than the lumber store.

To get the right spacing, you need to divide the length of your board by the number of hooks plus one. Confusing, right? If you have eight hooks like I did, you’ll need nine spaces to get them even. Still confusing, but trust me. I measured it out about 6 times. I needed 7.33333333333333 inches between my hooks and that was not very fun to figure out because there is no such mark as .3 inches in American measurement. I should have used metric.

Once all your measuring, drilling, attaching, filling, drying, sanding, touch-up painting, and drying are done, you’ll have a great towel hook rack for your bathroom! Or back hall!

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Where all your kids snow coats and pants hang are still hanging from that one day when you got half an inch of really wet snow and they had to go sledding!

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Ain’t it purty? And Brandon only mocked me a few times about needing 20 kids so it’ll get full. He’s so funny.

 

 

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