Our coat rack died.

After years of service, it just gave in to the weight of coats and hats for 4 kids and 2 adults (and countless visitors).  RIP coat rack..  you were handy.

Anyway, moving on..   so, we needed a new coat rack recently, and I set out to build one.  On a google search for inspiration, I found a really simple tutorial and also came across ana-white.com for the first time!! (If you’ve not seen her site, I suggest you go there now and spend the afternoon.  She’s got TONS of plans for projects, and users can submit photos/comments about their builds etc.  It’s a great resource that I plan on taking full advantage of, and you should to!)

I looked around for several ideas, but the plan that Ana had was too simple and inexpensive to ignore, so I gave it a shot.  Overall, her tutorial is pretty complete, but I thought I’d photograph my build and show a little more specific info than she has.  I didn’t deviate too far from her design, but you could easily expand/change the design to fit you space and/or style.

I spent about $10 on wood.  I also bought some wood filler and spray paint, but those were things I needed anyway, so I didn’t include them in the cost of the project.

Here’s the materials list:

3  – 8ft 2″x2″

That's it. See why it was $10?

That’s it. See why it was $10?

To get started, I measured the height of our existing coat rack and just cut 1 2×2 to that height.  Then I figured that the “feet” should join the main trunk at about 12″, so I measure off 4 pieces to the correct length, marking for opposing 45 degree cuts on each end.

Simple 45 degree cuts, although you could make them any angle for more variation.

Simple 45 degree cuts, although you could make them any angle for more variation.

I also decided to fight my urge to over sand and smoothe out the wood.  2×2’s are kind of gnarly, so I just made sure that I sanded anything that might poke the kids, but didn’t worry about filling ever gouge or  rounding every edge, in the spirit of “it’s a tree.. you don’t sand trees.” (Mainly, it saved me lots of work.)

One big point is that most lumber comes with rounded edges to begin with, but since I was trimming the 2×2’s down to a 1.5×1.5 (for the branches) I ended up with 3 sharp corners and 1 rounded corner. This would look horrible, so I took a plane to the trimmed 2×2 before I cut them down to individual pieces.  This rounded all of the edges close enough that it looked fairly consistent.


After ripping the 2×2 to a 1.25 square, roughly plane the corners down.

All of the remaining “branches” were just cut to taste.  I wanted the lower branches to have vertical pieces to hold the kids hats, as well as their jackets. and I added more branches up top than we really needed, just because it looked better.

All the pieces, ready for assembly.

All the pieces, ready for assembly.

Once all of the pieces were cut, I attached the feet, so that I could get it standing. This was as simple as using an extra 2×4 as a “floor” to that all of the feet landed in the same place, and the rack would stand straight(-ish). I marked a line for reference, then used the countersink bit from my Kreg jig to make holes that would reach into the trunk. NOTE: I tried to use my jig to make real pocket holes, but the angle of the hole/length of the screw just didn’t work correctly.  Since it was all going to be filled in with wood filler, I just did a freehand drilled hole.

I ended up using 2 screws and wood glue on each foot as well, to stop them from spinning.  I used finishing brads for the same purpose on the upper branches, but for the feet, it seemed worthwhile to make it strong.

Make sure the feet are level with each other, otherwise you'll have a leaning tree.

Make sure the feet are level with each other, otherwise you’ll have a leaning tree.

I followed the same drilling, gluing and screwing method for the upper branched, plus the aforementioned brad reinforcements. The placement of these was interesting to figure out, but it’s just about how you want it to look, so go nuts.  Also, for the mid branches, with the vertical “hat rack”, I found it easier to attach those before attaching the branch to the main trunk.

Brads from the side stop the upper branches from spinning.

Brads from the side stop the upper branches from spinning.

That was it for construction! It literally took about 30/40 minutes and used only a few tools!

Only used basic tools (forgot to photograph my drill..oops)

Only used basic tools (forgot to photograph my drill..oops)

Then came the wood filler to hide the rough and plentiful screw holes.  In the past, I’ve always used wood filler that came in a tub or bucket, and when I went to use it this time, it was all crusty and dried out around the edges, with nasty separated filler in the middle.  This has happened to me over and over. A quick trip to the store and I came home with this..  it’s normal filler, but in a TUBE!! GENIUS!!  I highly recommend it (or any other that’s in a tube)

Wood filler in a tube. Wish I'd known about that years ago.

Wood filler in a tube. Wish I’d known about that years ago.

I intentionally didn’t work hard at sanding so that these spots would blend in with the semi rough surfaces of the 2×2.  The holes got hidden really well, and after primer and paint, are completely unnoticeable.

For paint, we went with red, since we have a few bright red accent pieces in our house. Now, the trouble with red paint is that generally, it doesn’t cover well and you have to do several coats.  The primer you use will almost always show through, so you can’t really use white. Tinting primer seems ridiculous to me, but it helped on some chairs that we painted red years ago. Even after several coats, red paint has always been inconsistent and generally a pain.  For some reason, we tried again, but this time, I went with spray paint to save the work of brushing around all of the many surfaces on this coat tree.  I picked up some Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint in Gloss Red, for no particular reason. Sure, it said “ULTRA COVER – 2X COVERAGE” on the front, but yeah right… it’s spray paint.  Well, I was wrong.  This paint did a FANTASTIC job of covering, over white primer even! Great coverage, nice glossy finish, and it lost that tacky feeling that spray usually carries as soon as it dried.  I know it’s just spray paint, but I was highly impressed.

All finished, and VERY red.

All finished, and VERY red.

That was it! Overall, this is a very simple (and cheap) project but something that made our entryway a little nicer, and ultimately something that will get a TON of use.

If you end up building one, or have improvements and ideas, let me know!

Here’s the finished product!


Also, what do you think about this format for ILTMS Project posts? Too much detail? Need more detail? Photos?

Let me know in the comments.