If you live in an older home or a space such as a studio apartment or loft, you know that closet space can sometimes be nonexistent. Oftentimes, corners or unused bedrooms can become makeshift closets. When that happens, a rolling clothing rack is a lifesaver.
A heavy-duty, well-built garment rack that looks good in your home's interior is hard to come by and, if you do eventually find one, it will cost a pretty penny. So, why not build your own? While you're at it, throw some casters on it so it can roll out of sight when you want to hide it. This DIY clothing rack takes less than 30 minutes to assemble and is strong enough to hold anything you want to put on it (heavy winter coats included). Best of all, black-iron pipe construction gives this clothing rack a gorgeous industrial look that fits into any interior.
Before You Begin
Before buying supplies, determine how big or small your specific clothing rack needs to be. The 4-foot width and 6-foot height of this clothing rack can be adjusted to fit in your space. Simply lengthen or shorten the sides and top and bottom pipe sections, but plan on the same fittings. Additionally, the 5-inch nipples could be swapped for longer ones, which would give the clothing rack more stability if you were storing heavier items.
If you can't decide on size, keep in mind that you can easily increase the size of this clothing rack at a later date by adding some pipe and fittings.
Equipment / Tools
- Pipe wrench
- Channel locks
- Nitrile gloves
- 2 4-foot, 1/2-inch threaded both ends black iron pipe
- 2 6-foot, 1/2-inch threaded both ends black iron pipe
- 6 1/2-inch black iron pipe elbows
- 4 1/2-inch black iron pipe tees
- 2 2-inch black iron pipe nipples
- 2 3-inch black iron pipe nipples
- 4 5-inch black iron pipe nipples
- 2 1/2-inch black iron pipe unions
- 4 3/4-inch expandable stem casters
- Paste finishing wax
How to Build a Clothing Rack
Follow these steps to assemble a rolling garment rack made from pre-threaded black iron pipe.
Assembling the garment rack from the bottom up will be the quickest and easiest method. Start by screwing a 5-inch nipple into opposing sides of a tee, then screwing a 3-inch nipple into the top of the tee. Repeat with the second tee and remaining nipples.
Screw Elbows Into Place
At the end of each 5-inch nipple, screw an elbow in place until it faces opposite the direction of the top of the tee.
Connect Bottom Sides
At the exposed end of each 3-inch nipple, screw another tee into place. Connect the two bottom sides by screwing a 4-foot section of pipe into the end of each tee. Screw a 2-inch nipple and one half of a union fitting in the remaining open end of the tee. The end result should be a base that sits on four feet with two open union halves facing upward. Adjust each elbow until they each face the floor.
To ensure each fitting faces the exact direction necessary, use a pipe wrench or channel locks to tighten as needed.
Tighten the nut on the expansion stem casters until the rubber gasket tightly fits into the end of each elbow and slide into place. Set completed lower section aside.
Assemble Top Section
Screw the remaining elbows into the ends of the remaining 4-foot section of pipe, and screw the 6-foot sections of pipe into the other side of the elbows. Screw the other half of the union fittings into the lower ends of the 6-foot pipe.
Set the top half of the clothes rack onto the bottom half and tighten unions together.
Clean With Acetone
In a well-ventilated area, wipe down the entirety of the clothing rack with acetone to remove any oily residue from the pipe.
Acetone can cause skin irritation: Wear gloves for protection.
Seal With Wax
Wipe on and buff out paste finishing wax to seal the pipe and protect your clothing from rust and oil stains.
How to Increase the Size of Your Clothing Rack
Follow these steps to increase the size of your black iron clothing rack.
Remove Top Half From Bottom Half
Unscrew union fittings on each side to separate the top half from the bottom half. Unscrew one side of each 4-foot section of pipe and place the removed side of both halves on the ground (this will be much easier with a helping hand).
Install Tees and Union
Screw a tee into the end of each 4-foot pipe, facing the bottom tee upward and top downward. In the top of the lower section tee add a 2-inch nipple and one half of a union. Screw the other half of the union into one end of another 6-foot pipe, and screw the other end of the pipe into the bottom of the top tee.
Add Section and Reassemble
At the end of each tee, add another 4-foot pipe section. Reassemble the removed sides of clothing rack at the other end of the new 4-foot sections.
Reconnect Top and Bottom Halves
Set top half of clothes rack onto bottom half and tighten unions together.
Clean and Wax
Clean the new section with acetone and follow up with paste finishing wax.
How Often to Reapply Wax
There is no set interval for reapplying wax to black iron pipe. Simply pay attention to the pipe to ensure it isn't rusting or leaving residue on your clothing. Furthermore, consult the instructions on your specific paste wax for reapplication.
"Acetone." OSH Answers Fact Sheets, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.