Thursday, July 12, 2012

DIY clothes drying rack

These clothes drying racks are very popular in Europe but I found them very hard to come by here in Australia. Down under everyone seems to have a lot of living space, a garden and nice weather so I guess maximising on space isn't such an issue.

Since I moved into the apartment above the shop I have been becoming re-accustomed to living small again. To give you some perspective on the scale of homes in Australia, at my housewarming a visiting friend from London commented on what a spacious apartment this was for just myself, whereas local friends commented on how small and cute it was! Ah, cultural differences... don't you love em!?

What to I do have are nice tall ceilings and a sunny aspect and I have built my own ceiling hoisted drying rack to make the most of the warm air and tall ceilings.

Here's how I did it.

I bought the timber from my local hardware store in these ready dressed (smooth, planed strips)lengths of pine. They came in 1.2m lengths so that's what I went with. I used 4 strips longwise as the part to hang clothes on and cut a 5th in half to make the cross pieces holding the lot together.

I spaced the strips evenly along the crossbars and drilled a pilot hole through the crossbar and into each strut to avoid splitting and then drilled up into the strips using brass pine screws (they look cute and wont rust so easily). Having the struts sitting ON the crossbars means they won't pull off with the weight of wet laundry.

I then cut 2 lengths of rope each a meter long and tied each piece to each end of the crossbars at the corners. I then cut the rest of the rope into 2 lengths, each about 8 meters long.... they need to be long so that you can lower the rack down to fill and empty it. I initially had awesome fluro rope but it was too narrow and kept slipping off the pulley so substituted with this thick and cheap poly rope.

Into the ceiling screw 2 large hooks parallel to each other and the same distance apart as the rack is long. I have lining boards on my ceilings (wooden boards) so I pre-drilled and screwed them straight in. If you have a drywall/plasterboard ceiling you will need to find the joists to screw into as this will be heavy when it's filled with wet washing.
(pulley placement n stuff)

Onto those hooks, hang a pulley on each. One pulley needs to be single, the other double (2 places to slot rope through). Thread the rope on one end of the rack through the single pulley, then also thread it through the double pulley so it runs along the ceiling for the length of the rack. The other rope needs only threading through the double pulley.

Screw a fixing or hook to the wall so you can wrap and secure the rope whilst the rack is hoisted up. Pull the 2 ropes so that they are even in length and taught, hoist the rack to a good height for filling it with laundry and tie a knot in the right place to pop it onto the hook to stop it lowering. You can then cut off any extra rope after this knot. Then hoist it to the roof and do the same, knotting so it can be secured.

Phew... that was hard to explain... I hope it made sense?! This rack is fantastic for drying towels and sheets that take up so much drying space, I can walk straight under them without even noticing they are there! My mum has low ceilings and hers works just as well.

Please feel free to ask any questions if these instructions aren't clear. If it all seems a little hard you can buy a hand-crafted one here.