An Easy Scrap Wood Project for the Back Yard
It’s a little bit early to use these, the inexpensive herbs and last of the season florals are thankfully three months away. These little herb and flower drying racks began as simple scrap wood projects but were too clunky and boring, so I added the feminine touches of the vintage utensil hooks and the botanical graphics.
How to Make DIY Drying Racks
These super simple shelf racks took no mechanical aptitude Leanna about two hours to put together, but they really should only take minutes. Sometimes you just have to be patient with yourself while you learn. Emphasis on being patient.
You will need at least three feet of 1 by 6 ” lumber for this wood project. Two old forks, leftover stain, and any botanical prints you like from the Graphics Fairy.
For finishing use sandpaper, stain or paint, and mod podge.
The purpose of my little drying rack was to practice some simple woodworking on my own and spend nothing. The colour of the paint, stain, etc can be changed to accommodate what you have on hand. The only thing you cannot substitute is Mod Podge.
The hangers are made using old forks.
Cutting the Lumber
I dug around and found three pieces of 1″ by 6″ lumber so I trimmed the longest piece to match the length of the second piece, that turned out to be 21″. Any length over 15″ will work. The third smallest piece I cut into two 6 inch sections.
Using a square to make sure the cuts are straight. Measure the 6″. Hubs doesn’t do it this way, he just measures and cuts on the chop saw. I found taking this extra step easier allowing me to concentrate on being safe with the chop saw.
Cut along the pencil mark being aware that the thickness of the saw blade will affect the length, so cut right on the line.
Side note: I actually cut two small one inch sections for a little extra detail as you see above. I sanded the little suckers using pliers to hold them. But in spite of six tries, every time I drilled the small piece into place the wood cracked. An hour of my time and an empty tank of patience, I eventually gave up and left it plain.
Assembling the Drying Rack
Measure six inches from the top and make a level pencil mark. Line up the short boards with the pencil mark.
Predrill the wood and then screw in place.
Sanding and Finishing
Sand very well with 80, 120, 150 and 220 grit sandpaper. If you don’t have these exact grits use what you have. Just sand it as best as you can with the grits of paper you have available. I wanted the finish on this rack to be as smooth as possible considering it started as plain scrap lumber. The finer the sanding the smoother the finish, I don’t think anyone would think of it as an easy scrap wood project that I made basically for free.
Once well-sanded paint or stain white. This one was done with white pickling stain. Let dry thoroughly, mine took an hour and only one coat.
Print out two botanical prints that you like. Printed on an inkjet and cut them into an oval shape.
Place the graphics on your frame where you like. Mine was an inch from the bottom. Make some light pencil marks on each side.
Place a thick coating of mod podge on the ink side of the graphics. Using the pencil marks as a guide lay the graphics face down. Use your hands to press out all the air bubbles, With a damp cloth remove the excess mod podge that squeezes out.
Let dry for 24 hours, and No Peeking.
Finishing the Graphics
After letting the graphics dry for a full day, soak them with water to soften the paper. Using a rag to start and then with your hand rub off the paper. The mod podge remains with the pattern embedded in it.
The Cutlery Hooks
When you pay nothing for the wood, why pay for hangars? Instead, I used some old mismatched forks I got from the thrift store for 25 cents each. I tried doing it with spoons as well and although the spoons bend really easily they were impossible to drill through. I recommend using forks and buying a couple extra to practice on.
Making a DIY Clamp
Bending the utensils is fun. You need a couple of wood clamps, a hard surface, a hammer and some pliers.
Place the forks face down on the hard surface. Place a dowel, or shovel or rack handle over the end of the utensils and clamp in place. Make sure to line up the utensils as evenly as possible.
Apply lots of pressure, its fun watching the metal fold while you do this.
Using the plier pick up the edge of the fork and fold it back. Once it’s started you can finish folding it over with your hands.
Remove the folded forks from the form. I was able to do this with my hands, except for one that had a weak spot. (You can see it at the end) After it was curved I hammed the kinks out of it.
Once the curved handle is done, remove the clamps. Reposition the fork and flatten it by applying pressure with the clamps. Finally, you can hammer the fork tongs flat if needed.
Attach the hangars to your flower drier with 3/4 inch screws. The forks tongs separate as you add the screws. Use needle nose pliers to pinch the fork tongs back into place. This prevents the fork from sliding off the screw, even if the weight of the drying flowers is light.
I thought the idea of a fork with herbs was cut, but you could skip the utensil folding by using a nail.
Add a Hanger
Finally, place a simple hanger onto the back. You can add string or any hangar you have around. I used these ones.
What do you think of the cottage look of these? Would you hang them indoors, and if so where? I have mine hanging outdoors on our patios privacy screen. I think they look pretty out there but not sure about indoors?
These little flower racks hang outside on our balcony. I have added some other related posts to show you how I updated what I had to make it cohesive for our new home.