Decorative Coat Rack From Found Objects

Just about everyone needs a coat rack in the foyer, by the mudroom, or in the workshop. Get creative and have some fun making your own! Finding and repurposing interesting old doorknobs, plumbing fixtures or tools is just part of the fun.
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Decorative Coat Rack from Found Objects
STEP 1. Find board for the base.
Find something with lots of character. Clean it up with water and a stiff brush, and let it dry.
True up the edge of your board
STEP 2. Mill and attach shelf.
Check for nails and remove any found metal. True up the edge of your board with a straightedge and a circular saw. Attach shelf using finish nails or for a stronger, more concealed joint, consider using a Kreg Jig and pocketholes.
A variety of inexpensive items can be used
STEP 3. Collect hangers for a decorative look.
For our coat rack, we used some interesting doorknobs and escutcheon plates found during one visit to a local flea market.
Disassemble and clean knobs and plates
The knobs and plates were disassembled, cleaned and then shot with a light coat of Watco Spray Lacquer in Semi-Gloss. The lacquer will stabilize any loose paint and cover any rust or dirt that might remain. Now you are ready to apply any color Milk Paint, stain or finish of your choice.
Prepare board by removing rough edges
STEP 4. Prepare board with desired finish.
The boards used in our demo project had a lot of rustic character that we wanted to keep. We lightly sanded the surface and burnished the edges to reduce the chance of splinters.
Add paint, stain or finish of your choice
The shelf was from a different species of wood and was significantly lighter in color than the base wood. We applied a few coats of Dark Oak Briwax to even out the color of the shelf and applied Clear Briwax to the other board. After drying, we buffed with a soft cloth. This left a nice sheen to the surface but retained the rustic rough-hewn look.
Arrange and space the knobs for hangers
STEP 5 - Arrange and space knobs.
Position the knobs in an attractive pattern. We used two long lock plates on either end and accented some of the other knobs with Keyhole Escutcheons. A bit of black paint behind the keyholes finished the look.
Mark location for knobs with a ruler/square.
STEP 6 - Attach knobs.
The knobs need to be secure and sturdy enough to hold the heaviest item that you plan to hang. For most of the knobs, we used carriage bolts set flush through the back and used 5-minute epoxy to set these in place. Dowels, screws and epoxy can help hold your knobs in place. The adhesive will help fill any gaps or voids and bond the "unlike" materials for a strong hold. Mark for knobs with a ruler or square, drill the holes, and install the knob's mounting hardware from the back.
Install mounting hardware and hang it up!
STEP 7 - Install mounting hardware to hang unit.
Depending on the size of your coat rack, you'll want at least two hangers on the back, spaced 16 apart. Keyhole brackets were placed at 16 on center at the back of our main board to allow mounting on washer head screws into studs. These hangers can be moved to accommodate your specific install. We recommend positioning the piece where you want it on the wall and then finding the studs. Transfer the stud positions onto the piece, and install. If you opt to screw the coat rack directly to the studs, hide the mounting screws under hardware or button head caps.

Lori Haught Harper
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  • Teresa Teresa on Sep 05, 2017
    Funny, I picked up some cool old door knobs for just this project about a month ago! I want to hang mine higher for hats, above the coat rack.
  • Albert Arnett Albert Arnett on Oct 12, 2017
    I must say I do like that display of old door knobs.