Design & DIY

Build a picket-fence rack to dry your clothes

Picket fence bathing suit rack

When you finish building your new deckdock or picnic table, don’t throw away the scraps; use them to build this simple outdoor rack. You can mount it by the dock at the cottage to hang your bathing suits and towels, or near the back patio to keep hats close at hand. Double or triple the rack length and capacity by simply building two or three more, then mount them right next to each other.


Tools and Materials

 Tools and Materials


Saw, cut and then check the sizes

Saw the pickets 2 3/4″ wide, then cut the peak on each one using a mitre saw set 35º from square before cutting to the final length of 14″. The angle of each picket tip should measure 110º.

Cut the two rails to size, then mark locations for the peg holes on the front surfaces. The top rail pegs are 6″ from the ends, while the bottom rail pegs are 2″ from each end with one more peg in the middle. This leaves 8″ between the bottom pegs. Check the size of the holes needed for the pegs you have on hand before you drill. Size does vary. My pegs needed 1/2″-diameter holes, 1/2″ deep.


Assembly comes next, but before you begin, rout a 1/8″-wide, 45º chamfer on all edges, then sand the entire project with 120-grit paper. Next, place the rails face down on a flat surface, then find a 4 1/2″-wide piece of scrap wood to use as a spacer. Put it between each rail, then begin placing pickets on top.

Use two #8 x 1 1/2″ screws to secure each picket-to-rail joint. Notice on the plans that the rails extend 5/8″ proud of the edges of the outer pickets. The picket bottom ends are 1 1/2″ proud of the bottom rail, with a 1 1/4″ space between pickets.

The finishing touches

Any type of clear outdoor finish will work well on the rack. I chose to paint the pegs satin black. For those who enjoy folk-art painting, this project makes a great outdoor canvas. When your finish is dry, apply weatherproof glue and tap the pegs in place.

Mount your rack anywhere you like. No matter where it goes, it’ll soon be full!


To download a detailed illustration of the plan, click here

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