DIY Tie Storage Rack
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I’m not really sure who or what got me into wearing ties, but over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection in different colors and patterns. I started buying ties in preparation to student-teach, wanting to grow my professional wardrobe. It quickly went from getting some ties to wear for work to wanting a variety of colors, patterns, and even widths (ok… it may have become an obsession). My friends and family jumped on board and started gifting me more of them over the years, and here I am today with a sizable collection. All told I think I have more than 100 of them (yes, I do wear them all).
As my collection of ties has grown over the years, it was necessary to expand and adapt my tie storage solution to keep up. I started out hanging them on a clothes hanger in the closet. From there I graduated to a rotating tie rack that hung on the closet rod and had little tabs to hold each tie.
Once I outgrew that, we decided it was time to make a better organizer. We screwed basic lengths of lumber (that were cut to size at the store for us) together and nailed on a back to it. We then added some of those diamond grid drawer dividers into it and had our tie rack. It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional. It wasn’t long before I outgrew this one as well, and with the overflow, I resorted to using a cardboard box with more drawer dividers to tide me over.
I decided this fall that it was time to get serious about my tie storage, creating a rack that was well-built, looked nice, and gave me lots of flexibility in how I used it for my ties. I couldn’t be happier with the results and know you will be too!
This tie rack should hold 24-28 ties, depending on the width and thickness of the ties and on how much space you want between them. If you aren’t a tie kind of person, this makes a great storage shelf that can be used for just about anything; I have a friend who wants to make one to display figurines.
Full disclosure (I promise I’m not too crazy!) I built three of these at one time and really need one more to fit all of my ties. Since they’re simple to create, you can easily make multiples to meet your needs.
Enough about me and my crazy obsessions, though. Let’s make this tie storage rack!
What You’ll Need:
- 1” x 4” x 8’ board (we grabbed two 1x4x6’ boards since 8’ boards don’t fit in our car!)
- 36” x 24” plywood backing board(frame and shelves)
- 1-1/4-Inch 8 Coarse Pocket Hole Screws (8 of them)
- Kreg Plugs for Pockets to fill in the pocket holes
- wood glue/liquid nails for adhering pocket hole dowels
- Shelf pins (12 of them)
- nails to attach the backing board
- sawtooth hangers
- Pre-treatment, stain, and poly for the wood. Make sure this is all water-based or all oil-based as they don’t mix well
- Random Orbit Sander and sanding discs, as well as some sandpaper for hand sanding
- Circular Saw to cut wood to size
- Kreg Pocket Hole System
- Kreg Right Angle Clamp
- Kreg Shelf Pin Jig system
- Kreg Circular Saw Guide
Stock up Here!
Making the Tie Rack:
1. Measure and cut the wood to size. You will need two boards measuring 18” long (the sides) and two boards measuring 22.5” long (the top and bottom). Together these will make your frame of 18”x24” (since the 1” boards are actually only ¾” thick). Set these aside. Cut the plywood backing board to size. You will need an 18”x24” piece for the back. To help make sure we got straight cuts, we used the Kreg Rip cut (I know, I know, we like our Kreg tools!) From the extra cut 3 pieces each measuring 4” wide by 22.5” long. These will be your shelves.
2. Drill pocket jig holes in the top and bottom frames pieces (the 22.5” long ones) using your Kreg jig system. To do this, first set the stop collar to the correct depth, based on the thickness of your wood using the template on the jig; remember to use the actual (not nominal) thickness, which is ¾” for our 1×4 boards. Next set the drill guide block to the same thickness. Double check your setup by placing the drill bit into the guide block (without wood); the stop collar should keep the drill bit itself from actually hitting the base of the jig. With the pocket jig clamped to your work table, center the board into the jig, clamp the board to the jig, and drill into the two outermost holes (A & C). Repeat this process on the other end (same side!) of the board, and repeat for the other 22.5” piece.
3. Drill shelf pin holes for each side piece (the 18” pieces). We used the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig to help us with this. Measure and mark sets of 2 holes side-by-side at even intervals. Measuring from one end of the board you should mark at 4 ⅞”, 9”, and 13 ⅛” for the shelves. This should give you three evenly spaced shelves between the top and bottom frame pieces. If you would like greater flexibility later on, you can set your Kreg Shelf Pin Jig and drill all of the holes. Repeat this process on the other side frame board. Drill out your holes using the shelf pin system and the drill bit with a stop collar.
4. Sand all wood pieces down smooth. The orbital sander works wonderfully for the frame pieces, but I had to sand the plywood backing board by hand to avoid sanding too deep. Our boards were pretty smooth to start with, so we only needed 220 grit sanding discs/papers.
5. Use pocket screws to assemble the frame. Make sure the pocket holes face out, so the holes are on the underside of the bottom piece and topside of the top piece, ensuring the screws drive in towards the middle of the boards, not towards the ends. We love our Kreg Right Angle Clamp for these projects; it allows us to clamp corners flush and tight and works perfectly with the pocket holes. Use liquid nails or a strong wood glue to adhere pocket hole dowels to fill in the holes. Once dry, sand these spots down smooth.
6. Nail the backboard onto the back of the frame. Take care to drive the nails in straight and into the middle of the frame boards to avoid visible nails.
7. Prepare your wood for stain using a pre-treatment; this helps the wood absorb the stain evenly and prevents or mitigates blotchiness. You can use either water-based or oil-based for these steps, but make sure that you stick with one or the other for your treatment, stain, and poly. Water-based is much less noxious, so we tend towards water-based. Use brushes to coat all surfaces of the wood evenly.
8. Wait the recommended time after treatment before starting to stain. For ours it was about 20 minutes. Then use rags to apply your stain to the frame, shelves (both sides!), and backing, working over an area with the stain before working back over with clean rags to wipe off any excess. The longer you wait before wiping off the extra will determine how light or dark your stain is, so adjust timing for your tastes (we wanted a lighter color so we only left it on for about 1 minute). Allow the stain to dry (and repeat on the other side for the shelves). We found that if we stained one side of the shelves first before moving on to the frame and backing, the shelves were then sufficiently dry to flip and apply stain to the underside. Depending on color and how dark you want it, you may need a second coat. We only needed one. Wait about 24 hours for stain to set before moving to the next step.
9. Apply a thin, even coat of poly to all wood surfaces using a brush. We worked over the pieces one at a time and then went back with the brush for one final smooth pass over each surface to really give us a nice even coat. Let sit for a few hours and then lightly sand all surfaces. Wipe off dust. Repeat for additional coats. All told we applied 3 coats of poly to the tie rack. Allow to set and dry after final coat.
10. Install 2 sawtooth hangers, evenly spaced, to the back of the backing board at the top. We opted to use longer nails than the ones that came with the sawtooths to give us added hanging strength.
11. Insert shelf pins into the drilled holes. We ended up needing to clean up some of the holes with a drill bit to get the pins in; if necessary, gently work a drill bit by hand into each hole to open them up. You may also need to use a hammer to tap (gently!) the pins all the way into the holes. Add the shelves to your tie rack.
12. Hang your tie rack using the sawtooths and nails. Initially we used picture hangers, and found that they don’t work well with the sawtooths; nails prove a much better option.
There you have it! Fill it with your many glorious ties (or whatever else you obsessively collect), and stand back for the oohs and aahs you’ll inevitably receive over your handiwork. Just don’t be surprised if you need to go out and buy more ties to fill your shelves! Now that you’ve gotten one project done, why not start a Simple DIY Pantry Shelf or a Bottle Cap Sofa Table! Or if you’d rather sit back and enjoy a drink, check out our Sangria Slush or Habanero-Infused Whiskey with Mango and Lime.
Are you a tie fanatic like me? Or do you have another great use for this shelf? Let me know down in the comments section below. Make sure to subscribe using the box on the right, so you never miss another great post from Our Sweetly Spiced Life; also, be sure to catch us on Facebook and Pinterest. Until next time, happy building!