DIY Pipe Clothing Rack

No closet? No problem! Check out how I built a pipe clothing rack for my son's clothing using plumbing pipe. Yes that's right, plumbing pipe!

DIY Pipe Clothing Rack

My son doesn’t currently have a closet. I use the closet in the hall of his room as my own since I have a one bedroom apartment and share the living room space as my bedroom. The closet in the living room is used as storage. This has never been an issue before as I used my son’s captain bed and dresser to store all of his clothes with more than enough space. However, I am currently redoing his bedroom and opted to get rid of the captain bed for a loft bed. And I no longer wanted to use a dresser for him. When his clothes are packed away into drawers he will choose whatever is on top and wear the same thing over and over again. To avoid this, I want his clothing to be visible so that he is able to see everything, and therefore wear everything. Definitely now since he will no longer be wearing a uniform to school. A wardrobe rack is the perfect solution. But a lot are made cheaply and fall apart. While the good ones are extremely expensive, sometimes costing a few hundred dollars. I decided to make a pipe clothing rack myself out of  plumbing pipes.

Pipes are perfect to use for clothing racks as they are very sturdy and will last a lifetime. You don’t have to worry about them breaking under the weight of the clothes. I decided on galvanized steel to build this pipe clothing rack to avoid rusting, and opted not to paint them as I like the rugged look of the steel. I decided to make it a two tier rack to ensure that my son has enough space. This was an easy project for the most part as you’re simply screwing together pipes with fittings. The materials can be found at your local hardware store that carries plumbing supplies. I was able to get everything that I needed from Home Depot and all products are linked below. But you can also find all of these items on Amazon. It’s important that you do a rough sketch of your design to ensure that you get everything that you need, and also that you get your pipes and fittings in the same size. I decided on a half inch.

DIY Pipe Clothing Rack

What you will need…

6- 1/2 x 36 inch pipes, threaded

6- 1/2″ 90 degree elbows

4- 1/2″ tee joints

4- 1/2 x 6 inch pipe nipples

Degreaser

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Everything will run you between $80-100 depending on where you purchase. Sounds steep. But remember this will last you for years, maybe even forever with good care. Remove all stickers from the pipes. This may be a bit difficult. I used a paint scraper to make it easier. The pipes will be covered in some kind of grease from the threading machine. You do not want this stuff on your clothes so the next step is very important! Spray the pipes down with a degreaser to remove the grease and any stuck on adhesive (I used this degreaser). Then give the pipes a scrub with some steel wool pads to smooth them out and shine them up. You may want to repeat the degreaser step again before you rinse and dry. I noticed the grease was still coming off on my hands while I was screwing everything together. So I had to wipe the pipes down again post assembly. Also, make sure you allow the pipes a good amount of time to dry thoroughly before beginning assembly.

DIY Pipe Clothing Rack

Now it’s time to assemble starting with the feet. Attach two of the nipple pipes to both sides of a tee joint…

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Attach a 90 degree elbow to each nipple pipe…

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Repeat these steps with the other two pipe nipples and you now have your feet…

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Attach a 36″ pipe to each foot to create the legs and set them aside…

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To create the top bar, attach a 90 degree elbow to each end of a 36″ pipe and make sure that the other end of the elbow is facing down…

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Attach a 36″ pipe to the other end of the elbows on both sides…

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Attach a tee joint to the ends of both 36″ pipes…

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Now it’s time to attach the center bar which is a little troublesome. It is impossible to get both screwed in completely since you have to twist the top bar and middle bars in opposite directions to attach. After screwing and unscrewing everything for almost a half hour, I realized that the best way to tighten both bars is to leave the top bar slightly loose while screwing in one side of the middle bar. Then screw in the opposite side of the middle bar slightly. This will also slightly loosen the first side that you screwed in.

DIY Pipe Clothing Rack

The trick is to screw both sides in just part of the way. So that it is secure on both sides and won’t come loose. You then tighten the top bar completely. This ensures that the middle bar is stable since it is impossible to tighten both sides due to the nature of the threading. To get around this, you can use a 30″pipe, a 5″ pipe and a 1″ connector to create a 3 part middle bar that can be tightened all the way (I believe.) I may do this if I have any problems with the middle bar loosening in the future. But I don’t really see that happening as it’s pretty sturdy. Moving on… attach the legs you made earlier to the other ends of the tee joints on both sides, make sure that the feet are vertically straight and you’re all done…

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Now all you have to do is add your clothes to your new pipe clothing rack…

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I’m going to get my son some slim velvet hangers like the ones that I use so that I can hang the rest of his shirts without destroying the shoulders, and have more space. I also plan to put up a shelving unit right beside the rack for his folded tees, and add fabric draw inserts for socks, underclothing, ties, belts etc. We will store shoes lined up under the unit as there is plenty of room. I may even put a one tier shoe rack.

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After loading the rack, I leaned and pulled on the bottom bar. And moved everything back and forth a few times to check stability. No issues. I also tugged on the shirts on the top bar, and tried pulling them forward. I did this to ensure that the unit wouldn’t fall over. No issues here either. The unit sways slightly when moving stuff around due to the height. But the pipe clothing rack is very sturdy overall and does not wobble or lean. I have no problem with getting stuff down from the top shelf. And my son is just a few inches shorter than I am so he shouldn’t have any problems either. I am extremely happy with the outcome of my first DIY Home Project. Can’t wait to create some more DIY options for my apartment!


53 Responses

  1. I just printed this. This is a great DIY project and I could see the kids actually having fun doing it. Thanks girl!!

  2. Hi. I’ve been following your blog for a while now. After I had my baby I was kinda stuck in a style and makeup rut. Your blog has helped. I’m nigerian(live in Nigeria too) so the skin color has helped me relate in makeup terms. First time I’m commenting though. Keep up the good work. Yours is the best blog I’ve read cos you are explicit. By the way you look like fantasia the musician.

  3. This is one of the best DIY projects I’ve ever come across – and I troll fanatically! Your instructions are fabulous, making this ADHD chick believe I really can do this. Thank you!

  4. Erica,

    Still so confused about how to get the horizontal bar to screw in between the two vertical bars? Is there a different way you can explain it?

    1. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s probably easier to get the shorter pipes and connector piece as suggested.

  5. I’ve been looking at options for my daughters’ room which has no closet. We thought dressers would do the trick, but 2 teenage girls have too much clothing and all of the digging in drawers just equals huge piles of clothing all over their floor. This will be perfect! I’m putting it in a corner so I think I’ll do one side just like this rack and the other side as a single rack for dresses and other longer things. Thank you so much!

  6. Thank you so much for this post! My dad and I just got all the materials to build this for my new room. So excited for a snazzy, metal, easy DIY “closet”!

  7. I can’t wait to make one for myself… Do you know how much it can hold, as in weight? And how long did you make your son’s? Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. I put all info in the post. I’m not sure exactly how much it holds in weight, but it holds a lot.

  8. Did the bottom ever scratch your wood floor? I would love to try this but I also have wood floors and I’m protective of them 🙂

    1. No, but it doesn’t move. You can put protective padding on the bottom to protect your floors though.

  9. I am building about 15 different racks for a store that we are opening, this is one of the racks I will make but I will probably use the floor range on legs to make it more stable and possibly screw in floors. Looks great, like your style

  10. Thanks so much, Erica! I built this today with copper piping. Your instructions were so clear, concise and easy to follow. 🙂

  11. Hi! I’m looking to do something similar in my closet using similar dimensions. I see you did this several years ago. Have you noticed the pipe sagging over time? Someone expressed concern using 1/2 inch pipe but it seems really sturdy to me.

    Thanks so much!

  12. Thank you so much for writing this DIY. I tried it to use in my first pop up shop and it worked great! Easy to take apart and put back together for set up 🙂 plus it’s cheaper than making two as well as it takes up less space

  13. This is exactly what I was looking for – thank you! I found everything at Home Depot and was able to put it all together in 15 minutes. I made mine a little wider, so I used 60” pipes for the top and bottom racks.

  14. Followed all of your directions and it turned out amazing!!! Thank you for the amazing idea, I became irritated and annoyed with cheap plastic racks continually breaking and having to replace them. This one with definitely last a long time.

  15. Hands down the best instructions for any tutorial I’ve ever seen and I thank you for that! I can’t wait to make my own!! P.s. if you’re still in Albany we’re almost neighbors, I’m in Ballston Spa ❤️

    1. I am so glad that you found my tutorial helpful. I’m actually new to Albany. I’m in Guilderland. Love it so far ❤️

  16. Ten years later, I discover this! It’s a brilliant idea. With a few changes, it will be perfect for my needs. I sew a lot of purses for a charity that provides reusable menstrual supplies and underwear to women and girls in Zambia. The charity (Sew Powerful) provides jobs making the pads and underwear to women in the community. The pads allow women to work and girls to go to school without missing a week each month. I tend to sew at least 8 purses at a time one step at a time, so I’d need to figure out how to install a basket for holding the unfinished purses on the top as well as having a rack that I can hang the finished purses from while they wait to be mailed. My husband is better at figuring this stuff out for me, so I’ll see if he can figure out how to make that work for me.

  17. Hello! I’ve been looking for ideas for a potable rack that I can use to hang my artwork. It needs to be both sturdy and appealing to the eye without to much fuss. This would work perfectly! However, I can’t find the piping needed. Home Depot does have some pipes but they are galvanized steel and VERY pricey per piece. Is that the pipes you used. Galvanized? If not, can you please tell me what type you used? Thanks Erica!

    1. Hi. Yes, as mentioned in the post, I did use galvanized steel. It was worth the cost though. No rust and held up until I decided to get rid of it!

  18. What are the finished dimensions? Do the feet add a lot of height? Do the connectors add a lot of width? I love the idea and am planning on building my own soon. Thank you!!

    1. I moved and no longer have the clothing rack. So unfortunately I am unable to take measurements for you. The measurements for each part is listed in the links though. That should help you get an idea.

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