DIY Rustic Reclaimed Coat Rack

This unique coat rack is made form scrap wood and found rusty chain. It can be hung vertically or horizontally and is so gorgeous it serves as functional storage art.

DIY Coat Rack

How to Make A DIY Coat Rack


  • Scrap or Reclaimed Wood
  • Old Chain
  • Wood Screws
  • Tube Straps or Conduit Hangers
  • S-Hooks
  • Clear matte or satin spray paint

I have a giant pile of scrap wood in my shop that I am trying to use up. Some of it is left-over from various projects, a lot of it is reclaimed from my 1930’s cottage and from my father’s 100 year old farm.  For this project I used 5” reclaimed knotty alder.  If you don’t have old rusty chain laying around your shop (I might be a bit unique on that front) it can be found at most scrap yards and architectural salvage shops.  Also if you know any old farmers, they are bound to have piles of it laying around that you could buy for the price of scrap metal. You could also use bike chain, but you would need to find S-hooks that are small enough to fit into the sprocket grooves.  Another option would be to buy new chain which can be bought by the foot in most hardware stores and comes in a number of colors and sizes and could be really cool as well.

DIY Coat Rack-Chain Ideas

Step 1

Prep your chain by sizing it 4-5inches shorter than the length you want your finished piece to be. Chain link length will determine how precise you can cut the chain.  Different types of chains can be shortened by removing pins, opening links, bending and sliding out a groove etc. If you can’t get your chain apart, you can always resort to cutting it with a metal blade on a jig saw, hacksaw, or use a grinder. Once your chain is the size you want, give it a thorough cleaning with a wire bristle brush—make sure to bend and twist it as you are cleaning to get any loose dirt, rust, spiders, etc. out of the cracks and grooves. If your chain is greasy, wash it with a strong degreaser like TSP. After your chain is clean and dry, give it several coats of a clear spray paint—my favorite for use on rusted metal is Krylon Color Master Crystal Clear Satin. This will lock the rust and patina onto the chain and prevent any rust from rubbing off onto the items that you hang, it will however darken your chain.

DIY Coat Rack-Prep Chain

Step 2

Select and size your wood so that it is 4-5 inches longer than your chain, this will create room to attach the chain securely to the wood on both ends.  Sand and apply the finish of your choice. I used brown Briwax  to bring out the knots and imperfections in the wood and so that over time the whole piece will continue to develop a patina, but you could use paint, or any stain sealer combo you wish. Keep in mind that the chain will rub against the wood with use, so make sure that the finish you choose will age well or can stand up to some abuse.

Step 3DIY Coat Rack--Paint Pipe Straps

Pipe straps come in a number of  number of different sizes and materials including stainless, galvanized and copper, there are double  or single hole configurations so there should be a pipe strap that will work with most chains.  You will need one pipe strap on both ends of the chain and another for every foot or so of chain.  I used four, 1/2” galvanized steel pipe straps for my four foot chain. I dabbed  flat black and orange spray paint onto my pipe straps with a stiff paint brush to create a faux rusted finish that matched my chain.

Step 4

DIY Coat Rack-FinishingAssemble your coat rack by laying your chain on  the board and centering it both vertically and horizontally.  Attach one end and then pull the chain taught (it helps to have a second pair of hands for this part) and attach the next straps approximately 1 to 1 1/2 feet down the chain until you get to the other end. If desired dab a little black paint on screw heads to allow them to blend in. If you will be hanging the chain horizontally expect some sag between the straps.

DIY Coat Rack

Step 5

To finish your coat rack all you need to do is add a way to hang it up. I like to router a keyhole hanger, but you can easily attach a hanger to the back (2 if you will hang horizontal) if you prefer. Make sure that the hangers are sturdy enough to support the weight and abuse that your coat rack will sustain.

DIY Coat Rack-HangersNow just add some S-hooks (if you made the DIY Industrial Towel Bars you will already have S-hooks on hand) and your coat rack is ready to use.

DIY Coat Rack with Upcycled ChainIn addition to being awesome for hanging coats on, this coat rack can be utilized for organization and storage in a number of different situations. I am currently using mine in my closet for purse storage, but it would be equally functional in a bathroom for towel storage or in a kitchen to hang pots and pans on, in a laundry room to hang laundry bags on, … really loads of possibilities!

If you are looking for more ways to increase the storage and function of a bathroom, visit our sponsor site, Plumb Smart Design, for great bathroom storage and organization ideas.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The bungee cords were $1.78 each from Home Depot  (save the S hooks for another project like the DIY Coat Rack), and I used some left over wood from the scrap pile. So the total cost for the towel bar was $2.93 […]

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