Friday, June 4, 2010

Awesome Coat Hanger Shelf

Make This Beautiful Coat Hanger Shelf – Illustrated How-To

If you subscribe to the RemodelingGuy IdeaLetter then you’ll recognize this picture. I noticed this recently in a brochure for Ralph Lauren Paints and included the idea in a newsletter, telling folks how easy it would be to build one of these!
A bunch of you wanted to know exactly how it was put together. So that’s what I’m going to show you today.
How-To Make A Coat hanger Shelf with Crown Molding (and a few other parts)
The parts of this are very simple and I’ve done a detailed drawing to show you both a cross-section, and a straight-on view (elevation).
Coat Hanger Shelf
If you click on that image, it will open up a larger version. You can clearly see that the shelf assembly is made-up of five parts altogether:
  1. A solid 2×10 as the main structure
  2. A 1×6 shelf with a rounded front edge
  3. Crown molding wrapped on three sides (front and each end)
  4. A smaller molding (name varies) used to finish the bottom edge
  5. Coat hangers
How-To Build This Coat Hanger Shelf
Materials required:
  • 1 – 2″x10″ x 8′ long (any smooth surface wood such as spruce or fir)
  • 1 – 1″x6″ x 8′ long (use the same type of wood if possible)
  • 1 – 8′ length of approx. 3″ crown molding (may be slightly more or less)
  • 1 – 8′ length of smaller 1″ or 1.5″ molding (see drawings for profile)
  • 6 – coat hanger hooks (amazon link at end of post)
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • 60 grit sandpaper (to round shelve edges – also could use router)
  • long screws or toggle bolts to attach 2×10 to wall
  • short screws to attach shelf to 2×10
  • brad nails, trim nails, or trim screws to attach crown and bottom molding
  • wood glue
  • primer
  • paint
  • Coat Hooks
Tools Required:
  • This can be done with a handsaw and a hand miter-box, but I would use a 10″ miter saw for all cuts.
  • A router would be helpful to round the shelf edges, but you can use sandpaper
  • A cordless or corded drill to screw the shelf to the 2×10, to screw the trim on with finish screws if you don’t have a brad nailer or trim nailer (air tools), and to install the whole thing on the wall.
Before we go through the basic steps: I’m not an ultra-detailed instruction kind of fella. I’m more apt to show you picture, tell you what kind of stuff is in it, and keep on rolling than I am to tell you what size screw to use, at what drill speed, at what angle, in what kind of wood, at what time of year, in specific humidity and under the correct astrological sign. If I leave something out, you can ask in the comments.
Step One – Prepare The 2×10
Cutting the 2×10 to length. I’ve drawn the drawing at 6′ long. It works great at that length with six coat hooks and allows it all to be made with 8′ lumber. You can make it whatever length you want.
You have to decide if you want to cut the ends of the 2×10 square or if you want to miter the ends and put a small return into the wall. If you cut it square, you’ll see what’s known as “end-grain” at the ends of the board. This is harder to finish cleanly and smoothly. How hard depends on the lumber. You can cut a test and see if it looks smooth enough. If so, you’ll find a square end-cut to be much easier (and safer to make).
Step Two – Install The Top Shelf
It’s easier to build this whole thing on the ground and paint it prior to installing. So the next step will be to install the shelf on top. I’ve drawn the shelf at 4″ more than the 2×10 on each end, so a total of 6′-8″ long. It is important to note, that this dimension has more to do with the protrusion of the crown molding than anything else. You’ll want to have an understanding of how far out from the face of the 2×10 your crown molding will come before making this cut. See drawings to better understand.
Round the front edge of the shelf using a router or the 60 grit sandpaper. (you’ll need to smooth it with the 150 before painting)
Use wood glue along the top edge of the 2×10 and position the shelf so that the same amount hangs off of each end, past the 2×10 (should be about 4″). I would use brad nails to hold the piece in-place while I add screws to strengthen the joint. You’ll putty and sand the holes before painting. (but these are in an inconspicuous place anyway) Use something like a 2.5″ wood screw, about 10″ on-center (7 or eight screws holding the back edge of the shelf to the top of the 2×10). Depending on the wood and the screws, it may be helpful to pre-drill the holes.
Step Three – Install The Crown Molding
There are many tutorials online about how to cut crown molding. If you can get a helper, the easiest way is to hold it securely in exactly the same position as it will be installed. With something this small you can skip the whole “upside-down cut” thing, but you might need help for safety. You always have to watch your fingers and eyes when cutting with power saws.
You can hold your crown securely on the 2×10 and mark it at each end. I would try and leave the bulk of my “drop” at one end to make cutting the returns safer. You want your crown molding to be the exact length of the 2×10 if measured from the inside bottom of the crown. If anything, make it an eighth longer and split the difference. Just don’t make it shorter!
I’m not a professional how-to author… so I don’t really know how to say… stick the crown molding on there like in the picture! Use brad nails and glue if you have an air nailer. Otherwise you can use trim screws. You can’t hand nail this unless you use a tiny hammer. Since this is not on the wall yet, you won’t be able to hammer it. Too wobbly.
Step Four – Install The Bottom Molding
This is a very similar process to the crown molding, but the bottom molding doesn’t go past the ends, instead it ends just prior to the 2×10 end. Again, see pictures and drawings.
Step Five – Paint it.
I’d fill all nail and screw holes, sand the whole thing with 150 grit, put on a coat of primer, sand again, and paint.
Step Six – Install On The Wall
Here’s where the major disclaimer comes in: every wall is different! How you install this on the wall totally depends on your wall. If you have a wall made of solid 3/4″ thick wood paneling your installation is super easy. If your wall is drywall and your studs are totally not where you need them, then your installation will be harder.
The ideal installation will allow you to install it with long wood screws in the exact location of the coat hooks. This way you can install the coat hooks when it is in place and cover your mounting screws. With the coat hooks set at 12″ apart, this will work on many walls with 24″ OC studs. But it won’t work as well with 16″ OC Studs.
You can just find your studs, screw the shelf to the wall in those locations (getting the strongest attachment to solid wood) and then just install the coat hooks over the screws. If the spacing doesn’t work you can putty and paint over the screws.
Alternatively, you can use adequately sized toggle bolts in the exact location of the coat hooks. Just counter-sink the bolt heads a little so that the coat-hook will fit over the top and cover the toggle bolt.
I’m leaving the final installation open because you really need to be the judge of the strength of your wall, the weight of your shelf, the size of your mounting hardware, and the overall combination of everything.
I hate to sound simplistic about this, but the way most professionals make sure that they have the thing on there really strong is to really pull on it hard. It should be very solidly in-place. If not, it’s not safe to leave on the wall.
If you have questions, ask in the comments and check back there for the answer. I’ll do my best to help.
And don’t forget, this great idea originally showed-up in the Remodeling Guy IdeaLetter. Don’t miss it! The sign-up link is at the top of the page in the header.
If you use these drawings and instructions there is no charge, but there is something you can do to help me… please post links back to this post on your blog, facebook page, twitter, or wherever you can. Those links all help others find this resource which helps the blog to grow over time. Thanks!