When Queen AnneMarie mentioned She’d like to have a clothes rack in Her royalty rooms during Her reign, Gregor and I came up with an idea of a wooden break-down A-frame rack made of simple materials. We made it for less than $40 in less than an hour, and it works great!
In addition to holding royal garb, we use it at SCA events for holding gold key (loaner garb) for newcomers, we used it to hold clothes (and provide some privacy) in a crowded cabin at Gulf Wars, and we use it in our pavilion at Pennsic. You could also use it as a frame for some sort of privacy screen.
September 2014 Update: We’ve made several of these clothes racks now. The reign is long over, and we now use them at Pennsic in our pavilions as well as for holding Gold Key loaner garb at our local events. The key is making sure the holes into which you put the dowels are as snug as possible. The sturdiest one we made was of whitewood (poplar), while the pine versions seems to want to shift around a bit. None of them are intended for a lot of heavy stuff — this is just a simple, lightweight solution that was originally meant to hold just two garments (the King’s and the Queen’s). In practice, though, I load ours up at Pennsic with a LOT of clothing — it leans a bit to one side under the enormous weight of our garb (I’m a costumer), but otherwise stands and keeps our stuff up off the ground. Here’s a picture of it in use last year at Pennsic:
Anyone can make this with a few tools and a quick trip to your local home improvement store. Here’s what you need to make your own clothes rack:
Materials and Tools:
4 (four) – 1″ x 3″ x 6′ Poplar boards (avoid pine or softer woods) – $6.75 each
2 (two) – 3/4″ x 48″ Poplar dowels – $3 each
1 (one) – 1 1/8″ x 48″ Poplar dowel – $4 each
1 (one) – 4′ length of rope
Saw, drill with a 7/8″ bit and a 1 1/4″ bit, pencil, and ruler
(optional) stain, primer, paint, and/or varnish
1. With your pencil, mark a 15° angle at the end of each of your four 6′ boards and use your saw to cut them. (The angles are to allow the legs of the rack to rest level on the floor. You can change this angle a bit — a larger angle will mean a wider base, a smaller angle will mean a narrower base.)
2. Make a mark about 4″ up from the bottom of each board, centered. Using your 7/8″ drill bit, drill holes at the spots you marked. (This is where your bottom dowels will enter.)
3. Flip your boards over to the other end (the top) and make a mark about 2″ down from the top of each board, centered. Drill one hole in each board using the 1 1/4″ drill bit. (This is where your top dowel will enter.)
4. Now assemble your rack by placing cris-crossing the tops of two boards and putting the larger dowel through both holes, then repeat with the other two boards on the other end of the dowel. Now slide the smaller dowels into the holes at the bottom of the legs. (You may need to tap the dowels and/or boards to get them all to slide through the holes — you want it to be pretty snug for stability.)
5. Tie your rope between the two smaller dowels. (This keeps the rack from spreading apart.)
That’s it! You can use the rope to keep the boards bundled together when it’s broken down. You can stain or paint your clothes rack. I’ll admit I haven’t bothered to do it yet, but it still works and looks great.