Jan 6, 2012

The Great Plate Rack Project

I've had a vague hankering for a plate rack filled with creamy white platters for a while. But it wasn't until I stumbled over this photo of a simple plate rack that it finally crystallized into a full-blown D-I-M project (you know: "do-it-myself") - I knew I could accomplish this pretty handily.  Well, maybe with a little help from Mr. Official...
Google image = inspiration
I roughed out a sketch and drew up a materials list for a rack 36 inches wide and 48 inches tall (that allows 16 inches for each shelf - something to keep in mind when you're considering loading it up with platters, most of which are 12 inches and up these days), then gathered the materials. Here's my shopping list, in case you're suddenly struck by the same longing:

Materials for 36x48 plate rack:
3 each 1x4x6 pine boards for the shelves, cut in half
1 each 1x4x8 pine board for the sides, cut in half
1 each 1x6x6 pine board for the top and bottom, cut in half
3 each 3-foot dowels (I used a squared-off screening or lattice wood instead)
36 wood screws (I used #6 x 1 1/4-inch)
1 small can of stain (I chose dark walnut)
1 can of water-based polyurethane (alternatively, you could paint it)
1 pair of heavy-duty picture hangers (capable of holding at least 50 pounds)

So I had the supplies, the creative spark, and the mental image of the finished piece. But right about then, the annual holiday tsunami hit, and my project stayed high and dry in the garage, until just a few days ago.

The tools needed are your standard fare: router, a saw to cut the boards in half, and a drill to make pilot holes and screw in the screws. Once I (ahem, we) got started, it really was a very easy project.

1. Route grooves down the middle of one of the 1x4x6 boards and the same distance from one edge of the 1x6x6.
2. Cut all the boards in half.
3. Make sure everything was either 3 feet or 4 feet long.
4. Lay it out and assemble.
5. Sand, stain, seal.
6. Wait for everything to dry.  Tap, tap, tap.
6. Add hangers and hang.
7. Acquire platters to fill it up; the most time-consuming and expensive part!

The total investment was about $50 in cash and around 4 or 5 hours of actual effort.  There was most definitely a good cost-benefit ratio. Here's the rack before staining, and the finished rack, hung fairly level, all by myself (to my husband's barely concealed astonishment.)

Here's the dining room, ready for some Sunday dinners, all decked out in winter white and silver:

And the Edwardian hutch. The Christmas village is gone, but in its place is a mix of traditional and contemporary white pieces including an elephant for luck.

Happy project-ing!

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