Pool Towel Rack
If you’re like us – summertime means wet towels and swimsuits EVERYWHERE. It drives me crazy! When our kids were younger, we had a metal fence that wrapped around our pool and that became the de facto towel rack. But eventually rust got the better of it and it had to come down. Then our patio furniture became a drying rack. We desperately needed something…anything…that was better than draping our wet towels all over the place.
The other problem we had to solve was weather related. Here in Arizona, summertime is monsoon season. Our storms come on hard and fast so a stationary towel rack wouldn’t be much help. We had that problem when we dried towels on the pool fence. Everything got wet and dusty during a storm – or it blew into the pool. I needed a way to move a whole lot of wet stuff – fast. I wanted something that could be moved from place to place (including under the shelter of our covered patio.)
That’s when Alan had the awesome idea to recycle one of the big wooden posts from a commercial real estate sign we had in our backyard into a movable pool towel rack! This rack can be easily moved from place to place around our pool. And it was a great way to recycle a big old piece of wood that had been sitting around unused.
Want to know how we built this? Let’s walk through it.
Step 1 – Trim Post to Size
The post we upcycled was both too big and damaged on the side that had been planted into the ground. So the first step was to cut off the damaged portion.
Step 2 – Sand and Prime Post
Since the post had been planted outside for some time, it wasn’t in perfect shape. But since we were building an outside towel rack, we weren’t shooting for perfect – just a little smoother and less holey.
After sanding down the old paint and filling in the holes with some wood filler, we applied a primer on top of the whole thing.
Step 3 – Create Notches for Horizontal Posts
The next phase of creating this towel rack was definitely the hardest. We wanted to essentially carve out two notches (one on each side of the post) that would house the horizontal wooden bars of the towel rack. The goal was to make the wooden bars flush with the surface of the post. First up was to figure out where we wanted the notches on either side.
We wanted the bars to be staggered so the height on one side was 52 inches from what would be the bottom of the rack.
The total width of the bar was approximately 1.5 inches so using a square we created the layout of where we wanted to remove the wood.
And on the other side we went for 10 inches lower or 42 inches.
The process of carving out the notches is actually easier to explain in pictures. First up we figured out the depth of the wooden bars we were planning to use. You can see below that we cut the post to the same depth as the bar using our handy little circular saw.
Next, Alan began cutting several lines in the “cut” area we measured out above (the 1.5 inch band.)
Below you can see several of the lines cut out.
And he just kept cutting lines until he was able to use a chisel to finish removing the wood from the notch (see below.)
Here’s a dry run to see if the bar would fit into the notch we created. It fit pretty well, but needed a little extra cleaning out before the bar fit perfectly.
Then we simply repeated the process on the second side and then sanded down any areas we inadvertently roughed up with our method.
Step 4 – Drill Holes for Wheeled Legs
Since moveability was one of the goals, we needed to find large enough brackets and strong enough wheels to support that much vertical weight (even more so with towels and swimsuits hanging off of it.) Below is a shot of the brackets and wheels we ultimately decided on (though I’m not sure why I only took a picture of 2 instead of all 4 of them!)
Here’s what they looked like after all four wheels had been attached to the brackets.
Next step is to pre-drill holes for the screws prior to the final paint job (in order to keep that paint looking as good as possible!) Here’s a shot of one of the sides where I marked where to drill holes.
And here’s after drilling the holes.
Here’s what the bracket looks like installed.
We went ahead and installed all the brackets to do a test run and make sure that they would do the job of holding up the weight. You can see below – it worked!
Step 5 – Paint Post and Bars
All the hard stuff is done – and you’ve just got to make it look pretty! We used paint that we already hand on hand (latex for the bars and post and spray paint for the hooks.)
Step 6 – Attach Wheeled Legs, Bars, and Hooks
Here’s the paint all done – but the bars aren’t secured yet. We were just trying to get a feel for the final product. Yes, that’s our family room – we ended up pulling this project into the house because we just couldn’t handle the heat in the garage (this time of year it’s in the 100’s all the time.)
Now screw your bars and hooks on – and that’s it.
I absolutely love how this project turned out! It’s so nice not having to hang all the wet stuff all over our patio furniture anymore.