I absolutely lurve pot racks. They hit that sweet spot between beauty and function that I yearn to propagate throughout my house. Sure, they can get a little overdone with wrought iron and light fixtures, and they are an encouragement to those who like to decorate their homes with fake vines (not that I’m judging. But I’m judging). But done well, they are admirable multitaskers: they show off your shiny pans and free you from much squatting and searching through dank corner cabinets for the stockpot.
It’s been years since I last knew the happiness of overhead cookware storage, mostly due to the ridiculously high price of most pot racks and my reluctance to coat myself in drywall dust. But when we moved into our (hopefully long-term) home, I decided to take the plunge. I quickly figured out that googling “DIY pot rack” was the best and cheapest way to get what I wanted, and proceeded to cobble together ideas from various sources. Here’s the finished product in situ:
Make a Super-Cheap* Industrial-Chic Pot Rack
Materials and Supplies**
- (2) 24″x1/2″ copper pipe (to make two racks)
- (4) 1/2″ copper tees (I made sure these fit snugly on the ends of the pipes while still in the store)
- (4) lengths 1/8″ thick wire rope (for each length, measure the distance you want the rack to hang from the ceiling and add about 12 inches)
- (4) wire rope thimble (the little metal thing it fits into to make a loop) and clamp sets for 1/8″ rope (a total of 12 clamps and 4 thimbles)
- (4) swag hooks with screws and/or toggle bolts
- Polyurethane spray
- Strong adhesive (solder, epoxy, superglue)
- Safety glasses
- S-hooks that will hang on 1/2″ pipe
- Pans, and also pots
I already had most of the supplies. All I had to buy were the pipes and tees, rope, clamps/thimbles, swag hooks, and poly, for a grand total of around $15 (as originally planned). Not too shabby!
- Clean the copper pipes and tees with Brasso. This removed the red ink stamps that were on mine when I bought them, and made them shiny and pretty.
- In a well-ventilated area, spray the copper with several thin coats of polyurethane to protect it. Allow to dry overnight.
- Fit the tees on to each end of the pipes (make sure the open ends are parallel). One of the tutes I found online showed how to solder pipes together; since I do not own a blowtorch and am rather lazy, I used superglue to secure them. So far, everything’s holding together just fine. But it you’re the type of person who lies awake at night worrying about whether you have enough drinking water laid in for hurricane season, I definitely recommend stronger adhesive.
- For each length of wire rope, make a loop around the thimble and secure it with two clamps, one as close to the thimble as you can get it and the other two or three inches below that. There should be at least an inch of the rope left below the last clasp.
- Thread the other end of the ropes through the copper tees and clamp the resulting loop closed. I used one clamp, but use two for optimum security. This is also a good time to make sure that your ropes are the same length on each side; if they aren’t, your rack will hang crooked.
- Install the swag hooks in the ceiling. Unless you fancy having little pieces of drywall in your eyes, be sure to wear safety glasses while drilling (I learned this the hard way). Screwing the hooks into joists will allow them to hold more weight than anchoring them with toggle bolts: for joist-finding, I highly recommend the Stud4Sure. Unlike those newfangled sonar-laser doohickeys that cost a bundle and couldn’t find a stud in the lumber aisle of a Home Depot, this guy has never steered me wrong (and it doubles as a sweet refrigerator magnet).
- Hang up your pot rack. Use the S-hooks to hang pots and pans on it. Preen.
*It actually wasn’t as cheap as it could have been. My first attempt used 5/16″ wire rope (non-returnable, alas), which Sean vetoed in a surprising display of aesthetic sensitivity—so it was back to the Home Depot for thinner rope and smaller clamps.
**NOTE: If you are planning to hang very heavy items (or a lot of lighter items), make sure that your supplies (rope, hooks, clamps, etc.) are rated for that amount of weight.