DIY Printmaking Dry Rack

I'm always finding some little project to work on, whether it's something in the kitchen, the backyard, the garden or in my studio. I'm super excited about putting this project to good use.

For years I used the guest bed or the dining table to lay my prints while they dried. That can take up a lot of space, and if you have a cat... well, yeah occasional paw prints. As we were preparing for a garage sale, I came across an old wooden dry rack for dishes that I definitely didn't need. I honestly cannot imagine anyone wanting this. So, what could be done?

Cue lightbulb!  

I wanted to figure out how to create a dry rack for my prints. A couple years back, my husband and I build this awesome pegboard panel for me to hang my printmaking tools. I knew I wanted to use clothespins but needed to figure out the best and easiest way to put it all together. After digging around in the shed for some little nails we used for building bee hives, I had myself pretty well figured out.  Below is the list of material and tools:

DIY Printmaking dry rack

                                                 - 1 wooden dry rack
                                                 - 2 10" arm utility hanger 
                                                 - 4 zip ties
                                                 - 26 clothespens
                                                 - 26 1/2" wire nails
                                                 - Super glue
                   - Electric Drill
                   - 1/16" drill bit
                   - Needle nose pliers
                   - Tape measurer
                   - Pen 
                   - Patience

STEP 1: 

First thing you need to do is remove every other slat. This will give you about 1.25 inches to space out for your prints. 

It's fairly easy by gently pushing from below at each end. You'll have to use your needle nose pliers to pull out the little tacks that hold them onto the frame. 

STEP 2: 

Drill guide holes 1 inch down one of the handles of the clothespens.

I very gently, slightly shifted one handle over just enough to be able to reach, then added a lil pen mark to show where to drill.

STEP 3: 

Insert the nails into the hole, minding to point them outward.

STEP 4: 

You want to evenly distribute the clothepins on the rack. Since I am using the larger of the rack for this example, I will be placing 2 clothepens per slat. This will be great for large pieces.

I also created a rack for smaller pieces with just 1 clothespen per slat.

STEP 5: 

Time to start attaching! A little drop of super glue (I dig Gorilla) right on the nail will give extra strength. 

I found pinching the pen handles helps keep the nail in once you start moving around with them to attach them to the rack. It also can be helpful to do this to start to push the nail into the slat. 

STEP 6: 

Use the needle nose pliers, press the nail in by gently grabbing it and the slat. The slat is very soft wood. So, if you work it too hard you can dent, chip or even crack it in half


STEP 7: 

Keep at it!

It took me about... 20-30 minutes to get each attached. You also need to be careful when you're getting close to the end. 

You want to be careful not to use the clothepens as stabilizers. Closer to the end, when they were becoming in the way, I used a little table easel to lean against. if you have vice clamps, that'd be good.


STEP 8: 

Once you have all of the clothespens attached, be sure to line them up straight. You don't want cattywompus clothespens.

Give the glue the recommended amount of time to dry.


STEP 9: 

Alrighty, last step is to attach the utility hangers with zip ties. Be sure the utility hanger is close to the end of your rack for stability.

Final step - hang it up and get back to your printmaking!

I like the way this turned out because I can easily fit it on my pegboard between my tools, but can take it down and get it out of the way when I'm not in the printing process. I'll probably get some thin felt to glue onto the inside of the clothespens to keep from unwanted creases or dents. 

If anyone comes across this and has any questions or recommendations, feel free to email me at




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