How to Build Pull-Out Drying Rack Drawers

Learn how to build DIY Drying Rack drawers for your laundry room with this simple and easy-to-follow detailed step-by-step tutorial.

wooden pullout drying rack in a blue laundry room

I recently put the finishing touches to my laundry “room.” Well, it is a corner of my garage, but we will refer to it as a laundry “room” from now on 🙂

One of the most asked-about details was the pull-out drying rack drawers I added to the bottom of the cabinets.

Why a Pull-Out Drying Rack Drawer?

One of the major issues when doing laundry is where to dry air dry clothing. A drying rack where you can lay your clothes flat to dry helps protect delicate fabrics (like sweaters) by providing adequate airflow and preventing stretching or distortion when clothes are draped over furniture or hangers.

These drying racks can be pulled out when in use, and when not needed, they can be easily tucked away in the drawer, making them easy to use, efficient and space-saving.

woman pulling out the drying rack from the cabinet

Designing the Pull-Out Sweater Drying Rack

The pull-out drying racks are built like you would build drawers. See my full beginner-friendly tutorial on how to build drawers.

There are two considerations when designing the pull-out rack drawers – the cabinet design and the rods’ material.

A pull-out drying rack can be easily added to a cabinet when you are building. You need a little bit of pre-planning to accommodate the drawers.

In my case, I made the sides a little longer on the bottom than the bottom-most shelf.

Showing bottom of the cabinet with longer sides for the pull out sweater drying rack

For the rods themselves – Steel rods are a great, durable option, but they can be very hard to cut. You need special blades or grinders. Plus, steel can be pretty expensive.

Wood dowels are another great option. The only thing to remember is that the wood must be sealed well with an outdoor finish to protect it from moisture.

Let’s get into all the details of building pull-out drying racks to add to your laundry cabinets.

DIY Pull Out Drying Rack Video

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Material Needed

  • 1×3 boards for the sides of the drawers. The sizes will depend on the size of your cabinet.
  • 3/4″ wood dowels (you can also use steel rods if you like)
  • 3/4″ Forstener bit
  • Waterproofing finish (I used this spar urethane spray).
  • 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
  • Drawer slides (the size depends on the depth of your cabinet. My cabinet is 15″ deep, and I used 12″ slides)
  • Plywood or 1×5 boards for the drawer front (or whatever size you need for your project).
  • Drawer pull of your choice. I used this one.

Tools Needed

DIY Drying Rack Drawer

As mentioned, I accounted for the pull-out drying racks when designing the cabinet, so I already had the sides of the cabinet large enough and ready for the drawers. I will show you how to build and install the drawers on these sides.

If you have pre-built cabinets or just walls, no worries! See at the end of this post for how to make it work.

Step 1: Make the Cuts

  • Make the cuts for the drawer sides based on your measurements.

Typically drawers are usually about an inch shorter in depth. Plus, you want to leave 1/2″ on both sides of the drawer to accommodate the drawer slides (but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions on this).

  • Make the cuts for the dowels.

All the dowels need to be cut perfectly equally. The best way to do this is to set up a stop block on your miter saw and make all the cuts.

Woman cutting dowels on the miter saw with a stop block.

Also, you want to add 3/4″ to the length of the dowel to account for the parts that will be inserted into the sides.

Step 2: Make the Holes for the Dowels

  • Calculate the number of dowel holes you want in the rack. This takes a little math. I used 3/4″ dowels and spaced them out at 2.5″.
  • Measure and mark the location of the holes. This needs to be precisely identical to the opposing side, so I like to label my boards to be able to keep track.
  • Use the 3/4″ Forstener bit to make the dowel holes. The holes are 3/8″ deep. You can use masking tape to mark that, or if you are using a drill press, you can set up the depth accordingly. My Forstener bit was 3/8″ high. I used the top of the Forstener bit as a guide, which worked well.
Making holes in a board with the Forstener bit for the pull out drying rack

Step 3: Seal the Dowels

  • Seal the dowels well using a spray waterproofing finish.

I like to use a waterproofing spray spar urethane. This is a crucial step. The dowels will see a lot of moisture and must be protected.

Woman sealing dowels using spray finish

I used the spar urethane in the spray form because it quickly covers the dowels from all sides. I stood them upright on one of the sides and sprayed them. You need to seal the sides of the drying rack anyway to protect it from moisture.

Step 4: Build the Drying Rack Drawer Insert

Building the drawer insert is pretty much like building a drawer – except you want to add the dowels instead of the drawer bottom.

Building the sides of the drawer using pocket hole screws
  • Add wood glue into the dowel holes and add the dowels.
Adding dowels to make the drying rack
  • Attach the drawer’s fourth side, ensuring all the dowels go into the respective drawer holes.
Attaching the sides of the pull out drying rack.

This can be a little tricky. The easiest way to get everything to work was to use clamps to hold the sides in place, as I attached with pocket hole screws. The clamps will also ensure everything stays square.

Learn more about what is square and how to correct for it here.

Aligning the pull out drying rack with clamps and making it square
  • Allow to dry overnight, and the drying rack is done!

Step 5: Install in the Cabinet

Installing the drying rack drawer is like installing any other drawer.

  • Install the drawer slides to the sides of the cabinet.
    I like using full extension drawer slides – mainly because you want the drying rack to extend completely.
Attaching the drawer slides to the cabinet to install the pull out drying rack

Make sure the drawer slides are attached level. To do this, I used the same 1×3 board on both sides to support the drawer slides.

  • Insert the other part of the drawer slide.
  • Use a 1/4″ thick board to support the drying rack drawer and attach the drawer side.

See how to build and install drawers in detail here.

Attaching the pull out drying rack to the cabinet

Once the drying rack drawer is in, it is time to attach the drawer front and make it look seamless. See my trick for attaching drawer fronts easily in the How to build drawers article.

How to attach the drawer front to the drying rack.

And that’s it!

The pull-out drying rack is done!

Drying rack pull out of the cabinet

The space between the dowels is also enough to hold hangers.

Hanger on the drying rack

I am pretty excited about how this rack has turned out. It is one of my favorite features in this laundry.

You can also add mesh bags underneath to help with drying sweaters if you want.

The way I built them, you can’t hang clothes on hangers from them because they are too low. If you want, adding drawers higher in the cabinet will work perfectly for hanging clothes. Living in California, we usually dry any clothes out on the patio on the drying rack anyway, so we don’t require it.

I did add a retractable drying rack in the laundry that will help with the occasional hangers we need.

Let’s discuss what to do if you aren’t building the cabinets from scratch.

Can You Add Drying Rack Drawers to Existing Cabinets?

If you have existing cabinets, you can alter them to add a pull-out rack. You need to remove a door and add the drawers to the cabinet, like in step 5 above. Once installed, you can either leave it open with shelving above or build and install a door above the drawer, as I did.

If you don’t have existing cabinets but have walls on two sides, you can attach a wood board and add the drawers. Sometimes, people even build the drawers to look like shelves when they are closed.

More laundry room makeover posts:

You might also like these projects:

Learn how to build DIY Drying Rack drawers for your laundry room with this simple and easy-to-follow detailed step-by-step tutorial.

How To Build Pull-Out Drying Rack Drawers

Yield: 1 pull out drying rack

Build DIY Drying Rack drawers for your laundry room with this simple and easy-to-follow tutorial.



    1. Make the cuts for the drawer sides and dowels based on your measurements.
    2. Calculate the number of dowel holes, measure and mark the location of the holes, then use the 3/4" Forstener bit to make the dowel holes.
    3. Seal the dowels using a waterproofing spray spar urethane.
    4. Build three sides of the drawer using pocket hole screws and wood glue, add wood glue into the dowel holes and add the dowels, then attach the drawer's fourth side.
    5. Install the drying rack drawer into the cabinet using 12" drawer slides.
    6. Add drawer pull.

Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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