Saturday, March 5, 2011

PVC Pipe Dressing-Up Rack

We started playing around with PVC piping at home quite some time ago (see the marshmallow gun post) we quickly realised that it was a cheap and easy medium for building simple things (take a look at the projects page on this site: for a ton of examples).  The kids 'building box' outside has a load of pipe and connectors in it for impromptu creative fun. Most of these bits were left over from Carys' pirate-superhero-mermaid birthday party where we put together marshmallow-gun party favour bags (If you're interested you can read about that on Lin's blog post over on FilthWizardry).

The kids have most of their make-believe/dressing-up items in a single toy box in their bedroom.  The original lid on this didn't stand up to the test of multiple children piling into it day after day, so it's been an 'open plan' box for most of it's stay.   On a daily basis we find the complete contents of the dressing up box emptied onto the bedroom floor.  I guess that's the only way the kids can find the clothes for that day's dressing up desires.

We're a bit tight on space in the kids bedroom, so it seemed like a good idea to build a clothes rack that'd fit inside the box; then we could hang up most of the clothes for easy access and keep the hats, crowns and other accessories in the box itself.  At least this way they wouldn't have to completely empty the box each time and we wouldn't have to tidy it up every day!

This is actually something I've made twice now (hence deciding to post about it)...  The first one was dismantled and used to build random things out in our backyard a few months back; we soon realised the folly of our ways when we were once again greeted with the dressing up clothes piled on the floor day after day.  Time to build another!

It's really, really simple.  The fixtures and piping are 1/2" schedule 40 PVC.  They're available in Lowe's, Home Despot, OSH, ACE hardware etc.  and they're pretty cheap.  This was today's shopping list from the local Lowe's:

1. 8 * 5' of pipe = $8.96 ($1.12 each) - I bought extra for other fangling.
2. bag of 10 tee junctions = $1.95
3. bag of 10 thread to slip adapters = 20c
4. bag of 10 elbow joints (90 degree) = $1.80
5. 4 x 3-way corner elbow = $5.28 ($1.32 each).

Ok, so $18 may not seem that cheap, but there's left over material for other projects and the rack itself will get re-used as something else when it's no longer needed.  On the other hand, good luck finding something that'll exactly meet your requirements for $18 ;).

Here's everything I used:

I measured the inside of the dressing up box (before deciding on the parts) and sketched out how I wanted the rack to look.  Then it's just a matter of measuring, marking and cutting the pipe and then sticking it all together.  You don't even need glue/cement, unless you want the final 'product' to be permanent and durable.

Here's a load of in-progress shots to give you a feel:

And here's the final frame.  I added a little nubbin afterwards for Ffion to hang her handbag collection on... you can see it in the action shot below to the left of the ballerina.  I replaced a tee junction with a 4-way and slotted in a small bit of pipe terminated with a pipe cap (all left overs from previous messing/building).

The shoes are now all paired up and hung up as well.  I think these were the main culprits of the 'toss everything on the floor' routine.  Fingers crossed for a slightly tidier bedroom from now on.


Catherine Peart said...

This is brilliant! We have the exact same problem. I have a hanging rod near the box but it is too high for the kids to reach and so on. This saves the day!

Maiz Connolly said...

Funny, I'm in the middle of doing a hanging rod for our dress-up area, too. I just made a related post about making kid-sized clothes hangers that you guys might like:

Shirley said...

thank you for this! my daughter has been wanting something like this, but i didn't want to dish out $80+ for one at the store.

Unknown said...

My kids will definitely love this. I bought some PVC Pipes in the Philippines for this project.