© Scott Dawson, http://scottpdawson.com (607) 279-7173, @scottpdawson

DIY Wine Rack

I had an itch this weekend to build a more expansive wine rack in our pantry. Actually, the itch had been there awhile, since I’ve been spending the last few runs thinking intermittently about designs I could pull off using materials I have on hand in the garage. I had all kinds of concepts percolating in that running brain, though when the adrenaline wore off, none of those concepts really inspired me. After we got an additional cheap(er) case of wine from WSJ Wines, including our normal delivery, our supply outstripped our capacity to store it. Our little 12-bottle rack hung high on the pantry wall was no longer going to cut it. It was time for a high-capacity DIY wine rack.

The inspiration (racks only)

With Saturday morning’s coffee in my stomach, I opened up my phone and turned to the constant friend who’s always there when I need advice: Google. I scrolled through the results for “DIY Wine Rack” and found a promising article titled 15 Creative Wine Racks and Wine Storage Ideas. Scrolling through the possibilities, I found many of the concepts I’d been turning over in my brain, and some others I hadn’t thought of yet. The 11th picture leapt out at me. Though it was lodged in the cavity of a sideboard, I thought I could build something similar to sit on our pantry shelf. I headed to the garage to forage for materials.

I found some scraps of ½” medium-density fiberboard (MDF) left over from an oven shipment we received for Amy’s kitchen. I’m a big fan of upcycling, so relished in carefully taking apart the pieces of nailed fiberboard. Nails removed, I knew I had enough pieces to start to play with designs and spacing. First, I used my table saw to cut all of the pieces into 1” strips. It made a sufficient amount of sawdust, so I knew I was making good progress. I cut 12 pieces of 1” x 32” and 60 pieces of 1” x 12”.

I placed two of the 32” piece parallel to each other on the garage floor and tested several different placements of the 12” pieces to see how the wine bottles fit next to each other. It turned out that 1” for each wine bottle to rest in was ideal, and 2” between each wine bottle. With this spacing, each tier would hold 10 bottles. Given the design I ended up with, you could have used a 2” x 12” for each spacer between the bottles, where I’ve used two 1” x 12” pieces (I’m calling for 2” pieces in the materials list below).

I used a framing square to draw lines across all of the 32” pieces all at once. This way, I’d be sure that the 12” pieces would all be aligned as I fastened them to each tier. I brushed glue between all of the joints as I laid the 12” pieces on the 32” bases, then placed the other two 32” pieces on the top, again using glue. I was so excited for this particular project because I’d get to use my nail gun! I hooked up my compressor, put a few drops of oil in the seldom-used gun, and loaded it up with nails. At 1 ¼”, they were just long enough to go through all three pieces of ½” material. Now that I had all three tiers glued and nailed, it was time to think about how to stack them.

I headed to my local hardware store, Stover Lumber, and told them what I needed for my DIY wine rack. I thought I’d find bolts that were 12” long, and though they had them they were only threaded at the end. They suggested threaded rod. Perfect! I got some ⅜” threaded rod in 36” lengths. I’d need to cut them down to size, but they’d work really well. Back home, I used my hacksaw to cut the rods and then loaded my drill up with a ⅜” bit. I placed some sample bottles in the bottom tier to confirm my placement of the holes that would receive the rod. I’d chosen to place the rod at the four corners, and also directly in the middle. Since the holes are through the 12” piece and not the three pieces sandwiched in the corner (I’d have hit nails with the drill if I did that), the hardware under the threaded rod would be totally hidden under the 12” piece). I used a washer as a guide to start each hole to ensure sure they were all centered and approximately in the same spot.

Assembling the DIY Wine Rack

With the holes drilled, the exciting part was finally here: assembly! Put a nut at the very end of each threaded rod, followed by a washer. Thread each rod up through each hole, and secure in place on top with another washer and nut.

DIY Wine Rack: Closeup of bottom shelf with threaded rod in place
Closeup of bottom shelf with threaded rod in place

Spin another nut and washer down each rod until they’re at the height you want the next shelf.

DIY Wine Rack: First shelf with threaded rod inserted through bottom, ready for second shelf
First shelf with threaded rod inserted through bottom, ready for second shelf

3 ½” is probably an ideal spacing, but make sure you’re accounting for the extra ½” per shelf taken up by the 32” pieces on the front. So, you’ll want about 4 ½” between the washers for each tier. Slide (finagle?) the second tier down over the threaded rod and ensure it is level. The nice part about this design is the ease with which you can adjust each post’s placement by turning a nut. Slide another washer/nut combination on each rod, and repeat the whole process for the last shelf. Once you’re happy with the placement, tighten all the nuts down with a wrench.

DIY Wine Rack: Closeup of nut and washer ready for next shelf
Closeup of nut and washer ready for next shelf

I was really pleased with how the DIY wine rack turned out! I took our old shelf down and placed this one in our pantry. I easily handled the load of the wine bottles, and they are totally secure in their slots, not banging into each other on the way in or out. The top tier’s emptiness left some room for our other liquor bottles (we enjoy margaritas rather frequently on Mexican Fiesta nights). I thought about hot gluing some ribbon along the front to hide the ends of the wood, and also about wrapping the threaded rod with something festive, like tape or ribbon. I’m happy with the rustic look as-is, though, so no additional adornments for me at the moment.

There you have it, my DIY wine rack! It cost $10 in materials for the hardware, and I used recycled materials for the rest. Sure, a little blood, sweat and tears (wait, that was more sweat: it was a hot day) are needed, too! If you have ready access to the tools and materials, you can do this in an afternoon.

What You’ll Need for a DIY Wine Rack

  • ½” material: (12) 1” x 32”; (6) 1” x 12”; (27) 2” x 12”
  • (6) ⅜” x 12” threaded rod
  • (36) ⅜” flat washers
  • (36) ⅜” nuts
  • Wood glue
  • Drill with ⅜” bit
  • Crescent wrench
  • Nail gun (or a ton of patience with a hammer)
DIY Wine Rack
DIY Wine Rack
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