Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Not-so-high-tech drying rack, AKA The Flexible and Useful Clothespin Stick

I've written a couple of times about my funky little DIY print drying rack, but there's been some interest in it again so I thought it might be time for a more detailed explanation.

I've used this basic clothespins-attached-to-a-stick idea in a number of different ways to accommodate different working situations. If you don't print very often you can even just make a "clothespin stick" and lay it across the tops of two chairs when you need it. When you're done, prop it up in the corner of a closet and put the chairs back in the kitchen.

Materials for your clothespin stick:
  • 1" x 2" x whatever-length-works-in-your-space lumber
  • Wooden clothespins
  • Screws of a diameter to fit through the spring of the clothespin and long enough to go through the width of the clothespin and into the 1 x 2 (I think mine were about 1" long.)

My pins are attached about 2.5" apart, which gives me room to maneuver and lets air get in around the prints. In the earliest iteration of this system I suspended the "clothespin stick" from the ceiling with plant hooks and a pulley so the rack could be raised and lowered to keep it out of the way.

The "original" rack hanging from the ceiling.

And now raised up and out of the way via pulley. There's a coat hook
on the wall to hold the pull string in place.

In my current working situation, however, I am not able to attach anything to the ceiling. My space is very small, so I needed to come up with something that wouldn't take up too much space but would also be movable.

Enter the garment rack.

This is not the exact same model as mine, but it's similar in design and price: $20 (USD).  (This one from Home Depot.)

I attached a "clothespin stick" to the horizontal bar on the garment rack by winding around both with (blue painter's) tape. Something about the way the two braced together made them really sturdy. I thought the tape was only going to be a temporary solution, but it's been on there for more than two years now. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Later I suspended a second clothespin stick below the first with string. First I put eyelet screws in the top of both ends of the stick.

I tied one end of a long piece of string though the eyelet and tied the other end around the horizontal bar of the garment rack. I did this twice, of course, once on each end of the stick.

The strings are long enough that I can lower the second clothespin stick and accommodate large prints top and bottom.  If I'm working on smaller pieces (as I am now) I can raise the stick up by looping the strings around the end of the garment bar a couple times. Like this.

From the end it looks like this:

I'm sure there are plenty of ways to tweak this design, but it's been working great for me. After... him... at least 8 years... some of the clothespins have broken and need to be replaced, but that's the extent of maintenance. So go out and build yourself a clothespin stick and then MAKE MORE PRINTS.


  1. I love printmakers. So willing to share techniques and tools. You are so generous and we are grateful!

  2. Love it! I use my trusty slinky rack my Dad made for me ...holds 60!

  3. I really do have to get John to help me build one of these once he has finished the other 100 projects he has on the go lol :)


Linocut in Progress: The Third Act

Time to wrap up this linocut ! And we are wrapping at warp speed (see what I did there?)... because there are deadlines. Exhibition deadline...