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February 2, 2018 —

Make: a driftwood clothes rail

A DIY project from making your own hanging clothes rail using a foraged piece of driftwood
91 Magazine editor Caroline Rowland
Caroline Rowland
91 Magazine
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Open clothes storage is becoming more and more popular with stylish clothes rails being favoured over bulky wardrobes which can often leave your clothes smelling fusty. In our SS17 issue, the home tour with Britt and Sander from Daily Poetry showed how they’d used simple black metal rails and a bookcase to store their clothing – simple but effective (see here)

DIY project - make a branch clothes rail

Today we are sharing a DIY project from new book Woodworking on how to make your own branch clothes rail for next to nothing. Apart from some lengths of leather and a few inexpensive tools, you’ll just need to invest some time sourcing a suitable piece of wood and then creating and installing it – resulting in a totally unique way to store and display your wardrobe.


  • 1 piece of driftwood, approx. 140cm (55 inches) in length. Consider the thickness of the stick as it must be suitable for your chosen hangers.
  • 2 pieces of leather, approx. 3cm (1¼ inches) wide and 5m (16½ feet) long (the length will depend on the height of your ceiling). Natural leather is hard to cut, so we tend to ask our local leather merchant to cut it for us
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper (#150)
  • Leather hole punch
  • 2 x 1cm (½ inch) copper or brass nails/studs for each strap
  • Hand saw
  • 2 x strong screws (for attaching wardrobe (closet) to the ceiling)
  • Ruler
  • Electric (hand-held) drill
driftwood clothes hanger - DIY
make a driftwood clothes rail

STEP 01 – Comb your nearest beach for a suitable piece of driftwood, then leave your chosen wood to dry out in the sun.

STEP 02 – Use the sandpaper to clean and polish the rough edges. Run the sandpaper along the stick to make sure there are no splinters or small rough knots.

creating a branch clothes hanger with leather straps

STEP 03 – Using the saw, cut the stick to your desired length. The maximum length would be 150cm (59 inches), to ensure the stick is strong enough.

STEP 04 – Using the leather hole punch, prepare two holes in the leather around 1cm (¹⁄³ inch) inside the edge of the strap and 25cm (10 inches) from the end. You could even ask your leather merchant to cut the holes. Hammer the copper or brass nails or studs into place.

wood and leather clothes hanger

STEP 05 – Loop the leather straps around each end of your chosen branch.

STEP 06 – Check the exact measurement between the two leather straps and mark the two spots on the ceiling where the straps will be attached. Drill holes in the ceiling for the screws and attach the straps to the ceiling.

driftwood clothes rail - DIY project

The branch could literally be hung using any material: rope, rough twine, coarse fabric, even an old fine silk scarf. You can hang it next to a wall as a sort of separate closet, but it also works beautifully as a room divider. And while it’s perfect for holding your clothes in the bedroom, you could also use it as an installation for pots and pans over your kitchen sink, swapping the clothes hangers with some beautiful vintage meat hooks from a butcher.

If this has got you in the mood for trying your hand working with wood a bit more, then do check out this book – Woodworking by Andrea Brugi and Samina Langholz. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20). Out 22nd March 2018. Pre order now.

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