This DIY outdoor standing towel rack was the perfect solution to wet towels from the beach!
Now that we are fully in summer mode, I need to brace myself for the onslaught of weekly laundry loads of beach fare. Wet bathing suits and towels strewn about outside, and sandy toes at the door. When it’s hotter than you know what in FL, there’s only one place to be…the beach! I finally have a plan to help cut down the challenge of drying the piles of wet suits and towels. I made a DIY outdoor standing towel rack for this month’s Power Tool Challenge Team’s theme of “Summer”.
Which is perfect, because this project is part of my 30 days To Fabulous Backyard Makeover!
There’s only one thing worse than a pile of wet beach towels…
…a pile of musty wet beach towels!
Which happens really fast in the summer. My DIY beach towel drying rack holds eight large towels or bathing suits.
How to make a DIY outdoor standing towel rack
One of the best parts of belonging to a group like this is the learning and inspiration that goes on between members. Last month, when Christy from Confessions Of A Serial DIY’er showcased her free-standing plant holder, a light bulb went off in my head. I knew immediately how I was going to solve my wet towel problem!
DIY outdoor standing towel rack cut list
- 1- 4″ x 4″ cut to 6′
- 4 – 1″ PVC pieces cut to 50″ each
- 4- pressure treated 2″ x 4″ cut to 16″ each
DIY standing towel holder tool and supply list
- drill press
- spade bit 1 1/4″ – like this one, Don’t use the type with the point threaded like a screw!
- 2 1/2″ outdoor screws
- combination square
- Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain in Semi-Transparent Acorn Brown.
- Modern Masters Copper Paint
- Modern Masters Metal Effects Primer
- copper solar post cap
- Loctite Power Grab adhesive
- measuring tape
There are few options to make this project if you don’t have a drill press, which I’ll share below. I just happened to get my new Ryobi Drill Press, and couldn’t wait to try it out!
Since I was drilling a six foot 4 x 4 that was heavy, it was easiest to drill it close to the ground. Besides, I didn’t have anything tall enough to prop up the end as high as my table plus the height of the jigsaw! You’ll see my set-up in the picture below.
Mark the 4 x 4, 3″ and 35″ from the top on one side, and 6″ and 38″ from the top on the next side. This will give you two top hanging bars and two lower hanging bar positions.
Three options for attaching the towel bars to the DIY outdoor standing towel rack.
- Use a drill press to drill four holes all the way through the 4 x 4 with a 1 1/4″ spade bit. I drilled pilot holes first and moved to the bigger bit after. Be sure to change the belt speed on your drill press to 900 rpms for the bigger size bit 🙂
- Use a 1 1/4″ Forester bit and a drill or drill press, drill in about an inch or so. Cut the pvc pipe so it has enough length to fit in the hole, and extend 24 inches from the post with the end cap on. Glue it in the hole with the Locktite Power Grab adhesive that Kim Six used on last month’s Power Tool Challenge.
- Use hose clamps to attach the pvc to the side of the 4 x 4 like I suggested in my DIY Coastal Rope Garden Border Fence
Do not attach the pvc towel bars until after base is assembled!
Attach the base to the towel stand
Drill two pilot holes 2″ from the end of each 2 x 4 base piece.
Assemble the base like the picture. It’s easiest if you attach one base piece to one side, flip over the 4 x 4 and attach the next base piece. Then prop it up on something sturdy, (like this cat litter box, LOL) and attach the next leg, flip it again and attach the last leg.
This baby is big, and will hold eight large wet beach towels and bathing suits! This is the perfect spot for it since our outdoor shower is right around that corner. It looks good with my new coastal rope border fence and my DIY hammock stand. If you’d like a smaller towel or coat rack to hang on the house or inside on a wall, you might like this DIY coastal whale coat rack.
I added a copper solar cap to the top.
Since I had to reposition the post when I was drilling it several times, my holes are slightly larger than 1 1/4″. I wanted my pvc bars to be extra snug, so I wrapped some double sided sticky tape around the center and worked it into the drilled hole.
I filled my extra space with with an adhesive I had on hand.
Someone has to get some weeding done 😉
My post has a coat of my new favorite outdoor wood treatment, my Thompson’s WaterSeal Semi-transparent finish. I painted my PVC bars copper to match the copper solar light cap and used Modern Masters, which is an authentic copper paint. Be sure to use their primer f you are using this paint!
Of course building the towel rack was the easy part!
My challenge may be getting everyone to hang their beach towels on my DIY outdoor towel rack as soon as they get home.
If I threaten them with laundry duty, it may just work;)
Looking for more outdoor and backyard summer inspiration? See my other 30 days To Fabulous Backyard Makeover Projects!
This freestanding outdoor DIY towel drying rack is perfect for a pool, beach, lake house or any household who uses lots of summer beach towels.
Where would you use one?
Summer is all about outdoor and outdoor fun. Take a look below to see what the rest of the Power Tool Challenge Team created this month!
1 Frozen Treat Stand by My Love To Create
2 Red White And Blue Cornhole Game by Create And Babble
3 Drying Rack From Old Crib Rail by The Kim Six Fix
4 Chair Spindle Wooden Garden Caddy by Interior Frugalista
5 Star Clothes Drying Rack by A Piece Of Rainbow
6 Farmhouse Bench Building Plans by Refresh Restyle
7 Vegetable Gathering Basket by Designs By Studio C
8 DIY Standing Towel Rack Tutorial by H2OBungalow (That’s me!)
9 Reclaimed Wood Bookcase by Confessions of A Serial DIY’er
10 DIY Footstool by Virginia Sweet Pea
11 DIY Hose Hanger by My Repurposed Life
I made it! In Canada and while covid-19 is here, there isn’t any PVC available so I used galvanized electrical conduit pipe. I followed all your measurements, however, you need to use oil based primer on the conduit before the copper paint. Thanks for this idea and I’m sure my grandchildren will love it for the pool area. Excellent information and design.
Wendi Wachtel says
Thank you so much for your note! I’d love to see what your towel holder looks like with the galvanized pipe! We love our towel holder it’s been such a useful addition to the yard! If you’d like to share a picture that I can use on social media, my H2OBungalow Facebook page, please email it to me – [email protected]!
Thanks for the awesome idea!
I built mine with real 1/2 copper pipe and drilled the holes completely through the 4×4 rather then cut the pipes to length and seat them in partially.
Thanks for sharing your DIY towel stand modification. I’m sure the copper pipe will look great and you’ll enjoy your towel rack for a long time 🙂 We still use ours and love it!
I’m working on one in white.. cap, poles, dry brushe’d 4×4 before the water seal…. super excited!! (
Hi Rachel, A white standing outdoor towel rack sounds beautiful! You’ll love how well it works, mine is a few years old and has held up really well in the tough FL weather. I’d love it if you’d share a picture on my H2OBungalow Facebook page:) Wednesdays are are share days and I post a share thread each week. Thanks so much for your note and visit!
This is genius! Such a smart idea, and I love that it can hold so many towels! Now I just need a beach house so I can build my own 😉 Thanks for linking up with Merry Monday this week!
Hi Emily! Thank you so very much:) It’s been used like crazy since I put it up. I’m thinking I should have built one long ago! Thanks so much for your visit!
Sheryl G says
Oh my gosh! I love this idea!
Hi Sheryl and thank you! I don’t know what took me so long to make it. We’ve used the daylights out of his towel rack since I made it:) Thanks so much for your visit!
Mary-the boondocks blog says
What a really great solution to this common problem. The towel stand looks so classy. And you even added trim to the top! Now just make sure they use it! 😉
Hi Mary! Thank you, we are loving the new towel stand and so are the kids. I think they like the over-sized bars for the beach towels. We had no where to hang anything wet before. Thanks so much for your visit!
handmade by amalia says
Practical and pretty – a great project.
Hi Amalia and thank you! We’ve used the daylights of this towel rack already. I’m wishing I’d made it a few years ago…LOL Thanks so much for your visit!
A must have near the beach or a swimming pool.
I am really fond of the base detail, it’s pretty and architectural. 🙂
yes, TPC…it’s useful! I have no idea why I didn’t make one of these a long time ago too! It’s been used everyday since I put it up! BTW- this base is useful in so many different ways:) I wish I had a bunch pre-made, I keep thinking of other ideas where I could use them:) Thanks so much for your visit!
I’m late to the party! Somehow I visited everyone last week except our hostess!
I think you did a fabulous job on your outddor standing towel rack Wendi. Great tips!
isn’t it funny the things we see in pictures? (weeding) I actually hadn’t noticed the weeds in the bricks until you mentioned it. I was so busy looking at your fabulous project!
so excited to see you move along in your 30 day backyard challenge!
Hi Gail! Funny! Thanks for the compliment on my project. I can’t believe how much use it’s had since I put it up. Seriously, starting the same day. Yes..those weeds grow between the pavers really thick there because of the outdoor shower. I’m having a ball with the 30 Day Makeover too:) Thanks so much for your visit!
Brilliant, wish I would have had this when I lived in Florida. You made it look so pretty, it is so creative.
Your back yard is looking so beautiful.
Hi Patty & thank you! I’m surprised myself at how much use it’s already had:) My daughter and 4 year old grandson have been here all week and I think we’ve used it every day! As always, thank you for reading and I love your super nice comments! Have a good week!
Serena @ Thrift Diving says
So clever! You’ve given me and idea on how to get the wood to stand up with the wooden legs. I plan to make outdoor lighting poles and wanted something moveable. I like this idea for that. Great job and so creative!
Awesome Serena! This is a fabulous idea for outdoor lights too! Thanks so much for stopping by:)
Such a brilliant idea! I love it Wendi, a perfect way to keep all those towels and suits up and dry!! I also love copper accents!!
Hi Mindi and Thank you! We’ve needed a wet towel solution for the last 3 years, I’m thrilled I finally had motivation to come up with something:) Thanks so much for your visit!
[email protected] Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer says
I love it, Wendi, and thanks for the shout out! It looks fabulous and perfect for those wet towels and wetsuits! I think I may just add a few more hooks to mine and use it for towels too! XO
Hi Christy… You started a thing! Serena from Thrift Diving is loving the base idea for another project! I’m thinking of making one or two for plants too! LOL..
Cher @ Designs by Studio C says
Wendi, you did a fabulous job on this towel rack! I love the PVC arms and how you painted them to match… This is a really fabulous project!
Hi Cher and thank you! It’s a simple project that is highly functional. Especially with the outdoor shower around the corner which is heavily used after a day at the beach:) Thanks so much for your visit!
This project is perfect for your coastal home and something that I could really use at the lake. I love how you painted the PVC to look like copper and to tell you the truth, I’d never have known that it wasn’t copper if you hadn’t told me! Great job!
Hi Paula and yes, you could use one of these at your lake house! We’ve put this one to good use this week, and now I’m wondering why on earth I didn’t make it earlier! LOL.. Thanks so much for your visit:)
Marie, The Interior Frugalista says
Wow, I had to go back in your post to reread the part about the rods not being real copper! Your towel rack is so nice looking that even when it’s not being used it looks great. Love the solar light cap top – clever idea. I had a little chuckle when I saw the base of your towel rack because I too saw that same post where you got your inspiration and am working on a project for my daughter’s wedding using that nice and sturdy base style. Nice job!!!
Too funny Marie! It seems Christy inspired several good DIY projects from her last PTC project:) I love the MM paint for this project, I needed to up the look on the plain pvc, the paint worked beautifully:) Thanks so much for your visit my friend!
Vanessa D. says
There’s nothing worse than a pile of wet musty smelling towels and bathing suits! I love the copper look of the cross pieces.
I couldn’t agree more on the wets musty towels Vanessa! Plus, it’s so hard to get the smell out once it’s set in 🙁 I love the Modern Master copper paint for this project. I used the whole kit with the aging patina spray to make a faux bronze look in our butterfly garden. It’s stood up fabulously in the direct sun over the last year:) Thanks so much for your visit!