Make the ultimate laundry folding table, complete with pull-out sweater drying racks
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When we were planning out our laundry room, our top priority was function. We wanted to make the best use of our space and have plenty of room to dry all of our clothes.
What better way to maximize space than to create the ultimate folding station? It has 3 functions:
- A big space to fold all the clothes
- A spot to keep our laundry cart that’s out of the way
- ALL THE DRYING DRAWERS
We managed to squeeze all those functions into a little space and you know what’s crazy? Since we finished the laundry room update, I’ve been looking forward to doing laundry.
I know, it sounds absolutely insane, but this folding station has been a game-changer for our family and I hope it is for you too!
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
- Miter Saw
- Electric Sander
- Nail Gun
- Kreg Multi-Mark Tool
- Kreg K4
- Rubber Mallet
- Scissors (I highly recommend these Power Snips. They cut through pretty much anything like butter and were a lot faster to use on the laundry bags)
- Staple Gun
- Circular Saw with track
What You’ll Need
Get the exact quantities and cut list in the printable plans.
- 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ plywood (we used a combination of scrap maple and oak plywood. If you’re looking for a smooth paint finish, maple plywood will paint smoother and the grain won’t show through nearly as much as oak)
- 1/2″ dowels
- Mesh laundry bags (we could cover 2 drawers with one bag)
- Staples that fit your staple gun
- Kreg 1.25″ screws
- 1.25″ wood screws
- 1/2″ screws
- Wood glue
- Sandpaper (80-220 grit)
- Sealer for the drying racks (this spray sealer makes is so quick and easy to apply)
- Stain or primer and paint (ours is painted in Sherwin Williams Repose Gray semi-gloss and the countertop is Carbonized in eggshell)
- Drawer slides (we used the 22″ slides)
- Hardware (we got the 11″)
Note: we used 5/16″ dowels on ours, but I would recommend getting heftier dowels to feel confident holding heavier items. We used the 1/2″ dowels on our fold-down drying rack and they are very sturdy.
Since this laundry folding table also has lay flat drying drawers, we’ll break it down into three sections. If you’re only interested in the DIY sweater drying racks, scroll on down to the “how to make a sweater drying rack” section.
Making a laundry room folding table
Before we dive into actually making the table, it’s important to note that the perfect laundry folding table height is between 30-34″ rather than the standard lower cabinet height of 36″. The extra few inches might not seem like a lot, but they will make a big difference in your comfort when folding clothes.
If you’re on the taller side, shoot for closer to 34″. If you’re on the short side, 30″ would be a better height for you.
Now that we’ve figured out the proper height of the folding table, let’s dive into actually making it.
STEP 1: CUT your plywood to size
Get the full cut list in the printable plans.
You should cut your plywood into a total of 5 pieces: 4 “legs” and 1 countertop.
STEP 2: Make the middle leg
The middle leg is the simplest to make. First glue two pieces of plywood together so that they are lined up. Pre-drill four holes, one near each corner. Then add 1.25″ screws to each of the holes and cover the screws with wood filler.
Cut a 1×2 to match the height of plywood. Glue and nail it to the front to plywood.
If your table isn’t going to be up against the wall, you can add a 1×2 on the backside as well to hide the plywood edge. If you do this, make sure you made you countertop deep enough to account for the extra 1×2.
STEP 3: Make the outside legs
For these two, we are going to add a shaker style frame to one side using 1x4s. This will make the legs more sturdy while also adding a nice detail.
Glue the 1x4s to one side of the plywood, making sure that the edges of the plywood line up with the edges of the 1x4s.
Then measure and cut a 1×2 to match the height of each of the plywood legs. Attach the 1×2 to the front of the legs using glue and nails.
Fill any nail holes with wood filler or spackle. You can also fill any gaps you might have between the 1x4s you added.
STEP 4: MAKE THE COUNTERTOP
This countertop is extremely simple to make and I’ll even share my simple tip to making it look completely seamless.
First take your plywood piece and measure and cut (2) 1X2s that will be nailed onto either end. Then cut the 1x2s that will go across the front and back.
You could also miter the corners, but since we were just painting the countertop, we didn’t worry about making it fancy.
Glue and nail your 1x2s to the edges of your plywood, making sure the top of the plywood is flush with the top of the 1×2. You should have a 3/4″ overhang on your countertop.
Once everything is assembled, it’s time for my secret for a seamless finish. Put a layer of spackle or wood filler on the seam of the plywood and 1×2. Yes, even put a little bit on the places that don’t look like there is a gap. Also fill all of the seams between the 1x2s.
STEP 5: Drill pocket holes
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
Drill 5-6 pocket holes on the top of one side of each of the legs, using the settings for 3/4″ wood. These will be used to attach the countertop in a bit.
Start approximately 2″ from the end and then place a pocket hole every 6″.
STEP 6: Sand, prime, and paint
Sand everything down with 120 and 180 grit sandpaper. If you used wood filler or spackle, make sure to get all the excess off so that you’re left with one solid surface.
For best results, don’t forget to sand with a 220-grit sanding block between coats.
How to make a sweater drying rack
STEP 1: CUT YOUR 1x2s
For each drying rack, we had a total of 4 – 1x2s. The dimensions are available in the plans.
STEP 2: CUT YOUR DOWELS
Before cutting your dowels, tape a handful of dowels together (we taped about 8 together) in multiple places. About an inch from each end and in the middle should suffice.
Cut a small piece off the end of your dowels to ensure that they are all flush. Then measure and cut your dowels to the size you need them to be.
STEP 3: Drill pocket holes
Drill 1 pocket hole on each end of the front and back 1x2s.
STEP 4: Make a guide for your dowels
You can read how exactly we made the guide in our fold-down drying rack post. It’s the exact same process. The only difference is that the spacing will be slightly different, but you can get that in the plans.
It’s important to make a guide for a couple of reasons:
- It makes drilling all the holes way faster
- It will ensure consistent spacing for your dowels which means the two sides will actually line up.
STEP 5: DRILL HOLES FOR YOUR DOWELS
Clamp your guide to the sides of your drying rack and drill your holes. Make sure you don’t drill all the way through your sides!
When you’re drilling holes for your dowels, you might be lucky and have a drill bit that’s actually just a hair bigger than your dowels. If so, that’s great! Just use that.
If you’re like us, we had one that’s the exact size of our dowels. A size up was too big, but the exact size makes it’s really difficult to install. To make your holes just slightly bigger, you can wiggle your drill in a circular while drilling. Super official, I know 😉
STEP 6: ASSEMBLE YOUR SWEATER DRYING RACKS
Start by attaching the front and back to one side using glue and Kreg screws.
Then insert a drop of glue into each hole and insert your dowels. Try to get them consistent height, but it’s okay if they aren’t.
Place the second side of your drying rack on your work space and line the dowels up with the holes. You’ll need to line up the longest ones first and then insert the shorter ones. If you need some assistance getting a snug fit, hit the sides of the drying racks a few times with a rubber mallet.
Once your dowels are fitting well, secure the sides to the front and back with Kreg screws.
STEP 7: SEAL YOUR DRYING RACKS
Since our drying racks are wood and the clothes on them will have some moisture, we wanted to seal our wood before adding the mesh. We followed the instructions on the can of our spray sealer.
STEP 8: ADD YOUR MESH
Note: you don’t have to add mesh to all (or any) of your drying racks. They’ll work just fine without them. The mesh just makes it easier to dry smaller items since it prevents anything from falling through. For our drying drawers, we left mesh off of 2 of the drawers so that we could hang a few items like yoga pants and shirts.
To add your mesh, start by cutting up your mesh bag along the seams so that it’s a large rectangle. Staple your laundry bag to the inside of your drawers in between each dowel. Keep the mesh tight and try to staple in line with the top of the dowels.
Continue stapling all around, making sure to pull the mesh bag so that it’s tight. Don’t pull too hard where it wants to rip though!
Cut off the excess mesh using PowerSnips. Seriously, these things are amazing. They cut through anything like butter and won’t fray the ends of your mesh.
STEP 9: ATTACH YOUR DRAWER FRONTS
If you are making your sweater drying rack into drawers, you’ll want to first pre-drill for your hardware.
Once you’ve done that, glue the front of your drying rack and position the drawer front onto the drying rack. We used our Kreg Multi-Mark Tool to quickly make sure that the drawer was centered both vertically and horizontally. Once you’ve got it into position, clamp it into place and double-check your positioning.
Grab your drill and drill through the holes you previously made for the hardware. Insert the screw and attach your hardware.
Note: if you are using a knob or forgoing hardware, you might want to screw the drawer front to the drawer base in two places to make sure it is secure. Make sure you don’t pre-drill all the way through the drawer front!
Assembling the laundry folding table with lay flat drying drawers
STEP 1: Measure and mark where your drawers will go
Even though we tried our best to get the drawer fronts perfectly lined up, sometimes they aren’t perfect. So instead of measuring the placement of the drawers based on the distance between the drawer slides, we’ll do it based on the spacing of the drawer fronts.
You don’t need to worry about marking the drawer sides, focus on marking where the drawer fronts should be positioned.
The exact spacing we used can be found in the plans.
STEP 2: Attach the drawer slides to the drawers
We broke out our Kreg Multi-Mark Tool for this step and first marked the center of the 1×2 side. Then we lined up with hardware with the center line and installed.
STEP 3: Attach the hardware to one side of the folding table
Slide the drawer slide onto the hardware that’s attached to the drawer. Place the drawer on the side of the folding table leg and position the drawer front so that it lines up with the marks you made in step 1.
Mark the sides of the drawer slide and then remove the drawer slide from your drawer. Position your drawer slide to line up with what you just marked, positioning it about 1/16″ back (you can eyeball this) from the start of the plywood. Note that I said plywood and not from the 1×2 edge.
Measure from the bottom of the side to the bottom of the drawer slide, making sure the distance is the same all the way across. We used our Kreg Multi-Mark Tool to quickly check the measurements.
Screw the drawer slide hardware to the side of the folding table. Repeat the process until all of your drawer slides are installed on one side.
Then install your drawer hardware to the legs of the folding station. You can see our technique for installing the hardware in the plans.
STEP 4: Assemble
Place the countertop on the floor facedown. First attach the side legs using glue and pocket holes.
Then place the middle leg approximately where you think it’ll go and slide in a few drawers. You’ll probably need two people for this step 😉
Once you get the leg in a position that the drawers can easily slide in and out, mark where the middle leg should go with a pencil.
Add glue and line the middle leg up with the marks you made. Screw in a few of the pocket holes and test the drawers again. If they’re sliding smoothly, keep installing. If they’re not, adjust the position of the middle leg until they are.
Flip it over and test the drawers one more time. If it’s good to go, put it in place and start drying all your sweaters and folding all your clothes!
Note: If you want your table to be extra sturdy, you can add an additional support between side leg and middle leg on the side that doesn’t have the drawers.
There you have it! You just made the best DIY laundry room folding station out there!
Not only is there plenty of space for your laundry cart and to fold endless mountains of clothes, but there are extra special DIY sweater drying rack drawers for you to use. I’d say this might be the most functional piece of furniture to ever hit your laundry room.
Now if you have a small laundry room or just need more drying space, check out our fold-down drying rack tutorial. It’s practical, it’s pretty, and it barely takes us any space!
Don’t forget to grab the full printable plans for the detailed cut list, step-by-step instructions, and 3D renderings.