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DIY Nautical Towel Rack

NauticalTowel Rack

The kids are back in school, but we still have plenty of hot summer weather here in Arizona. This means a lot of time by the pool.  My boys swim every single day, and always leave a pile of towels left in their wake.  I was tired of the towels and swim trunks piling up in their bathroom, so I decided it was time to make a designated place for them to hang everything to dry.  This DIY Nautical Towel Rack keeps their bathroom picked up and it adds a little fun nautical decor to the pool area, so it’s a win-win!


  • 1 – 1x6x8′ cedar board
  • 1 – 5 gallon paint stick
  • 1 roll of 1×2″ sisal rope (about 10 feet)
  • 6 coat hooks
  • Green Apple spray paint
  • acrylic paint in the color of your choice (I used Americana Bahama Blue)
  • Wood Glue
  • Super Glue
  • Staple Gun with 3/4″ staples
  • 1 yard of adhesive vinyl and transfer paper for the stencil
  • Die-cutting machine
  • 1 1/2″ hose clamps
  • 1/2″ self-tapping screws


Spray paint the coat hooks and set them aside to dry.


While the paint dries on the hooks, cut the cedar board into two 3′ sections.  (If you have a bigger family, you can always just cut it in half for a bigger towel rack. ) Cut the 5 gallon paint stick into three pieces to attach to the back.


Line up the boards and attach the paint sticks to the back using wood glue and staples.  If you don’t have a staple gun, a brad nailer with 3/4″ nails will work as well.


Cut 5′ sections of the sisal rope to make the knots.  Double up the rope and make a figure 8 as shown in the images below.
knot collageAttach the rope to each end of the cedar boards.  Center the knot over the seam in the wood and wrap it tightly around the back.  Secure to the back with 3/4″ staples.  I always like things to be extra secure, so adding super glue to the knots helps keep everything in place.


Evenly space the coat hooks onto the cedar plank and screw into place.


Spray some of the spray paint into a cup and paint over the screws to match the hooks.


Design a stencil (using the design software used for your cutting machine) or free hand a message on your rack.  You can use whatever text you like.  Being a boy mom, there are FAR more swim trunks here than there are bikinis, so I designed mine to say “Towels & Trunks.”  I used the Thirsty Script font for a vintage, nautical look.  Measure the space between your ropes on the rack and set your text to fit inside that space.


Use transfer paper to attach the stencil to the towel rack and paint the design.


This towel rack can be hung in a variety of different ways.  If you have a wrought iron pool fence, hose clamps are an easy way to attach it to the fence.  If attaching it to a solid surface, read Jessica’s post to find the best way to hang objects.  If using hose clamps, attach them to the back of the towel rack using 1/2″ self-tapping screws.

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Open up the hose clamps and place over the pool fence.  Tighten the hose clamps.  You’ll have to pardon my half painted/half primed pool fence.  The weather got too hot before I could finish painting it, but the hose clamps make it so easy to take this down when the weather does cool off and I can finish painting everything.



Not only do I have bright and pretty decor around the pool now, but my hope is that this new designated place will be the new drop zone for my boys to leave their towels and swim trunks. Their bathroom floor should stay clear now.  Now to figure out a way to keep their pool toys organized!


~learn more about Katie~


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3 replies
  1. Ivory
    Ivory says:

    This is an amazing idea. I love what you created here, and I will be trying to emulate this idea. As always, you never disappoint. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pia
    Pia says:

    this is a brilliant idea for next to the pool.
    As someone who lives just three blocks from the beach, I can see that this is also an excellent idea for the my back fence, so that sandy towels can be used a few days in a row and none of the sand makes it way inside.


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