Building a screen / rack

Building a screen / rack

Now we have a screen! This was such a fun and shared project, I truly couldn’t have made it without you guys. Thank you for your great ideas! We ended up building the rack ourselves with instructions from Design*Sponge. We opted for the DIY version because we needed a very specific size. The space also clearly called for a white rack.

You can find great instructions on Design*Sponge. We had to do some adjustments though, mainly due to the larger size of our rack. I thought I’d share with you the process.

Nuts and bolts

Here’s what you need if you want to make your own screen / rack:

  • Steel plumber’s pipe, 3-4 pieces. You only really need 3 pipes, but we got the fourth one to serve as a weight in the bottom. The pipes come in two finishes, galvanized and black. We got black because they were cheaper and we were going to paint it anyway. In hardware stores you can get them in standard sizes (in Finland 1 m, 1,5 m and 2 m). The measurements weren’t quite right so we ordered custom cut pipes from a local plumbing shop. We ended up getting two 145 cm (57″) and one 130 cm (51″) piece, all 3/4″ thick.
  • Wood board. We had ours cut to measure at a hardware store, it’s 150 cm long, 30 cm wide and 3 cm thick (59″ x 12″ x 1,2″).
  • 2 elbows to connect the pipes and 2 flanges to attach them to the board
  • 4 castors
  • 16 screws and washers to attach the castors
  • 4 bolts and nuts to attach the flanges to the board
  • Primer and paint. I used primer that suits both metal and wood, plus semi-glossy window and door paint.
  • Paint brush
  • Fabric
  • Needle and yarn (possibly a sewing machine and buttons)

Sanding the rust

Get so excited about the project that you forget to think. Screw the pipes together tightly with the elbows to form a massive U. Only then realize that black iron pipes might be rusty and need sanding (especially if they are orange all over) and that handling them is a lot easier if they are not stuck together.

Iron dust gets stuck everywhere, so unless you have an area where it doesn’t matter, drag your U-shaped construction outside. After sanding, drag it back in (if it’s below freezing point outside) and wash it with soap and water. Galvanized pipes don’t need sanding, just a wash.

Or – first sand and wash, then screw tightly.

Marking the spots

Sand the board if there’s any rough spots. I also wanted to round the corners a bit. Wipe any dust off with a moist cloth.

Screw the flanges on the pipes and measure where you want them on the board.

Building a rack / screen

Flip the board and measure where you want the castors to be. We tried 1 cm (1/2″) from both edges, but the wood chipped. In the end Panu screwed them about 2 cm (1″) distance from the edge.

Building a rack / screen

Because our rack is very top-heavy, we tried to add more weight to the bottom, so it wouldn’t flip easily. The pipes are heavy and the board is quite light. If there were small children around, I would make the board wider, so the castors would be wider apart, or add even more weight to the bottom. Maybe a thicker and/or heavier board for example.

Screwing it on

Bolt the flanges onto the board and secure with nuts on the other side.


Now you have a rack. You can leave it as it is, or paint it. We used a primer that suits both metal and wood. After priming, I painted two coats with window and door paint. It’s still a bit transparent, but I like it that way.

Hanging the fabric

Now it’s time to get your fabric out. We were going to buy pink Keisarinna fabric by Marimekko, but realized we had an old curtain of Marimekko’s green Ananas at the attic. It happened to be just the right size. When I get tired of Ananas, Keisarinna is next in line.

Iron your fabric and trim the sides if necessary. One option is is to sew buttons on the fabric, that way you can change it easily. However, I opted for hand-stitching. Because I might want to use mine as a curtain again, I didn’t want button holes on it. (Bad mistake.)

Get desperate, because your hand-stitching looks worse than a first-grader’s. Promise your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/family member you will peel potatoes if he/she will do the rest of the stiching. Hope that no one ever looks at your screen up close.

Finished screen

TA-DAH! And you are finished! Admire your work (from a distance). Make a mental note next time to use buttons.

If the fabric gets creased from sewing, spray water lightly on it. Wait til next morning until it has dried and straightened.

It could also be a rack

If you (no longer) need a screen you can easily turn it into a normal rack. I’ve always dreamt of one so this was the perfect excuse to build it.

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  1. 13

    Tiina, kiitos vinkistä! Kuvittelin että neppareista jää myöskin kauheat aukot kankaaseen niin en niitä harkinnutkaan. Mutta hyvä tietää seuraavan kankaan varalle :)

  2. 15

    Heh, kirjoitustyylisi saa aina hyvälle tuulelle :) Hauska tietää, ettei teilläkään aina kaikki projektit mene kerralla oikein tai helpoimman kautta. Lopputulos näyttää todella hienolta, sekä tilanjakajana että vaaterekkinä.

  3. 19

    Sermi on älyttömän kaunis. Teillä on muutenkin niin keväisen raikasta ja valoista, että oksat pois! Tai no sinun mies ei ehkä ihan kuulu siihen pastellikategoriaan :-) (Hihittelen täällä itsekseni, koska jos pöksyt vaihtaisi kireämpään malliin niin voisin katsella omaa kuomaani, jalkojen asentoa ja hiustupsua myöten!)

  4. 22

    Hei, kiitos paljon ihanista kommenteistanne! Hyvälle mielelle tulee kun niitä lukee :)

    Neiti Napakka, kiitos hyvistä vinkeistä! Ompeluspuoli ei oikein ole ominta alaani, mutta velcro-nauhat voisin minäkin osata hurauttaa :)

  5. 23

    Oon suunnittellut ihan samaista tässä jo hetken, kun törmäsin samantyyppisiin kuviin kuvagooglettamalla. Aivan törkeen hieno tulos! Mitä mahto mennä n. rahaa tähän rakennelmaan?

  6. 24

    Jenni, en nyt muista tarkkaan, mutta olisikohan ollut jotain satasen luokkaa. Meillä oli jo valmiiksi kangas ja maalit, niitten hinnasta en osaa sanoa. Putket oli kallein osa, niissä voi säästää jonkun verran jos hommaa ohuempia.

  7. 30
    How to make your own colorful screen

    […] This pretty much sums up all the instructions you need. Now you basically have a rack. You can either leave it as such or paint it. You can use a primer first and then your choice of color. When you’re done with that part, it’s time to add the fabric to the design. Again, you have total freedom to choose any type of fabric you like. You can decide on the color, texture and pattern. You can either attach it by sewing buttons on the fabric or to hand stitch it. You can either use this piece as a screen or a rack, depending on your needs and preferences.{found on kootutmurut}. […]

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