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How to Make Hairbrush Rack & Shelf

My aim with DIY projects around the home is to look for innovative space-saving ideas and save costs on materials by recycling.

The new hairbrush rack with mirror

The new hairbrush rack with mirror

Redesign & Remake

A few years ago I’d made a hairbrush rack from recycled wood and wire for our bedroom; and since we’ve found it functional, albeit rather basic. So as part of our recent bedroom renovation I decided to redesign the hairbrush rack, adding a small shelf and incorporating it into the base of a wall mirror.

The new design serves the same function as the old hairbrush rack, except that the grove on the top for holding combs will be replaced by a proper shelf to put the combs on, and the mirror that was previously hung above the old rack will be supported by the shelf of the new rack.

Recycled Materials

  • Wood: As before I used recycled wood; this time using off-cuts from the new skirting board that I fitted during the bedroom renovation.
  • Wire Pegs: I re-used the wire pegs from the original hairbrush rack.
  • Mirror: After fitting the original hairbrush rack I retrospectively fitted a wall mirror above it, and incorporated the mirror into the redesign.

By using off-cuts from the skirting board, which I’d pre-varnished with three coats of oak coloured floor varnish, there would be little finishing required when the new rack was assembled, except for rubbing teak oil into the end grain to obtain a near uniform finish. Optionally I could have touched up the ends with varnish, but for end grain the teak-oil gives a similarly pleasing finish that blends in quite well.

Cut Wood to Size

Using skirting board leftover from our bedroom renovation:

  • With a tape measure, square and pencil I measured and marked the length for cutting the first piece; using the old hairbrush as a guide.
  • Used a mitre saw to cut the first piece to size for the rack length.
  • Marked out and cut an identical length, for the shelf.
  • Cut a corner off the left-hand side of the shelf.

I cut the corner at 45 degrees on the left-hand side of the shelf because the hairbrush rack will be fitted on the wall behind the bedroom door, upon which dressing gowns are hung, so having the corner rounded prevents the risk of the wood from digging into and damaging the dressing gowns hanging up behind the bedroom door.

Once the two pieces of wood were cut to size I just quickly hand sanded them to round off the edges and corners.

Wire Pegs

Salvaging the Wire Pegs

Rather than make new pegs from scratch I decided to re-use the pegs from the old hairbrush rack. However, as they are tight fitting the only practical way to get them out was to cut them out using the mitre saw; carefully lining up the saw blade to cut next to the wire but not actually touch it – repeating the same process for each peg until all the pegs had been reclaimed.

Gauging Wire Pegs Diameter

In order for the wire pegs to be as tight fitting in the new hairbrush rack I’d need to know their dimeter so that I can pre-drill hole in the rack slightly smaller than the pegs.

To achieve this I used the gauge plate in one of my drill and screwdriver assessor box.

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In taking the measurement, the wire pegs turned out to be 3mm thick (about 1/8th inch), thus for a tight fit I would need to use a 2.5mm drill bit.

How the Pegs Were Originally Made

I made the wire pegs for the original hairbrush rack from 3mm (1/8th inch diameter wire) e.g. recycled from an old wire clothes hanger. To make the pegs:-

  • Place the wire in a metal vice and cut to the desired length with a hacksaw.
  • Round the ends smooth in a bench grinder.

The desired length being the thickness of the wood that the pegs will be tapped into, plus a little longer than the depth of the holes in the hairbrush handles.

Fitting Pegs in Wooden Rack

To ensure the hairbrushes don’t fall off the pegs, the pegs should be set into the wood at a slight upward angle. To achieve this with all the pegs being uniform, it’s best to use a bench drill (rather than trying to drill the hole by hand), and to prop the wood up a slight angle when drilling the holes. This was achieved as follows:-

  • Use a tape measure, pencil and straight edge to mark out where to drill the holes for the pegs; evenly spaced and off centre along its length e.g. so that the pegs will be about two thirds down the length of the rack, spaced out at about 35mm (1 ½ inch) apart.
  • Using a small clamp to hold a piece of scrap wood to the underside of the rack, a piece of wood that’s narrower than the rack so that when placed on a flat surface it creates a slight slope.
  • Use a bench drill to drill the hole in the rack.
  • Gently tap each wire peg into the holes with a hammer, and check each one is lined up properly; tweaking by either gently tapping with the hammer, or using pliers to slightly bend into position, if necessary.

Assembly

To assemble the hairbrush rack and shelf:-

  • Hold the rack in a wooden bench vice.
  • Apply wood glue along the top edge.
  • Drill a couple of pilot holes in the shelf; one hole at each end.
  • Place the shelf in position on top of the rack, and secure with screws.

Making Good

The wood I used was pre-varnished, except for the ends and angled cut on the left side of the shelf. So rubbing in teak oil to the cut wood and end grain blended them in with the existing varnish. I could have varnished to ends to match, but using teak oil was just as effective.

Fixing Rack and Mirror to Wall

Previously the mirror was an addition fitted above the old hairbrush rack with four plastic mirror wall mounting clips. This time I wanted the mirror to be incorporated in the shelf of the rack, so that the shelf would support the bottom of the mirror, while it would be held at the top with just two plastic mirror wall mounting clips.

Therefore the process of fixing was:-

  1. Screw the rack and shelf unit to the wall.
  2. Place the mirror in place, resting it on top of the shelf, and securing the top of the mirror with a couple of plastic wall mounting clips.
  3. Glue a suitable piece of beading in place wedging the mirror to the wall.

Your Hairbrush Storage

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Arthur Russ