The worst thing about DIYing gifts for your family is that you can't show them off on the blog until after Christmas. So much for giving other people ideas for their own gifts, right?
My aunt is a bit of a book lover. Family members who read here are laughing right now at the "bit" part. She has a used bookstore in our home town that is stuffed to the gills with books of every genre. So what better gift to give her than a wall-mounted coat rack made from vintage books?
I first saw this idea on the Knick of Time Interiors website and pinned it to my "Future Projects" Pinterest board for later. Isn't her coat rack cute? I loved the different-sized hooks and the off-kilter books and knew it would be the perfect gift for my aunt.
The original instructions involve screwing the wood to the back of the books, the books to each other, and then the hooks to the front of the books, but we thought it might be easier - and stronger - if we ran long machine bolts straight through from front to back, locking them in with nuts. This method requires you to have a selection of drill bits and other tools, so if you're workshop is limited you might want to use the other instructions.
Tom & I have a bad habit of leaving building handmade gifts until the last minute, but I knew this one was going to take some time, so I got right on it. I headed to the local used bookstore to get some vintage books in varying sizes and colours. Just imagine how much I was cringing when I told the lady at the bookstore that I was looking for cheap hardcover books that I could drill holes into. But she was actually kind of excited when I explained the project and asked if I would make one for her too!
I didn't really choose the books according to author, I was looking mostly at colour and size, but I still got a good variety with some classics mixed in. There is some Hemingway, some Shaw, and a couple of books from series' that my aunt already had. For a minute she thought I'd used books from her shop!
The hooks came from Canadian Tire, except the second one which is from Lee Valley Tools. That one is my favourite - made of hand-forged iron. I was hoping to find some authentic vintage hooks in local resale stores but I couldn't find a single one. Still, I think these ones have an old vibe.
To put it together you'll need long machine bolts with tapered heads, matching nuts, and a piece of plywood as a backing board. Make sure the bolts are longer than you'll need - you'll be cutting the excess off later. You'll also need black paint if you want the bolt heads to blend in with the hooks. We spray painted the heads ahead of time to keep from getting paint on the hooks.
Here's where Tom took over. First, he cut three keyholes into the back of the board to make it easy to hang. All you need to do to hang it is insert three screws (with anchors) into the wall the same distance apart as the holes and slip the coat rack onto the screws.
I arranged the books on the board and then the hooks on the books in the exact pattern I wanted them. Tom then drilled small guide holes into the covers of the books where the bolts would go.
He drilled holes down through the books and the plywood using the guide holes from before. Once the holes are drilled, you can remove the clamps as you can now use the holes to line everything back up if something gets moved around.
You'll now remove the mounting board so you can widen the holes at the back. You want the nuts to sink down flush with the board. Tom used a cone-shaped tapered bit to widen the holes to the right size.
Then you put the board back on and thread the nuts onto the bolts, tightening them right down until they disappear into the holes.
Here she is, all ready to go.
This is one of my favourite things we've ever built. It makes me want to run out and buy more books and start a coat rack-building business.
Are you a bibliophile? Do you know someone who is?
Do you think this is something you'd ever make?