A Place to Hang Your Hats

A hat storage rack is a fast and easy project that will declutter your home.

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I was having dinner with my family a couple of weeks ago and it seemed that each and every family member was talking about personal collections. My mom collects ceramic angels of all types -- well, maybe not fallen angles, but certainly the ones with cute little cherub faces. My older brother collects any thing to do with basset hounds; I guess when you own animal you become attached to the breed so you pay tribute by purchasing any kind of a resemblance. But my cat is out of luck; he's just an ole alley cat and I'm not starting a Tom and Jerry collection.

So what's my point? Well, I was beginning to feel left out of the family discussion; I didn't have an identity because I don't collect anything. Or that's what I thought until I got home and opened my closet and saw, on the top shelf, staring right at me, about two dozen baseball caps, maybe more. I do collect something! Baseball caps. Every time I go on vacation or visit a city to do a home and garden show I purchase a cap to remind me of my trip. I even have Shari Hiller, my favorite co-host, pick me up caps when she's on vacation. (By the way, Shari is starting a globe collection, the earth type, so Christmas will be easy this year.)

Anyway, over the years I have amassed quite a, you got it, collection of baseball caps. So now that I have put my caps in a category, I need to display them. So I put together a project that will take you two hours, tops, to execute. That probably even includes shopping for the materials. The project: a hat storage rack.

Start by cutting a piece of 1 x 4-inch poplar to length; the more hats, the longer the board. This will be the faceplate of the shelf. I divided mine up into two lengths, a longer shelf that measures 8 feet and a shorter shelf that measures 6 feet. Using a router with an ogee bit (of course you can use any type of router bit you would like, maybe you have a collection of bits), rout one length and the two end pieces. Then lightly sand with 220-grit sandpaper.

Cut a piece of 1 x 2 so that it is about one 1 inch longer on both ends of the faceplate; this will be the top of the shelf. Attach the 1 x 2 to the faceplate by first running a bead of glue along the top of the face and then secure with finish nails. Set the nails and fill with spackle.

Prime the shelf with latex wood primer and allow that coat to dry before applying two coats of paint the color of your choice. I choose a white latex satin paint so that the hat colors would pop against the white background.

Purchase hooks at a home center store and attach to the faceplate. Space the hooks far enough apart so that you have plenty of room for the hats to hang without touching. To attach the hooks, mark the location of the hooks, drill pilot holes and secure with the screws supplied with the hooks.

To mount the shelves to the wall, drill two pilot holes at each end of the face board. Then using a spade bit drill a larger hole for wooden buttons that will hide the screws used to attach the shelf to the wall. Hold the shelf into position, level and push an awl through the pre-drilled pilot holes to mark the shelf location. Screw in two self anchoring molleys into the wall, reposition the shelf and secure with screws through the pilot holes. A little bead of glue on the buttons, pop into position and touch up the buttons with paint, and that's all there is to it.

I have a friend who collects all the NFL team helmets. I built him a shelf for his basement and he now has a great place to show off his... what? You got it, his collection.

(Matt Fox and Shari Hiller alternate writing this column. They also co-host the Home & Garden Television show Room By Room.)

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