March 9, 2014

Pinterest Project: DIY Wall Coffee Mug Rack... How things are never as easy as they seem and why I should have listened to my father the first time

So ya ya it's been a while blah blah blah... let's just pretend I've been actively posting the last year and a half... it will be a lot easier than trying to explain the reason for my blog absence other than I have none except life... it happens... lets move on.

So feeling the need for a project last weekend, since the Hubs was working under deadline, I started perusing everyones favorite time-suck Pinterest. and stumbled upon this (and can I tell you how I loathe pins that link to NOTHING.)

Seemed easy enough right... it's a piece of wood and some hooks... how hard could it be... (said me everytime something turns out harder than expected, it's like a curse... you'd think I'd learn by now.) So not really knowing much about lumber I enlisted the help of my dear ole Dad to make the trip to Home Depot with me. After taking some measurements regarding size, counting my sizable mug collection (23) and scoping Home Depot out online to get an idea about supplies we headed off...

Home Depot sells what they call "project panels" they are varying thickness and sizes but I settled on a 2ftx4ft 1/2 in thick piece of birch. I had decided to make it look a little nicer and to match the table we have in our kitchen I was gonna stain it with a dark stain, so I looked for a piece that I thought was interesting enough and not too knotty and then had them (the nice folks at Home Depot) cut it down to 2'x3'. After a quick (not so quick) scan of the stains I settled this Minwax Dark Walnut and moved along. We finished off the trip grabbing a pack of Cup Hooks and a french cleat bracket to hang the finished project on the wall.

Since my Hubs was working at home and my parents have more space I figured I'd just work in their garage. My plan was to stain the wood that night (Friday) and then go home figure out the math on drilling the holes (how many, how far apart etc.) and then go back Saturday drill holes and screw in Hooks... seemed easy enough and thats where things went awry...

In Hindsight (which is always 20/20) I should have drilled holes first and then stained, but what do I know... staining went just fine. Looked good even in a dimly light garage so I went home. Let me first say. Math.Is.Hard. I'm a little OCD when it comes to spacing I wanted them to be evenly spaced both across the board and up and down using the most hooks plus, making it as visually pleasing as possible. An.Hour.Later and countless drawn out scenarios I decided if I started my first row 1 inch down from the top of the board and 3 inches in from either side I could have a row of 7 hooks 5 inches apart, and then have each row 6 inches apart going down the board I'd get 4 rows down (the last row was a little short but it didn't bother me if the mugs hung over just a bit) hence 27 hooks total. Finally I felt like I was getting somewhere... so I turned my attention to the hooks. My dad had insisted that I should get the 1 1/2 inch hooks after comparing them to the 1 inch ones. I was less convinced, they seemed so big and only came in packs of 25 whereas the 1 inch came in a pack of 50 and I felt they were big enough to hold a mug handle. I finally conceded and bought the larger ones. Once home I tried them with a mug handle and they looked so big and after deciding I needed  27 hooks I was going to need to buy more... why not just get the 1 inch and have plenty left over. So the next morning I stopped at my parents for the rest the hooks and off to Home Depot I went, but not before telling my dad "how wrong he was". Once there I grabbed the new hooks plus a can of Polyurethane since I decided I should probably protect it a little (that and I wasn't convinced the stain wouldn't somehow rub off on my mugs) so I returned the old hooks for the new ones and was on my way... cut to my triumphant return prepared to make this project my B****. My enthusiasm was cut short when I realized that the 1 inch were SIGNIFICANTLY smaller and even on my parents smallest handled mug wouldn't fit the damn thing to save its life. Moral of the story: I should have listened to my dad. So second trip to Home Depot to rebuy the hooks I just returned, and to purchase more hooks since I needed 27. I was pleased to find that they did sell small packs of 2 as well as the large packs of 25, I thought I was finally catching a break. (man I was wrong, so very wrong)

As much as I love Home Depot on a Saturday morning I was glad to finally get back to start drilling... I marked my lines using chalk

and went to work drilling the holes slightly smaller then the screw-in cup hooks.

seemed all that was left was to wipe the chalk marks off and spray a couple coats of the poly and screw in the hooks... yea about wiping off the chalk... my dad thinks perhaps it had some wax in it cause I ended up wiping it into the grain of the wood which didn't erase the lines more like smeared them... even after trying a scrub pad and a little water (which made things obviously worse) and sanding them down with some steel wool (also making the whole thing look milky) the only way to salvage the mess I'd created was to do another coat of stain and hope for the best. So back to step one... Stain the wood.

I went back again on Sunday morning thankful to see that wood looked good again and proceeded with spraying about 3 coats of the poly in between taking advantage of my parents cable and Sunday dinner. Once the final coat had dried I set about to screwing in the hooks... all 27 of them... oh wait 7 x 4 = 28! SON OF A B!!!!!  like I said math is hard... 

Having already gone to Home Depot three times in as many days I couldn't bring myself to go back (honestly still haven't) so I'm a hook short but after affixing the French Cleat and getting it on the wall I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. If I did it again it would be less of a headache and wouldn't take 3 days but that's usually how it is.

also i have a lot of mugs...



  1. I'm seriously impressed at your dedication! And I totally understand. That kind of stuff happens to me every single time I try to get all crafty, which usually results in an abandoned project... i.e., an unstained dog toy bin in my living room. I just might try this, and hopefully it'll go over more smoothly!

  2. Found this helpful (and hilarious) post while scrolling Pinterest for a coffee rack. :)