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Are your (or have your) kids ever been in a portable? Those boxes that make up classrooms outside of the school building?
Miss Madison was in a portable last year, and this year it’s Chloë’s turn to enjoy the cozy atmosphere (find a silver lining folks) – but given the small square footage and the lack of access to a major hallway for coat hooks and shelves, the winter coat/boot/snowpants situation was becoming a little overwhelming.
Chloë mentioned that her teacher was looking for a storage solution for their small space – something portable so it can be moved out of the way, but with enough storage to house all of those items that keep falling on the floor.
I looked up a few ideas online and submitted them to her teacher to see if anything caught her fancy and this is what she chose:
(click image for source to purchase)
I don’t have any of the equipment or education to work with metal, so I improvised and came up with a wooden version of this classroom coat rack/rolling coat rack.
I may have over-done it on the structural soundness of this rolling coat rack, but it’s for a class of 10 year-olds and I didn’t want it to topple over, or break or collapse under the weight of rambunctious kids – better to fault on the side of safety I think. There’s a load of equipment you’re going to need for a job like this, including things like joist hangers. If you’re lacking the right tools for the job, you may want to have a look at some Simpson sloped hangers from a reliable online supplier.
I started building the classroom coat rack by ripping 1/8″ off of the edges of 4 of my 2″x4″ boards. I wanted to remove the rounded edges so that I could attach two boards together to make really strong posts. I cut the boards to 53″ before gluing them and screwing them together with 2 ½” wood screws.
Next I cut 8 leg sections from the 2″x4″ leftover bits – these were cut to 11″ long. I used my Kreg Jig to pre-drill holes on one end of each wide surface. I decided to attach these to the post separately with my pocket holes on the bottom of the bottom board and on the top of the upper board – I don’t know for sure, but I felt it gave it more rigidity. put some wood glue between the boards and added a 2 ½” wood screw (drilled up from the bottom) to reinforce the pairing. Repeat for both sides of both posts.
The 2″x4″ bases are a bit wider than the posts (which we ripped down) – if that bothers you, you can rip an edge off of the base as well – but I was pretty confident that 10 year olds wouldn’t notice and/or care.
Cut your long boards for the sides to 65″ long and pre-drill your pocket holes. Check for square and attach to the base sections using 2″ pocket hole screws on either end.
Add your locking castors to the four corners of the coat rack.
Pretty easy so far?
Great cause you’re almost done!
Cut your 2″x6″ board to 65″ long. Attach your ‘concealed flange joist hanger’ (say that three times fast!) to your post and repeat at the same height on the other post. Drop your 2″x6″ board into the hanger and screw into place with 1 ¼” wood screws.
I attached two 1″x2″ boards across the bottom of the classroom coat rack at about 20″ in from either end; this will be a bit of reinforcement for the base/shoe rack section.
I then cut my pressure-treated fence boards to 65″ long and attached them to the base with pocket hole screws. I chose pressure treated so that it wouldn’t rot as quickly with the moisture from snowy boots. I also left a small gap in the middle section so that any salt and dirt that accumulated could easily be swept out. I’d be tempted to line this with a piece of rubber carpeting to capture the mess and make for easy clean-up.
As a final safety precaution – and totally optional if you’re building this – I added metal angle braces to the base of the posts, one on each side. I was able to hang from the centre of my classroom coat rack (and I’m 185lbs) without any give, but like I said – it’s just an extra precaution for the safety of the kids.
Something to keep in mind when building your classroom coat racks / portable coat racks – the height of the audience you are building for and the profile of the hooks. If you build a shorter coat rack – say at eye-height – you want to make sure that the hooks don’t jut out. You wouldn’t want to take the eye out of a child that isn’t paying attention. These ball end hooks scoop upwards instead of outwards and the rounded edge is an extra safety measure.
Beautiful, functional and much safer than something like this:
I spaced my hooks about 10 1/3″ apart and staggered the placement from one side to the other, so there is plenty of room to hang backpacks, snowpants and coats without crowding.
Hubby and I delivered it during a PD Day, so I can’t show you the classroom coat rack full of winter clothing, but you can see it’s pretty awesome regardless. I chose to paint everything except the pressure-treated lumber in Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Multi-Purpose Brush-On Paint for its indoor/outdoor durability. The semi-gloss black is to make the classroom coat rack recede from sight and not stand out like a sore thumb.
I added one extra hook to the outside of the post to hold a bag with a few pairs of spare socks for those that get Winter/Spring ‘soakers’.
Plenty of room for everyone’s boots as well.
Note: the bottom section is only intended to hold boots or backpacks – the boards will sag and could break if kids decide to climb on it.
The locking castors will keep it from moving around when the kids are filling it up, but can be unlocked with a nudge of a toe so that the rack can be moved out of the way during class.