I recently came into possession of a handcrafted leather cowboy hat from Subverse Industries (subverseindustries.com). I’d been eyeing this hat for a couple years, and it was a bit of an investment. Collectively, we own several cowboy hats (mostly of a rock ‘n’ roll variety) for cruising, concerts, and other shenanigans. They’ve always presented a bit of a storage challenge in our little blog cabin. But, the acquisition of the latest prized hat prompted a strong urge for me to keep the hat safe from the cats and dogs. In fact, it’s just out of reach of the girlfriend. BAHAHAHAHA!
Not finding anything attractive online or that could be easily customized for the dead space over my bedroom closet door, I decided to make my own hat rack. Pipefittings seemed like a natural fit for this project.
• Two floor flanges
• One 3-inch threaded pipe
• One 8-inch threaded pipe
• One 90-degree elbow
• Car wax applicator
• Hot glue (or other adhesive)
• Appropriate screws or wall anchors for your wall or trim
As for the threaded pipe diameter, I went with the smallest diameter sold at my local hardware store: half-inch. Not only was this the least expensive option, but you only need to hold up hats with this design—it’s not like you’re gonna do chin-ups on it.
The design is simple, functional, customizable, and inexpensive. And, I find it aesthetic, especially if you enjoy industrial or steampunk design. Total cost per rack was about ten bucks. One flange mates with the wall while the other supports the center of your hat. I pondered for all of five minutes what I would use to cover the support flange so that weight was more distributed and the hat liner was protected from the edges of the flange. A car polish pad/wax applicator seemed like the perfect solution. I found mine for $1.47 for a two-pack, and they have a velvet texture. I would have preferred red as opposed to blue, but my impatient nature needed instant gratification. For the discriminating and more patient reader, red pads are indeed available online.
The key to this rack being appropriate for cowboy hats lies in selecting a generous length of horizontal pipe. Eight-inches worked perfectly for this design, allowing me to clear the brim and approach the center of the hat. This also keeps the brim off the wall so that it does not become bent.
Begin by cleaning all the fittings before assembly because they tend to be covered with lubricant and grime. Glass cleaner works well for this purpose, and you would not want this grime to wind up on your favorite hat!
Before mounting, I recommend assembling the rack in its entirety by screwing the pipe fittings together. I simply hand-tightened my pieces; keep in mind that it’s normal for some thread to remain exposed. Now would be a good time to spray paint your rack if you desire something other than the standard black or sliver fittings.
Next, apply the cushion. I opted for hot glue but a number of adhesives would fit the bill. Conveniently, I had a grey metallic glue stick already in my glue gun. When squished through the screw holes in the flange, the glue resembles metal rivets. Bonus! Trial fit the assembled rack with a hat perched on it in the desired location. If you’re opting to place racks side-by-side, keep in mind the fixtures must be at least two brim-widths apart.
Now, learn from my mistake. Because of the weight distribution and the hat pedestal being in the way, I recommend unscrewing the horizontal section from the elbow to make for an unimpeded mounting to your wall surface. Once affixed to the wall, screw the remainder of the assembly back on, and voila! Sexy, cheap hat rack!
Importantly, this design is versatile and would accommodate other styles of wide-brimmed hats such as sun and gardening hats. Regardless of what style of wide-brimmed hat you like to hang in, remember that hat deserves a place to hang as well. 😉