How to Make an Easy DIY Plate Rack

This simple project combines handy storage with pretty wall decor.

wood plate rack blue wall dining table centerpiece
Photo: Carson Downing
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Boost storage capacity and wall power with this narrow display that serves as both dinnerware rack and wall decor in a kitchen or dining room. The plate rack's open design lets you easily access and showcase favorite pieces. When you make it yourself, you can customize the height, width, and depth to fit your space and items. Though we opted for a clear finish, you might choose to go with a paint color or stain that suits your home. Follow the step-by-step instructions for our DIY plate rack, below.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Saw
  • Nail gun
  • Fine-grit sanding block
  • Tack cloth


  • 1x4 and 1/2x1 select pine lumber
  • Wood glue
  • 3/4-inch and 2-inch finish nails
  • Wood putty or filler
  • Polyurethane
  • 2-inch #10 wood screws for hanging


  1. Make Cuts

    Cut your wood to the below dimensions.

    Piece Dimensions Quantity
    1x4 Sides 45 inches long 2
    1x4 Nailing Strips 43½ inches long 2
    1x4 Shelves 43½ inches long 4
    ½x1 Plate Stop (or Shelf Lip) 43½ inches long 4
    ½x1 Trim Rails 45 inches long 3
  2. Determine Size of Plate Rack

    Determine the size of your DIY plate rack and calculate amount of wood needed for sides, shelves, nailing strips, and trim rails. For a 45-inch-square rack like ours, follow the cut list above. Sand all edges smooth and wipe with a tack cloth.

  3. glued nailed plate stops wood rack blue wall
    Carson Downing

    Attach Plate Stops

    Glue and nail plate stops to the front of each shelf using ¾-inch finish nails. This creates a slight lip that prevents plates from slipping off the shelves.

  4. Determine Shelf Placement

    Measure and mark placement of shelves on side rails. To help determine shelf placement, consider measuring the height of the dishware you plan to display. The space between each of our shelves is 12 inches, except for the bottom space, which is 6 inches. Glue and nail shelves to sides with 2-inch nails, nailing from the outside and through the side rail into the shelves.

  5. Secure Nailing Strips

    Glue and nail one nailing strip with 2-inch nails between and flush with the top and back of the sides. Glue and nail the second nailing strip between and flush with the bottom and back of the second shelf.

  6. glued nailed trim rails wood plate rack blue plate
    Carson Downing

    Add Trim Rails

    Glue and nail trim rails with ¾-inch nails to the front of the sides about 5 inches up from all shelves except the bottom one. These rails stop plates from falling forward off the rack.

  7. Finish and Hang

    Fill and sand all nail holes and finish as desired. We sprayed our rack with a clear satin polyurethane. Hang by driving two wood screws through each nailing strip and into wall studs. Stock with your favorite dishware and decor.

Updated by
Autumn Wood

Autumn Wood, creative director and photographer, is passionate about lifestyle photography. She was a senior story producer for Magnolia Journal. She's also produced photography for the New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, and National Geographic.

Jessica Thomas

Jessica Thomas has been the style director at Better Homes and Gardens since 2014. She has experience in creating specialty books, magazine layouts, covers, and ads. She has also been a freelance art and photo director and creative consultant for nearly 15 years. She is experienced in art and photo direction, production, editorial direction, and graphic design. Before taking on the role of style director, Jessica worked as the photo design editor for Country Homes magazine and the associate art director for Better Homes & Gardens.

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