DIY: Circular Knitting Needle Rack

By April 1, 2015 10 Comments

It’s taken this girl about 5 years to build her knitting needle arsenal to the size it is.

I’ve managed to collect every US size, some in 16″, 24″, 32″ and 40″. I’d lose some, buy some, find some again. Your typical Knitters blight. And of course, if you like to knit in Magic Loop or on two needles at once you need even more needles.


My old storage method for all my circulars was just not working. I thought I was quite clever keeping them all in one place inside a handy drawer….until it came time to actually search for and pull out one of them. Resembling a game of “Barrel of Monkeys”, this is something a knitter has no time (or patience!) for when she’s looking to start her next project.

I’ve had stuck in my mind an idea of getting all the needles up and onto a wall somehow, keeping each one separate and marked with its individual size. I kept seeing these awesome Vintage-inspired Hotel Key Racks all over Pinterest. And it occurred to me….this would be PERFECT for storing all of my circular needles.


The problem with the pre-made ones for sale online was mainly the size. They were made more for showcasing and storing all of your pretty necklaces or scarves and such. (Like the one pictured above) Not really big enough or spaced far apart enough to accommodate circular knitting needles.

So off to Home Depot we went, me and the Hubbs. In search of materials to make my very OWN!

I’ve broken down this project step by step so you can see what all is entailed to make this yourself. However, it’s more of a rough guide. I think you’ll get the gist from the photos.

In all, the project took less than a few days. We were able to create and paint the whole thing in one weekend, including dry time! And as for skill level…let’s file it under “Easy-Peasy”. The most difficult thing you’ll do is cutting the mitered corners. ‘Nuff said.

Cost: This entire project cost $133.13. However, you have to consider that a lot of the supplies that I actually used for this project were a mere fraction of the total cost. For example, I purchased a small box of cup hooks, 100 for $4, but I only used 21 of them. And I spent $14 on the paint, but I only used about a third of the can. You get the picture. I’m sure if you shopped around for a good deal and/or had some scrap wood, paint, stain, etcetera laying about, you could get this made for even less. But really, this piece is not only a work of art that hangs on the wall and looks awesome, it’s functional. And to me, that makes it priceless.

Design: Now when it came down to which needle sizes were going to go onto the board, I decided to go by the US sizing for knitting needles, as this is what is made available to me here in the PNW. Although there are the occasional UK sizes that pop up here and there, I decided to just go by the projects in the Ravelry database since, let’s face it folks…I check in on Ravelry EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I began by sorting by number of projects in any given size and found that a US #2 1/2 was REALLY common. While a size US #3 was not, I DID happen to have this size just because of a pattern that I knitted that called for this size and I spent a whopping $30 for the Addi Turbo circular, so I damn-well was going to keep them! Ha. So that’s that.

I essentially wrote down an inventory of all the sizes that I had and compared that to what was typical, if you will, on the US sizing chart. That left me with 21 sizes. And this doesn’t include the size US #00, #000, 1.25mm, 1mm, .75mm and .5mm needles. All of which are sizes you’d need in order to knit human hair or the Emperor’s clothes! Ha. So, basically…no biggie. I decided I’d go with the 21 most common sizes that I’d be using, which range from Size US #0 through #50. That also happened to work perfectly for the layout of my key rack. Three rows of 7 sizes. Dontcha just love it when things fall together so perfectly?! Me too.


Materials: I’ve linked to the supplies that I purchased and where I bought them. Only because this is the store that is available to me. You’ll be able to find most of these items at any local hardware store.

(1) 9-3/8 sq. ft. Cape Cod MDF V-Groove Wainscot Plank Paneling

(2) 1/4 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. Sanded Plywood Project Panel

(3) Furring Strips 1x2x96 

(2) 1 in. x 1-7/8 in. x 96 in. Hardwood Emboss Picture Frame Moulding

(1) 1/4 in. x 4-1/4 in. x 20-1/4 in. Birch Accent Moulding

(1) Tube Subfloor Adhesive

(1) pkg Cup Hooks 

(1) pkg 11/16 in. Yellow Zinc-Plated Linoleum Nail

(21) Name Holder Plates

(1) Quart of Behr Premium Semi-Gloss Paint in Pure White

(1) Half Pint of Minwax PolyShade Stain in Tudor Satin (I couldn’t find the same color online but the one I linked to is pretty close)

Miscellaneous: Nail Gun, Power Sander, Sandpaper, Hand Saw, Paint Brush, Drop-cloth, Rags….

Construction: The actual frame and board took about 2 hours for the Hubbs to put together. First, he cut the pieces to frame the beadboard, which entailed mitered cuts. Again, this could be made faster with a miter saw but this is what living in a tiny townhouse gets you. No room for nice power tools.


Nailing the mitered corners together.


Gluing the frame to Plywood back.


Squaring up the frame onto the plywood back.


Attaching the Plywood to the frame.


Now, the next step didn’t get photographed but he then trimmed up the plywood around the frame, to make them flush.


Attaching the Beadboard: Calking the Subfloor Adhesive onto the plywood and attaching the beadboard.


Securing bead board with Staple gun: Try to keep nice and close to the edge on this part, as the picture frame moulding is only just under 2″ wide. You’ll want all the staples completely covered by the moulding.


Cutting the miters in the frame moulding.


Attaching the frame moulding to the bead board with a nail gun.


Attaching the Accent Moulding:


Apply Wood Glue to the back of the moulding, spreading evenly.


Secure the moulding with small brads, be sure to place these in the crevices where they will be less noticeable.


Paint: Before painting, make sure to lightly sand any rough edges on your frame and moulding and then blow off the dust with an airgun or wipe with a clean brush.


Onto painting….it took less than 30 minutes to paint the frame. The bead-board itself did not need painting because it came pre-painted. I stuck with “Bright White” paint and this was a perfect match to the pre-painted bead-board. I waited an hour after the first coat and applied a second coat of paint to the frame and let it dry for a full day.


Attaching the Nameplates and hooks: It took another 2 hours for marking the placement of all the name plates, nailing them into place, pre-drilling the holes for the little hooks and then twisting them all into place.

I found my nameplates in a vintage boutique on Etsy. You can also find them here pretty cheap. But another alternative would be to buy the little plastic ones you can find in the Scrapbook section. They’re usually self adhesive, but I would suggest still attaching the little nails so it looks more authentic.

I laid all 21 sizes of my circulars out onto the board so that I knew EXACTLY how much room I needed between rows and between nameplates. I suggest doing this with yours as well. Or, whatever you’ll be hanging from your board.


Make sure your layout is nice and level before attaching the nameplates. I attached the cup hooks first, then the brass nails. The small cup hooks measured about 3/4″. I found this to be a good size for holding a few circular cables at a time. The nameplates that I used actually had a hole in the bottom of the plate, so that’s where I placed the cup hooks.


I chose brass nails for attaching the nameplates, so they’d match well.


Now for the Distressing: Okay, it may seem silly at first, but I did not do any of the sanding until AFTER the nameplates and hooks were put on. The reason being…over time the paint is going to wear off all around the areas where the nameplates are and where recent “hotel keys” have been hanging. So it only makes sense that the faux distressing should be done after these are attached to the board.

Onto distressing…. This process was really fun. But please save yourself the heartache (and backache) and use a handheld power sander. Ugh. I began doing this with a sanding block from the hardware store and just….no. No.

The sanding time only took about 30 mins. And I’m sure that’s only because I am me, and me equals super anal-retentive. You get the point. Moving on.




Staining: Next comes darkening the areas where I sanded off the white paint. I decided to choose a dark wood stain that also included a sealer.

I’d also like to add at this point that you could go a completely different route here and paint your entire piece a nice dark brown color FIRST. Then….cover that with white and knock off the white paint back to dark brown. Thus, skipping the staining process altogether. And you’re basically reversing the order. The only reason I didn’t do it this way is because I was starting with bead board that was already painted White. Hell, why not save myself some time…and paint. And so I did.

Next, you’ll want to blow off all the sawdust and paint dust and wipe the whole thing down with a clean rag, before moving onto the staining. Again, I didn’t get a photo of this step. But I think you know how to wipe paint dust off of wood.


Okay, now onto the stain. I just dipped a small piece of an old ratty t-shirt into the stain and saturated all of the exposed (sanded) wood. Let it soak into the wood for a few seconds and then wipe off. See if you like the color. If you want it a little more saturated, or darker, go ahead and add more stain, wait, then wipe off. You get the idea.

Now obviously you want the whole piece to maintain that “aged” look, so I also ran my stain rag down the length of the bead board to give it a dirty, aged appearance. You know, like this board was pulled out of an old Hotel, where it was buried with drop-cloths and old chandeliers that are draped with years of cobwebs and dust and, ….and……oh, sorry! My imagination got away from me there for a moment. I digress.

Okay, the board is now DONE!!! Well, nearly done. We still need to add our little nameplate cards that tell you what size each needle is. Here’s another fun part!


Printed Number Labels: This part was easy-peasy. I went online and located a font for numbers that I felt had that “french” flare. (whatever that means, right?) I then used my needle inventory to type out all the needle sizes into Adobe InDesign. You could also use Word (if you are into medieval torture and enjoy inflicting pain on yourself). I mean….yeah, use whatever program you find useful. 😉


I did create a handy little pdf for you to print out and use. But keep in mind, these were made to fit my name plates. Yours will probably vary in size. Mine were approximately 3″ X 1.5″. But keep in mind, your label has to fit inside the indentation on the back of the plate. Flip the plate over and measure the indentation where the actual label will slide into. Make sure your labels are just slightly smaller than this area. Mine measured 1 1/8″ X 2.5″.



I printed the numbers on some simple scrapbook sheets I found at JoAnn. I just chose one that looked like old aged paper, complete with fake water stains. Perfect!

Here’s a link to the specific scrapbook paper that I purchased.


Normally, I’d say just go to a little scarpbooking store and choose your favorite cardstock that’s a standard 8.5″ X 11″. But this entire scrapbook was full of really awesome pages that I knew I could use for other projects in the future. Win-win!

Cut all of your name cards and insert them into the nameplates. BAM! Now……you’re done! I think the end result is BEAUTIFUL! Functional, pretty and…….well, what else is there? I love it!


The finished board measures approximately 44″ wide X 35.5″ tall. Just the perfect size for hanging above my Knitting Cabinet, where I wind my hanks of yarn and block all of my knitwear. Just high enough so you can see all the pretty circulars but low enough for me to reach the top needles.


If you’re not the handy sort and you would like to inquire about commissioning a Circular Needle Rack for yourself, just drop me an email for a price quote, processing time and shipping cost. 🙂



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