Coat Rack Made From Shopping Cart Hooks




A lot of people today live in urban areas where they experience the discomforts of ongoing gentrification and increasing prices for living space. Although on a political level, it is important to fight those who profit from this development (mostly a*°hole landlords, greedy real estate agents, big corporations and corrupt politicians); on a personal level, arranging yourselves with smaller living spaces might be a good strategy to deal with this problem.

One way to do that, is to use the space you have more efficiently.

This Instructable will show you how to build a space-saving and dirt-cheap Coat Rack using consumer-culture-paraphernalia, namely: Shopping Cart Hooks.

I will enter this project in the Small Spaces Contest and the On a Budget Contest. So if you like it - please vote for me and make me happy!

Everyone who builds something with shopping cart hooks, too, and posts a picture of it in the comments, will be awarded free patches until I run out! (currently I have 5 patches to give away)

Step 1: Get Hooked!

The most important items you need for this instructable are a bunch of nylon hooks that can be found attached to the "front grill" of many supermarket shopping carts (at least over here in germany).

They are flexible and come in a whole array of colors. Since they are hardly ever used by customers, most supermarket-clerks will allow you to take one with you if you ask nicely. They are quiet cheap and most supermarkets have a stack of them in the backroom to replace missing and damaged hooks from time to time.

In this project I went for the rainbow option, but you can also use hooks with matching colors.

When you´re done gathering enough hooks for your needs, thus having earned the status of captain hook*, move on to the next step.

*sorry for the bad pun :)

Step 2: Tools and Materials

Furthermore, I used the following tools and materials:


  • power drill (including a drill bit that can penetrate your walls)
  • folding metre stick
  • level
  • wood saw (I use a japanese kataba)
  • try square
  • pencil
  • cordless drill with a drillbit for wooddrilling and a driverbit matching the screws
  • sanding cork
  • metal saw
  • f-clamps
  • paint brush


  • steel rod with a diameter of 4-6 mm that fits through the eyelets of the hooks. The lenght depends on the desired width of your coat rack
  • length of wooden beam (2x4 or similar)
  • screws and wall plugs (the size and kind you´ll need depends on the material of your walls and the amount of weight you want to hang from the rack)
  • sanding paper
  • paint or wood stain (optional)

I mostly used materials I had lying around. The only things I bought were the steel rod and the paint which cost way less than 20$ combined.

Step 3: Measure and Mark the Parts

At first I measured, how wide my coat rack should be in the end. I figured I would need to fix it to the wall at three points.

Using the folding metre stick, the try square and a pencil, I measured and marked the wooden beam, as to get three blocks of equal size. In my version, each is about 7 cm wide. You might vary the size depending on the weight your rack should support, the material of the wall it will be fixed to and your personal style.

If you build a rack that is much wider than mine, you should consider using more than three blocks. Mine are now about 60 cm apart and it works well for my needs.

Also measure and mark the length your steel rod should have, according to the planned width of your coat rack. Note, that it has to be about 5 cm longer than the distance between the two outer woodblocks on the wall will be.

Step 4: Sawing and Sanding

Saw off the steel rod using the metal saw (not pictured).

Saw of the wooden blocks using the wood saw. I recommend to clamp the woulden beam to something stable for more precision.

Then smooth the edges of the wooden blocks with the sanding paper.

Step 5: Drill Some Holes

Next, drill some small holes through the blocks for the screws, with which you will fix them to the wall.

Then, drill some bigger holes into the sides of the blocks.

Those must be big enough to loosely fit the steel rod in. Make sure to drill them on the same height on each block, otherwise either the steel rod or the blocks won´t be in line later on. For the woodblocks on the ends of the coat rack only drill halfway through the block. For the block in the middle, drill all the way through.

Step 6: Drill Some More Holes

Now you can already test-assemble the whole thing by feeding the steel rod through/into the sideways holes in the wooden blocks. Unless you are a hindu godess with more than two arms, find someone to hold it up to the wall, while you use the level to find the perfect position to fix it to the wall .

When you find the right position, mark the spots where the wall plugs for the screws will have to go with something that fits through the holes (e.g. a nail).

Then drill the holes into the walls an put the wall plugs in.

Pro tip: When drilling into stonewalls, always stick a little paper pouch under the holes before drilling to collect all the bore dust and prevent a mess.

Step 7: Apply Paint

After test assembly, take the whole thing apart once more to paint it.

I chose to paint the wooden blocks white. Of course, you can choose any color you like, or non at all.

After two coatings, let them sit to dry for some hours.

Step 8: Final Assembly

Now drive the screws through the blocks, so that the tips come out just a little bit. Place one of the outer blocks on the wall plugs and fix it to the wall using the cordless drill. I chose to do a little manual adjustments afterwards, to get all the screws to have the same orientation (I know, that this might seem a bit obsessive-compulsive).

Then place the steel rod into the sidehole of the block and thread half of the hooks onto it. Then add the middle block(s) and then the other half of the hooks.

Fix the other two blocks to the wall in the same manner as the first block, and....

Step 9: Enjoy!

Now you have a great looking coat rack, perfectly fittet to your individual needs.

It looks great, saves a lot of space and helps you to keep the entryzone of your living space in order.

Of course, you can always add more hooks whenever you need. Similar racks can also be used to orgnize other stuff, e.g. tools, garden or pool equipment, etc.

I hope you like this instructable. I look forward to your comments, suggestions, questions and maybe even contest votes!



    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure

    16 Discussions


    Question 2 months ago on Step 8

    Hi, how is the step rod secured in the two end blocks? Thanks!

    1 answer

    Reply 2 months ago

    it just sits loosly in the slightly oversized wholes i drilled into the blocks. this way, the rod can bend a little when you hang heavy coats onto the hooks rather than splitting the wooden blocks. If you want a non-bendy version, you can either drill slightly undersized wholes and hammer it in or glue the rod in place with epoxy or construction adhesive. Or you use a shorter or more sturdy rod. Recently i found, that you can upcycle metalrods from old printers and other office machines for this purpose. they are shorter, but it still looks nice.


    1 year ago

    I am so so sorry, but what hooks are you talking about? I use these carts all the time and have seen no hooks there?


    3 years ago

    In fact, in the US if you push the cart to far past the property line at some stores, the wheels lock up. Wonder what that says...


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    If you really want to build this, I could send you some hooks for just the shipping costs :)


    4 years ago

    Americans would probably steal them off the shopping carts with out asking kind of like how you permanently borrowed them

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I don´t understand what you want to imply, but I think neither would all americans act like that, nor did I permanently borrow them :)


    4 years ago

    Hmm we got those hooks in NL too but I wouldn't steal the hooks off of the carts... Mighty inconvenient for the next person wanting to put their bag there...

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Don't be so uptight, LOL. I'm guessing they get those things by the thousands for almost nothing. If they were really worried about people stealing them they would make them totally secure. It's not like you're mugging someone.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh yeah, Unfortunately we're to short sighted to have those in America. Great idea for shopping carts and your coat rack both!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is so cool! I love the look and feel of this rack! The only down side is that I've never seen those hooks in the US before. But it's an amazing idea!

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction


    I didn´t know that american shopping carts don´t have hooks. Probably a result of a different shopping culture: Americans mostly drive to their supermarkets and only have to load the stuff from the cart into their car in the parking lot.

    In european cities, more people walk to the supermarkets in their neighborhoods on foot (shorter distances make it possible) and bring shopping bags with them to carry their stuff back home. While in the supermarket, they can use the hooks to put their bags on them. This way, they don´t get buried under their groceries.

    If any of you is seriously planing to build this coat rack, but can´t find any hooks, I might be able to send some around the globe in exchange for the shiping costs. Just ask me :)


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    That completely makes sense! A lot of places in the US are pushing reusable shopping bags so I can see how these would be helpful!


    4 years ago

    Then again there usually are some broken carts. You could take them off of those

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    As I said, just ask the supermarket clerks, if you can have some hooks. You might be surprised, but this actually works. You can probably also buy them from the manufacturers of shopping carts online somewhere, but this is only half the fun and it costs money.

    On the other hand, there are lots of abandoned shopping carts in the streets where I live...not that I would want to encourage any illegal behaviour...act responsible or at least don´t get caught.