wide closeup of a medium suitcase is open on a upcycled luggage rack by a window with long linen curtains

Make Cutest Folding Luggage Rack From Old Wood Spindles

Like me, are you someone who gets excited about reimagining forgotten treasures?

Oh, good. We are meant to be friends!

The world of upcycling is bursting with creative possibilities, offering a chance to transform everyday objects into unique and functional pieces. 

Not only do you get to break out your inner designer, but upcycling is also kind on your wallet and the environment. After all, it’s the perfect example of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra in action! 

a medium suitcase is open on a upcycled luggage rack by a window with long linen curtains

Today, we’ll be reimagining a set of thrifted stair spindles into a multi-functional luggage rack that can double as a charming nightstand or tray stand.

PLUS, I have seven additional projects all repurposing wooden spindles, pickets or moldings into something amazing for your home.

a collection of old spindles and pickets is on a table with the logo of the Handcrafted Society

See, this is 2nd Tuesday — the day of the monthly meeting of The Handcrafted Society.

And this month is all about interesting wood pieces and reimagining them into somethinge fresh and new.

Please tell me you’ve been following The Handcrafted Society!

These meetings are such fun!!

Like last month when we all used dried or pressed flowers, or the month we all used yarn or embroidery floss, or the Spring door decor.

Seven more repurposed wood projects are waiting at the end!!!

Why a Folding Luggage Rack?

When you have guests come visit, do you love to spoil them a bit? 

Make your guest bedroom feel like a hotel room, right? 

But often times our guest room serves a second function when it’s not well, . . . housing guests, right?

So why not take a cue from the hospitality experts, hotels?  Specifically the concept of wooden luggage racks that folds to tucks away when not in use, but is easy to pull into service at a moment’s notice.

But I didn’t want to spend $60 – $80 for a good sturdy one and I didn’t want the utilitarian look of a hotel luggage rack.

YES to its function.

But NOT to its style!

And that’s where some old stair spindles came into play. 

luggage rack is styled on a gravel patio overlooking a lake with a large tray on top with moss covered globes, flower pots and other decorative pieces

Upcycled Stair Spindle Luggage Rack

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Materials and Supplies-​

  • Miter saw
  • Level
  • Fabric scissors
  • Drill, drill bits, and phillips head bit
  • Small hammer or staple gun

My spindles were 34-inches long. The finished dimensions of my luggage rack are: 24″ wide x 17.5″ deep x 26′ tall.

Depending on the spindles or boards you use, and your desired finished dimensions, you may need to adjust your cuts accordingly.

Step 1) Decide Angle to Cut Legs Tops-

I wanted the top boards the webbing attaches to, to be horizontally flat.

If you look closely at the ready made folding luggage racks, you’ll see that with a good many of them, this board sits at an angle. Sometimes this means some bags will not sit flat and may teeter a bit.

I also wanted that board to attach on top of the legs, not between them as the stretchers do.

With many ready-made racks, the top board is attached between the legs and down a bit, so the top of the legs is the highest point. With large luggage these boards and their webbing are no longer supporting the bags. Rather, large suitcases balance on the tops of the four legs.

This is hard on the suitcase and not stable.

super closeup of the top corner of the finished luggage rack showing the top being level and on top of the legs

Being a fan of multi-functionality, I want my luggage rack to also possibly hold a large tray, like butlers tray stands in restaurants. For perhaps an appetizer station at large gatherings, maybe for a nightstand or side table, or maybe a tray for over wintering some pots. Lots of possibilities!

AND they all would work best with flat horizontal pieces attached on top of the legs.

drawing of a block of wood with a triangle cut off the top

For top boards to rest horizontally on top of the legs, the legs must be cut at an angle.

Sounds wrong, I know!

But when the rack is open, the legs will be at an angle. We need to cut the tops at the opposite angle for them too become level.

This angle plus the length of the webbing determines how wide the legs sit and how tall your luggage stand will be.

Step 2) Cut the Wood Legs-

drawing of the top of four wood spindles with cut tops

I cut the top of each leg piece at a 30-degree angle, starting at the top most edge, which worked well with my spindles. 

In the drawing above, the two on the left will be one pair and the two on the right will make another pair.

Step 3) Drill the Holes-

two drawings of spindle legs showing the proper hole placement

Drill a hole at the center of the length of each spindle. 

CAUTION: The holes must be on the sides of the legs that have the angled cut top.

Stack a pair of legs together, with the top angles opposite each other. One should have the pointed top on the right, the other on the left. Make sure the lengths are lined up.

To make sure your holes line up, drill a pair of legs at the same time by securing the flat sides together (with clamps, or an extra pair of hands) and adding shims between the slope of the spindles.

PRO TIP:  Start with a thin drill bit, and work up to thicker bits. You can separate the legs before the last bit  or two to make it easier.

The binding screws should spin freely through these holes.

super closeup of the brass top of the binding screw through two spindle legs

Assemble the legs with both the inside spindles’ tops pointing one direction and both of the outside spindles’ tops pointing the other directional legs. Thread the binding screws from the outside in adding the slotted screws cap on the inside.

Step 4) Cut the Top Boards-

I cut my 24-inch pieces of 1 x 2 board for the top stretchers.

Step 5) Refinish the Legs and Wood Stretchers-

Remove the binding screws and finish the wood legs and stretchers.

I did a light sanding by hand and with my orbital sander. 

closeup of a woman's hand painting a board

Then I chose to add a based coat of a leftover paint sample I had hanging around.

closeup of woman's hands wiping a faux finish on a spindle

And I added a color wash or glaze of grey.

Color wash? It’s one of my go-to paint finish techniques. I used it on this cute blue bench for my closet, and on this blue and brass beauty, just to name two of many..

There are limitless options here. It doesn’t take much, so do what works best for your style, your home and what you may already have on hand.

Finish all four legs, the two top boards and the remaining 1 x 2 that will become your leg stretchers.

Step 6) Add Webbing and Legs to Top Boards-

​Cut your webbing. I used four lengths of 27-inches.

a top board and four lengths of webbing are held in place with tape, waiting to be attached with tacks

Lay one of the top pieces on your work surface arranging the webbing straps as you like. 

Either tack of staple the straps securely on the top side of this stretcher. 

closeup of webbing wrapped around one board and the top of a leg attached through the webbing

Flip th stretcher over and wrap the webbing around the underside of the stretcher. 

Using two wood screws, attach the two outside legs in place over the webbing.

​Lay the stretcher on the table top side down with the webbing underneath.

four lengths of webbing are tacked to a top board and the other board is laying next to it

close-up of a board aligned with one with webbing attached and marks are being made on the new board

Pull the webbing tightly. Lay the second top stretcher next to the first one and mark the webbing placement.

Lay the top side of the second top board on the work table under the free ends of the webbing.

Align the ends with the markings and the edge of your boars. Staple or tack in place.

Roll the board so the webbing straps wrap across the underside of the board.

Now it’s time to attach the inner legs to the top board. I did this with the binding screws in place holding the crossing legs together. This helped me get the placement of the inner legs just right to open and fold easily.

propping up half the luggage rack too access the point to screw on the last leg

a medium suitcase is open on a upcycled luggage rack by a window with long linen curtains

Place the two inner legs in their spot on top of the webbing and attach with two wood screws each coming through the webbing on the top side where you originally tacked the webbing in place.

PRO TIP: Support the outer legs and their top board up a few inches, then pull the length of webbing off to one side to access this spot.

Step 7) Add Stretchers to Legs-

To figure the stretcher between the leg pieces, I laid the assembled luggage closed on my work surface.

Then I laid one of the top stretchers on my work table and laid the legs aligned as they will be assembled. 

Now I was able to measure and mark for each leg brace piece. 

Because my spindles are slightly tapered, I laid the 1 x 2 board under the legs and marked on the board where it would cross the legs at the top and bottom. Then I connected these for my cut line.

PRO TIP: Make sure you are marking and measuring both of the leg stretchers at the same height on all four legs!

OPTIONAL: Because my spindle legs are round, I chose to carve a bit of curve into the cut edges of my leg braces using a rotary tool with a sanding cone. It’s a little detail that just adds a bit of extra style that no one will probably notice except me.

closeup of the curved edge of the stretcher wrapping the leg slightly

Yep, I’m weird that way, but it makes me feel happy!

Two flat head screws coming from the outside of the legs into each stretcher hold everything nice and tight. Drive the screw heads into the wood just a bit. Now they can be hidden under some putty and paint.

Now Your Wooden Luggage Stand Is Ready!

luggage rack is styled on a gravel patio overlooking a lake with a large tray on top with moss covered globes, flower pots and other decorative pieces

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Thanks Bunches! Now onto a few ideas and more wood craft projects:

What I Love About This Project:

  • It’s relatively quick and easy to do.
  • Customizing, with the size and features I wanted
  • The elegant look of the tapered legs and the simple spindle detailing
  • I could have dressed it up with leather straps rather than the jute
  • The easy storage
  • The multi-functionality!!!

Where to Find Spindles:

The spindles I used in this project were part of a much larger assortment (perhaps 30 or so) vintage or salvaged spindles that I found at a garage sale for $10.

The stair spindles just like these are usually available to any of my Habitat for Humanity Restores — usually $2 each.

You can also purchase these same balusters new for under $5.

I would keep an eye out for these at:

  • Garage and yard sales
  • ReStore
  • Thrift Stores
  • FB Marketplace
  • Salvage lumber yards

Do your future self (and my current self) a big favor and save this pin to remember this project when you come across the perfect spindles:

Pin showing a photo of work-in-progess of making a luggage rack and image of finished luggage rack and being used as a tray stand

On to MORE Handcrafted Society Projects!

Jump over and check out my friend’s projects. They’re sooo good!

I hope this project and the additional Handcrafted Society projects open your eyes and creativity to the fun possibilities with repurposed wood pieces!

round image of Diane smiling next to a Signature that reads: With Joy, Diane

7 Comments

  1. Cindy

    This is a fantastic project. It’s better than a store bought luggage rack.

    Pinned!

    Reply
  2. Michelle | Thistle Key Lane

    Diane, I’m super impressed with your luggage rack. The webbing and the color of the spindles looks so good together! Love this project!

    Reply
  3. Donna

    Hey Diane! I have been searching for a luggage rack at thrift stores and yard sales with no luck! I think you solved my problem!! Something like this would be perfect for our guest room! Pinning now and I’ll add vintage spindles to my shopping list!! Thanks for the inspiration, my friend!!

    Reply
  4. Kelly S Rowe

    Wendy, you are one clever and talented lady. I love how your luggage rack turned out. It’s such a great way to upcycle the stair spindles too. Virtual fist bump.

    Reply
  5. Anna Price

    Diane – This luggage rack turned out GREAT! The spindles are the perfect length. I also love the color you selected for the spindles. Always fun to participate in the HCS with you!

    Reply
  6. Michelle Crowley

    This is such a wonderful idea! I love the look and I’m always about reduce, reuse and recycle when it comes to home decor and furniture! Defiantly going to give this one a try for all of our our vacation home guest rooms.

    Reply
    • Diane

      So glad this inspired you! Perfect for all the guest rooms!

      Reply

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