DIY Canvas Storage Rack



I needed a storage system for the large number of canvases in my studio.  I couldn’t find what I wanted in the (expensive) catalogs of online retailers, so I built one myself.  This project cost roughly $35 and took me 3 hours.  It is not going to win any woodworking awards, but it gets the job done!

I measured the alcove space I had available in my studio and determined that a storage rack measuring 20” x 30” would fit well.  These instructions are for a rack that size. 


[Click here for a FREE printable PDF of the instructions.]



  • 2 pieces of 1.5”x1.5” pine cut to 20” in length*
  • 2 pieces of 1.5”x1.5” pine cut to 30” in length
  • 14 wooden dowels (0.5” width) cut to 28” in length
  • 4 corner braces (2”)
  • Power drill
  • 7/16 inch drill bit
  • Rubber mallet
  • Measuring tape
  • Sand paper
  • Pencil

*I chose to work with pine because it is affordable.  Choose the wood that works best with your budget.  If you don’t have a saw, home improvement stores will often cut wood for customers at no cost.



1.  Arrange the 4 pieces of wood so that they make a 20” x 30” rectangle. Allow the smaller sides to rest inside of the larger sides.

2.  Attach the pieces of wood together snuggly using the 4 corner braces. I found it best to pick one corner and work my way around the rectangle clockwise.

3.  Now that the base of your rack is complete, it is time to drill holes for the 14 dowels. First, take your pencil and measuring tape and mark out where each hole will go on one of the 30” pieces of wood.  Since the wood is 1.5” wide, each hole will be centered at 0.75” from the edge.  Use the drawing below as a guide.  (Important Note: the edge of one hole is 4” away from the edge of the neighboring hole.  It is NOT 4” from the center of one hole to the center of the next hole.)

4.  Use your 7/16” drill bit to drill 7 holes. To make sure you don’t drill through the wood completely, wrap a piece of tape 1” up from the bottom of the drill tip.  Stop drilling when you reach the piece of tape.  (Note: I also marked my dowels with a 1” guide mark so that I would know how much I would have to hammer them in later.)


5.  Now it’s time to mark 7 holes on the other 30” piece of wood using a measuring tape, pencil and guide. Once you are finished measuring, take a step back and see if the holes on each piece of wood line up well with one another.  I noticed that they did not line up in my project, so I wound up moving several holes about a half inch to the right or left as needed.

6.  Drill your 7 holes using your piece of tape as a safety for not drilling completely through the wood. Touch up any rough edges with sandpaper.

7.  If you didn’t mark guidelines 1” up from the end of the dowel, take a minute to do so now. Using a rubber mallet, insert a dowel into each drilled hole.  Tap the dowel in until it reaches the guide mark.


YOU ARE FINISHED!  Insert your canvases and tidy up your studio!


Two important notes about your finished canvas storage rack:

  • The dowels will not be perfectly vertical due to warping in the dowel wood and differences in the angle of the drilled holes. Since we used a power drill and not a drill press, it is unlikely that our holes were drilled absolutely vertical by our beautiful hands.  My dowels are not perfectly straight.  When empty, my rack looks a bit like a mouth of adolescent teeth.
  • You can stain or paint your storage rack, but take care to seal it appropriately so that it is not left with a tacky finish that canvases will stick to.