A Coat Tree for Under $10

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 02/11/2011 - 05:55
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A modern style wood coat tree that most anyone can build. Features varying height branches, suitable for hats, coats, and then backpacks and umbrellas.

For about the cost of lunch, you can freshen up your entryway just in time for spring.  This simple coat tree is solid wood, and can be easily customized to fit different needs.  Featuring nine total hooks, the hooks are smartly placed allowing each side of the coat tree to have a hat hook, coat hook, and one side has a third hook for umbrellas, dog leashes, or even reuseable shopping bags.

Don't get hung up (pun intended) on the entryway.  Think damp towels, laundry drying rack or even dress up clothes, Christmas ornaments or even pretty jewelery.  This coat tree can work throughout your home.

If you have a Kreg Jig and a miter saw, this project can be completed in an hour.  If you have a can of spray paint, that puts your build time into the minutes.  And for those of you who do not, don't despair.  This project can still be made, it's just going to take more patience and probably a split board or two.

Dimensions are shown above. You could easily make this tree smaller (say 48″ for a children’s tree or a jewelery tree that sits on a desktop. Do not make the branches any longer, as the leverage on the joint becomes greater with the length of the branches.


Shopping List

2 – 2×2 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×1 @ 8 feet long (check the moulding aisle for trim 3/4″ x 3/4″ or rip 1x2s in half with a table saw – that’s what I did)
2 1/2″ pocket hole screws or finish nails
1 1/4″ pocket hole screws or finish nails
wood glue, 120 grit sandpaper and finishing supplies

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

1 – 2×2 @ 65″ (Tree Trunk)
4 – 2×2 @ 10″, ends cut at 45 degrees NOT parallel, long point to long point (Roots)
6 – 1×1 @ 4 1/2″, one end cut at 30 degrees off square (Short Limbs)
6 – 1×1 @ 6 1/2″, one end cut at 30 degrees off square (Long Limbs)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander


Step 1

Screw the Roots to the Tree

The best way I found to attach the roots was pocket holes or a countersunk screw right through the top face of each root. Use glue and two screws. The challenge here is going to be placing the roots in the exact same location around the trunk so that your tree doesn’t wobble or lean. Check your tree for level and adjust as necessary.

Step 2

Small Limbs

Now this really is the fun part . . . if you have the right tools. I tried to do this with a countersink bit, and found myself splitting boards repeatedly. A finish nailer and lots of really strong glue would probably been better. I’m not saying you can’t, just saying that I was splitting probably every second board.

Part of the beauty and interest of this piece is the random placement of branches. Place yours where they would work for your application – if you have kids, lower hooks might work better. Build to suit your needs.

For those of you with a Kreg Jig™, I simply pretended that the end cut at a 30 degree angle was NOT cut at an angle (when clamping in your jig), and drilled a single pocket hole set on the 3/4″ setting right smack in the center of the hook as shown above. Then it was not trouble screwing the limb on.

Step 3

Branch Limbs

Build your branch limbs first. In fact, I would suggest building your branches before anything else to get some practice. Then attach your branch limbs to the trunk.

Step 4

Long Limbs

And the final long limbs should get placed about halfway down the tree.

Step 5


JJ (not verified)

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:08

This is great. I've been toying making something like this using branches collected at my park nearby, but this is good inspiration.

I'd make a 36" tall one, to hang my clothes on in the bathroom...typically when I get in the shower, I come out to a pile of clothing on the ground, or I use my bike, neither are good solutions.

Anne M (not verified)

Wed, 03/09/2011 - 12:41

I have just made this and will post a pic when I have painted it. Just a comment on using the 2 1/2" pocket hole screws at the base/roots - I had a big problem with screwing the long screws in all at the same point on the trunk of the 'tree' because the screws would all intersect. So I had to use 1 1/4'' screws and stagger the 4 roots at the bottom. It requires more adjusting to make it all level and not lean, but I didn't see another solution. Wondering how you solved this problem, Ana. Off to sand and fill the holes! Oh, one small note on the diagram- when you attach a small limb to a longer one, in your photo the smaller limb was on the top of the longer one, but in the diagram, it's on the bottom - or hanging below. You mentioned that you wanted to know of any corrections to the drawings, so I wanted to mention it in case you are able to adjust the drawing. Attaching the small limb underneath won't work because of the angle the wood is cut. :)

Jon Spragg (not verified)

Thu, 03/10/2011 - 14:25

Cool, just about to make this for my wife - just a note that if the main stem is 65", and the roots ar 10" x4 (40") then you'd need 9 feet of length and not 8 as listed of the 2"x2" to make this construction.


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:40

Growing up my parents had made me a variation of this (I called it my Pole) to hang jackets, purses, bags, etc. from. I used it everyday growing up and still have it to this day (and I'm 24 now)! This will definitely be my next project. I never would've thought for damp towels and such till you mentioned it but it's exactly what I need. And simple too! With a nice, natural, modern twist. LOVE IT :-)


Sun, 05/08/2011 - 13:36

So I started this last night (in the process decided that I want a compound miter saw for my birthday versus cutting these with a circular saw), and I am having a hard time attaching the limbs to the tree. I tried to pre-drill and countersink screws but couldn't get a steep enough angle into the "trunk" to hold. Also, I have a Kreg Jig JR. but clamping those small pieces to drill pocket holes was not working. My only thought is to glue & clamp, let it dry, then come back and possibly hand nail for reinforcements (no power nail here)? Any other suggestions?

Also, like Anne M., I had to use 1 1/4" screws at the base, otherwise the screws were too long and came through the other side.

I know I will love this when it's done, just a learning project for me.


Tue, 03/13/2012 - 14:15

That's it I'm going to actually build something. i have been looking at your site daily, and this is going to be my first project. All of our coats are hanging on the backs of my dining room chairs because we are not aloud to put and kind of holes in the walls. we are limited to what we can do but this solves the problem
: )

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