How-To Guide: Outdoor Pool Furniture

Orange towel laying next to pool and not on a pool rack.

One of the most useful pieces of outdoor pool furniture is a towel rack. You can easily build one out of PVC pipe that can hold up to eight large beach towels and also hold larger items such as floaties and noodles. Once you’re finished, you will no longer have to worry about draping wet towels over your patio chairs. The following steps will make it easy to put this project together: 

Step 1

First, gather the pieces of PVC required to get the job done right. Here is what you will need:

  • PVC cement and primer
  • Sandpaper (100-grit and 200-grit pieces should work well)
  • A PVC pipe cutter tool or a hacksaw to cut the PVC to the right size
  • Eight 1-inch PVC connectors (45 degrees)
  • 16, 1-inch T-connectors
  • Four, 1-inch three-way PVC connectors
  • 60 feet of 1-inch PVC pipe (schedule 40 will work best) 

Step 2

Take your saw and cut the PVC pipe into the following sections: 

  • 2-inch pieces (8)
  • 4-inch pieces (14)
  • 30-inch pieces (4)
  • 38-inch pieces (12)

Step 3

Once the pieces are cut, use the 100-grit sandpaper to smooth any burrs and to wipe off the printing if you desire. If you notice scratches, the 200-grit sandpaper should get rid of them.

Step 4

Lay eight of the 38-inch pieces on a flat area and put a T-connector on each end, making sure each connector is aligned at 90 degrees. These will be the bars (T-sections) on which the towels will be placed. 

Step 5

This is the step where you will assemble the top portion of the rack using the 2- and 4-inch pieces, the 45-degree elbow connectors, and the T-sections you put together in Step 4. 

  • Connect a 2-inch piece to the top and bottom of the first T-section.
  • Put a 45-degree elbow on each 2-inch piece.
  • Connect one end of each 4-inch piece to each elbow.
  • Put the remaining end of the 4-inch piece in the next T-section (top and bottom).
  • Take two more 4-inch sections and attach to the top and bottom of the next T-section. Repeat.
  • Put another 45-degree elbow on the end of each 4-inch section.
  • Connect 2-inch sections to the elbows.
  • Connect the other end of the 2-inch sections to the next T-section (top and bottom).
  • Connect another 4-inch piece to the next T-section (top and bottom).
  • Connect another 2-inch piece to the next T-section (top and bottom).
  • Put another 45-degree elbow on each 2-inch piece.
  • At this point, you should have six 4-inch sections and three T-sections remaining. Place the 4-inch sections into the top and bottom of two of the remaining T-sections.
  • Attach a 45-degree elbow to each 4-inch section.
  • Connect your remaining 2-inch sections (there should be two at this point) to the top and bottom of the last T-section. 

Step 6

This is where you put the base together. Take the 38-inch pieces and form a square using the three-way connectors. Then, insert the 30-inch pieces vertically into the remaining holes of the three-way connectors. These are the legs. 

Step 7

Place the rack on top of the base and make sure all connections are properly aligned. Then, once you are sure all pieces fit, remove the rack. Remove each leg base and apply a small amount of primer (a quick swipe will do) — followed by a quick swipe of PVC cement — to the inside of the three-way connector.

Once you’ve firmly secured the legs to the base, swipe the other end of each leg with the primer/cement combination and set the rack. Again, you need to make sure the alignment is correct because the glue will set immediately.

This job will take some patience and precision, but once it is done you will have a finished project that will last through many, many summers.


For a printable version of this how-to guide, click here.