DIY Collapsible Brush Drying Rack

When you wear makeup, the worst part is the cleaning that is required. Sponges and brushes must be washed. Not only does a clean brush make using wild colors a lot easier, but no one needs to be slapping gross brushes filled with bacteria and gunk across their face. But the drying poses a problem. I usually hang them from a towel bar, but that requires me to scoot towels around and keeps me from grabbing bath towels with ease. There had to be a better, and more DIY-inclined, solution. 

The best way is to hang them upside down, so that water drains away from the ferrule (water in ferrule = loose bristles and sadness). But not everyone has a towel rack handy. The second-best way is to lay them on a towel, which has its own annoyances. Like brush-hungry cats (and kids). You also need to remember to flip them and reshape so that they will dry in a timely manner and not all wonky. I decided to build one that I could throw up when I needed to, and not get in the way of my bath towels.

Before you start...
Figure out the size you want everything to be. Take your longest brush, and add 3 inches or so to that to find your height. For the length, 18-24 inches is a good size unless you have a fuckton of brushes. For your base, I'd add a few inches to the length, depending on how/where you are going to store this. I won't be leaving mine assembled, but it is totally within the realm of possibilities. If you don't have a saw to cut the PVC, you can sometimes do the cutting yourself (or get someone to do it for you) at your local hardware store. Also, if budget isn't a huge concern, consider using copper pipes instead. It would be quite pretty, and eliminate a few of the steps. I also recommend dry-fitting everything together, and marking the spots. It will make covering things much easier later.

not pictured: glue and elastics
Step One: Treat your board
You don't have to stain it, of course. You could paint it if you want. Whatever you do, make sure you seal it well. You might have wet brushes and sponges dripping on this, and you don't want to warp the wood. I happened to have some stain and sealant left over from another project, so I decided to use that. It definitely keeps the costs down.

Step Two: Cover your PVC
You can paint these too, and honestly I would recommend painting these over covering with contact paper. Or maybe even decoupage? The possibilities are endless. However, I do have a couple of suggestions regardless of what method you choose.

Leave the endcaps uncovered. It will make fitting everything back together again much easier. Plus, because PVC is not perfectly sized, there will be some rubbing and scraping when you assemble it. No sense ruining your paint job if you don't have to.

all covered!
all three pieces covered.
Step Three: Paint your elbows and ends
I don't have any pictures of this, but it's pretty self-explanatory. Take your elbows and ends outside, lay down some newspaper or cardboard, and spray them with spray paint. I used some specifically designed for plastics, so I shouldn't have any trouble with this stuff peeling off. You might need a couple of coats, depending on your color. I suggest leaving them for 24-48 hours after the last coat, just to make sure that the paint has set up.

Step Four: Fit everything back together
Now, if you are going to have this be collapsible, then you don't want to glue the pipes to the ends at all. But you do want to make sure that everything still fits together.  This will give you an idea of where you want to glue only the end caps onto your board. Plus, you want to make sure that you didn't apply the contact paper too low, because my pipes wont fit when covered...and there was a bit of wrinkling.

Step Five: Glue the non-removable parts in place
I want this to be sturdy, but still collapsible, so I will only be gluing a few things down. I chose to glue the end caps and a couple of little spots (not pictured) to hold my sponges. Gorilla Glue is probably your best bet, since it will grab the wood and plastic well. Follow the directions on the packaging for whatever glue you choose.

Step Six: Wash your brushes
Once you have waited the insanely long time for everything to set up, go ahead and give your brushes a good bathing. Grab your elastics and start hanging your brushes! If you have a cat that has a brush fetish, like I do, it might be a good idea to put this assembly up high, or in a room that you can close off. I generally stick this in my bathroom window (hooray air circulation) and close the door. The cat doesn't notice that she's been barred from that room as often as she should, and my brushes can dry in peace!

What I would do differently now that I am finished
I wanted to keep this project in the "under $10" range, so I chose very cheap items to build it. If I were to do it again, I probably wouldn't use PVC...because its ugly. I think I would use all copper pipes instead. They are still pretty affordable for a project like this, and much more attractive to look at. Or I would choose to paint the PVC pipes instead of covering them...and honestly I may do that anyway at some point.

I think I would also make it slightly smaller, if for no other reason than to encourage me to wash my brushes more regularly. Yes...I know that won't actually work. But a girl can dream, right?

I think I would also omit the big-ass block of wood. In using this before gluing everything together, I found that if I alternate sides when it comes to the bigger brushes, then this rack is actually fairly sturdy. I kept it set up in my windowsill (on a still day. Wind would still knock it over) and it was just alternating sides allows you to fit more brushes in a smaller space. That would make a small (less than 12 inches) rack just as efficient, only easier to store. You wouldn't even have to take it apart when you were done!

So, while I am pretty happy overall, there are still some things that I would do differently. Honestly, every DIY project is like that. You learn as you go.

this post originally appeared on Pretty Girl Science on 7 January, 2015 and is represented here with permission of the original author...which is me.