We have always wanted a vintage-style wine rack for our dining room – and the frigid winter temperatures that swept through Ohio last week gave us the perfect opportunity to finally create it!

Our wine rack created for free from old barn and pallet wood.

Mary and I have never been fond of the “cabin-fever” that can set in during the cold winter months – and a project like this was the perfect recipe to pass the time.

So we braved the cold in the garage to cut all of the pieces – then hustled back inside to assemble.

We were able to create the piece for little cost utilizing reclaimed barn and pallet lumber. Even better – some of it came from my dad’s old barn to add a little sentimental value. The rough-cut of the wood really gave a beautiful rustic feel to the piece.  

The Building Process:

The wine rack is basically an assembly of small ladders. The ladders are then attached to a top and bottom strip board that create the entire rack.

The first step was to cut out (125) 3/4 x 3/4 x 10" long pieces for the wine holding strips
We cut out (125) 3/4 x 3/4 x 10″ long pieces for the wine holding strips.  

We started by taking scrap pieces of white oak pallet wood and cut them down into 3/4″ strips with the table saw.  Once the strips were cut, we used the chop saw to cut all of the strips into 10″ lengths. In all – 125 of them! These would become the “rungs” of the ladder.  We then used the table saw and chop saw to cut 2″ wide x 36″ long strips for the two “rails” of the ladder.


Next came putting all of the pieces together – always our favorite part of any project!

For the “legs” of each ladder – we cut 1 3/4″ wide strips that were 36″ long

To make assembly easy – we made a simple jig, or “guide”. Regular wine bottles will fit perfectly in a 3 1/2 x 3 1/2″ opening – and we knew we wanted our rack to stand 36″ high.  So we created the guide from two scrap pieces of wood to work with those measurements. An inexpensive nail gun set is an incredible tool for this project -we would be lost without ours!  Porter Cable Nail Gun / Compressor set

To make the jig – we placed spacer boards 3 and 1/2 ” apart to create an opening for the ladder rungs. We then nailed a straight edge guide board on each side to align the ladder rails and keep them exactly 10″ apart.

Once we had the guide jig – it was easy to assemble identical ladder sections.

The individual ladder sections assembled
The individual ladder sections assembled

We laid in each of the wine strips to the openings in the jig – placed the two rails against the edge guides – and nailed together with 1 and 1/4″ nails from the nail gun.

For a little extra strength – we did apply a drop of glue to each wine strip before nailing. The jig held it all perfectly in line, and in about 30 seconds and with the quick pop of a couple of nails at each glue point – we had a completed ladder section.

We had to create a total of 13 ladder sections, 8 of them 36″ long, and 5 that were 14″ long.  We repeated the steps using the jig and in 20 minutes, had all of the individual sections ready for final assembly.

We then assembled the "ladders" to a top and bottom board - spacing them 3.5" apart.
We then assembled the “ladders” to a top and bottom board – spacing them 3 and 1/2″ apart.

We then attached the sections by nailing to the top and bottom trim boards, leaving 3 and 1/2 inches of space between each to make room for the bottles.  We worked our way across the piece – and in 30 minutes, had them all nailed in place. We left a 4 and 1/2″ space between the middle two sections to hold 6 larger magnum wine bottles.

Once the sections were all together – we checked for square and then nailed in the top and middle shelf boards to complete the wine rack.

For the shelves – we salvaged two aged pieces of barn wood we kept when we tore down dad’s barn – and they really finished off the piece perfectly.  And with that – it was complete!

How To Build A Vintage Wine Rack From Pallets

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Happy Building – Jim and Mary!

Building A Classic Wine Rack From Pallets And Reclaimed Barn Wood