better homes & gardens

How to make a wine rack
How to make a wine rack

Gather your supplies

  • 90mm-diameter PVC stormwater pipe (just over 3 x 6m lengths)
  • 900 x 900mm pine bookcase with 810-815mm-wide and 230mm-deep internal measurements
  • 20 x 8 x 2700mm (total) pine beading
  • Clear silicone sealant
  • Stain and clear finish

Simply stacking wine bottles may seem efficient, but pulling a special drop from the centre presents a problem.That's why you need a system that supports individual bottles while keeping them as close to each other as possible. Enter the humble 90mm drainpipe. You can create a wine-storage unit simply by fitting short sections of pipe into an ordinary bookcase. You can use a second-hand bookcase, or pick up a new raw-pine unit for about $125 at a pine warehouse. It's the easiest project you'll ever make because you don't have to build the cabinet, just modify an existing bookcase.

It's a matter of storage

Storing wine in your home has two purposes. One, you'll always have a bottle of your favourite on hand. Two, certain wines improve with careful cellaring, becoming softer and more complex. No need for a cave under the floor, just pick the coolest, darkest, quietest place in your home. Heat, light and vibration are the enemies of wine. So, on top of the fridge is the worst place and the bottom of a cupboard, under the stairs, is the best. Corked bottles must be kept on their sides so the cork stays moist while screw-caps are fine standing or lying. Drink whites within a year or two; in 3-5 years, good reds mature from upfront youngsters into smooth, more interesting adults.

Here's how

Step 1

Measure the depth of the cabinet and subtract from that the width of your beads (about 20mm). For most bookcases a pipe length of 210-215mm will be ideal. This is one occasion where even if you don’t own a mitre saw, it is worth hiring (about $53 per half day) or borrowing a saw as you will be cutting dozens of pipe sections, and the saw gives a very neat cut which you cannot achieve in any other way. A neat cut is essential. Most people would struggle to cut the pipe square by hand.

Step 2

Sand pipes to remove all the ragged edges and smooth the evidence of saw cuts. Vacuum out the plastic cutting swarf and dust, or use a damp cloth. Dry brushing just produces static electricity and the dust just clings to the PVC.

Step 3

Sand 1 edge of the beading to round over the edge. The reason for this is that it’s difficult to hide the joint with the side of the bookcase perfectly. The rounding makes the joints a feature.

Step 4

Cut beading to length to suit the inside height of the cabinet, prenail with small nails, apply glue and nail to the sides. Use a length of the cut pipe as a guide for how far into the cabinet you need to nail the beads. Repeat for bottom bead after cutting to length. Once all the beads are in place, finish off the nail heads with a nail punch.

Step 5

Fill all nail holes and sand smooth. Paint with 2-3 coats of Cabot’s all-in-one Interior Stain & Varnish in Mahogany Satin. When a stain is incorporated into a varnish it’s important to brush it very evenly with no brush start marks in the middle of panels, otherwise the result may be patchy.

Step 6

Install a row of pipes. If they fit too loosely between cabinet sides, cut thin battens for both front and back to take up the slack. All the pipes should be touching. As you add the next row, apply a small dob of silicone at 10 and 2 o’clock on each pipe. Continue until you’re at the top or required height.

Step 7

(OPTIONAL)Stop about 4 rows short of the top and sit a bookshelf on top of the pipes. To fit it, notch the front to fit in behind and be locked in place by the front beads. Stain and finish this, too.

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