When we were building the bar cabinet for Andrew’s sister, we knew we wanted the middle to be a wine rack, but we were pretty stuck on how exactly to make it.
We went back and forth on the design and ultimately decided to make a simple grid pattern. Aside from the measuring, this is a pretty simple DIY wine rack plan.
The great thing about this wine rack is that it doesn’t require a bunch of screws. In fact, it requires zero! It works great as a stand-alone wine rack that can sit horizontally or vertically on a countertop, or you can build it into a cabinet.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
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What You’ll Need
- 1 – ¾” 4×8 sheet of plywood (we used oak)
- Iron-on edge banding
- 1.25” nails
- Wood glue
- Sandpaper (120, 180, 220 grit)
- Painter’s tape
- Stain (we used Minwax Rustic Beige)
How to Make a Wine Rack
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STEP 1: CUT PLYWOOD TO SIZE
We made our wine rack to fit within this DIY bar cabinet that we built, but you can also set it on a countertop. It looks great either way! But just a warning: it’s heavy, even before you add wine.
Our wine rack measured approximately 14.5” wide, 28” high, and 13.25” deep. We cut all of our pieces out using our circular saw.
The following cut list serves as a guide and your dimensions might differ.
|For What?||Board Size||Quantity||Size|
|Back||¾” plywood||1||13 x 26.5|
|Top/bottom||¾” plywood||2||13.25 x 14.5|
|Sides||¾” plywood||2||13.25 x 26.5|
|Vertical boards||¾” plywood||2||12.5 x 26.5|
|Horizontal shelves||¾” plywood||5||12.5 x 13|
STEP 2: APPLY EDGE BANDING
Once you have your boards all cut, it’s time to finish the plywood edges on the boards that you’ll see.
Since our wine rack was going inside a cabinet, we only finished the sides that would be facing towards the front. If you are planning to display your wine rack on a countertop, you might want to finish the sides that will be visible from the sides/back as well. It’s up to you!
We applied edge banding to the following pieces:
- The front edge of each of the shelves (aka one of the 13” sides)
- The front edge of the sides (aka one of the 26.5” sides)
- The front edge of the vertical boards (aka one of the 26.5” sides)
- The front edge of the top/bottom boards (aka one of the 13.5” sides)
STEP 3: MEASURE AND MARK WHERE TO CUT
Since all the pieces need to be cut as close to the same as possible for a square and snug fit, we taped two pieces together so that we could cut them at the same time.
Make sure they are lined up on all sides and taped together well enough that they won’t move apart when drilling or cutting.
Note: if you tape them together, you’ll only have to mark/cut the vertical boards once. For the horizontal shelves, measure and mark the first pair and then you can place the cut boards on top of the non-cut boards and trace where to cut, instead of remeasuring.
For the horizontal shelves, you’ll cut two notches into the plywood and they will be cut from the back to the middle (so don’t cut through the edge banding on these).
The three compartments won’t be 100% even, but they will be so close that you’ll never notice.
First, measure and mark the halfway point of the shelf at 6.25”. Then, measure 3 ⅞” from either 12.5” end of the shelf.
Draw a line at 3 ⅞” in from the back of the shelf to the middle of the shelf (6.25”) on either end.
Then grab your vertical boards or scrap plywood and line them up with the line that you drew. Trace the other side of the plywood to mark where you will cut out.
Since plywood isn’t exactly ¾” thick, it’s better to use the plywood as a guide of where to mark rather than relying on measuring alone.
For the vertical boards, you’ll cut five notches into the plywood. They will be cut from the front to the middle, so you will cut through the edge banding on these.
Measure and mark the middle at 6.25”. Next, measure and mark 3 13/16” from each side and draw a line to the middle.
Grab one of your shelves and use it to mark how wide you should cut your notches.
Then measure 3 13/16” from the lines you just marked. Grab a shelf and mark the other side of the notch.
Finally, measure 3 13/16” from one of the lines you just marked and trace a shelf.
Again, one of the holes will be slightly (1/16”) smaller than the rest. Since they are such small measurements, you’ll never notice.
Note: If you are worried about the difference, you can adjust the measurements of your original cuts. We decided not to adjust them to 1/16” or 1/32” precision because it’s difficult to cut plywood that precisely and because your particular plywood might be slightly larger or thinner than we accounted for.
Likely, the boards you cut down originally won’t be perfectly precise, which means that the measurements we provide of distances might not work for your particular piece anyway. The slight variation in the slot sizes (that you likely can’t even see) allows a little bit of wiggle room for unknown variables like exact plywood thickness.
Now that you’ve marked where you’re going to cut, we need to mark where we’re going to drill.
Measure ¾” in from the 6.25″ center line you marked. Then find the center of the area you are cutting. Mark where those two points meet. Repeat this with all of the areas that you’re going to cut out.
STEP 4: DRILL
Place your ¾” drill bit on the mark you made in step 3 and drill all the way through both your boards. Make sure you keep the drill bit nice and straight as you go through. You don’t want it to be angled or the hole in your second board won’t be in the right spot.
Tip: place a scrap piece of wood underneath your boards as you’re drilling through. This scrap wood will help support the wood fibers on the other side and help prevent tearout.
STEP 5: CUT YOUR SLOTS
Follow the lines that you drew with your jigsaw to cut out the pieces. Try to stay as close to your line as possible.
If you cut on the inside of the line, the slot will be too small. If you cut on the outside of your line, you might have gaps in your wine rack. Neither will be the end of the world, but it is nice to have a good, snug fit.
As you’re cutting out your slots, you want to be careful not to apply pressure to the jigsaw blade. Let the blade do the work and push through at the pace that your jigsaw allows.
You also want to make sure you’re applying pressure straight down. If you’re trying to push the blade too far left or right, it will angle and your second piece will be cut a lot differently than the piece on the top.
STEP 6: TEST
This step is important, so don’t skip it. You want to do a quick dry fit of your wine rack to see if the pieces slide together and are lined up well.
You don’t need to hit them fully into place because they should be pretty snug, but you’ll want to place your vertical and horizontal boards together enough to tell if they will go all the way together.
If needed, you can use your jigsaw to cut the notches to be wider or deeper. Once everything seems to be fitting together, you can move onto the next step.
STEP 7: SAND
Sand your wood down until it is smooth and any splintering that might have occurred from the jigsaw is gone.
Since we used plywood, be careful not to sand for too long or you might sand off the pretty veneer and reveal the ugly layers underneath.
Finish sanding with 220 grit sandpaper before staining or painting.
STEP 8: STAIN + SEAL
For this wine rack, we stained it using Minwax Rustic Beige stain and then sealed it with Minwax Soft Touch Finishing Wax.
It’s much easier to stain before assembly because you don’t have to try to get in all the nooks and crannies.
STEP 9: ASSEMBLE THE WINE RACK
Assembling the wine rack might take a little manpower, but overall, it’s not too complicated.
You’ll slide the horizontal shelves onto the vertical boards and hit them down with a mallet until flush.
STEP 10: ATTACH THE SIDES, TOP, AND BOTTOM
Once you have the main structure assembled, you can install the sides, top, and bottom. This is a little bit more tricky and requires a little bit more precision.
Add some wood glue to the sides of the wood rack that you assembled in step 9. Then place one side onto the wine rack, lining it up with the top, bottom, and front of the wine rack. The back should overhang by ¾”.
Carefully nail the sides into the horizontal shelves to secure it. Keep your nail gun straight to avoid shooting through the sides of the wine rack.
Repeat with the other side, then with the bottom and top. Again, both the top and bottom should line up with the sides and front of the wine rack and then overhang in the back ¾”.
STEP 11: ATTACH THE BACK
The back should hopefully be nice and snug. You might need to use your rubber mallet to hit it into place.
Once you get it in place, you can pop a few nails through the back to attach it to the wine rack. Just make sure to double-check your measurements so that you don’t shoot nails straight through the back instead of into a shelf!
STEP 12: INSTALL OR DISPLAY YOUR FINISHED WINE RACK
If you’re just displaying your wine rack on a countertop, you’re good to go!
If you are making this wine rack to fit in our DIY bar cabinet plans, you’ll want to skip installing the top and bottom. To install inside the bar cabinet, here’s what you’ll do instead:
First, place the bottom of the wine rack inside of the bar cabinet and nail it into the bottom of the cabinet.
Then, have someone hold the top of the wine rack inside the cabinet while you slide the wine rack into the cabinet.
Once in place, you can drop the top onto the wine rack and nail it in place.
There you have it! Now you know how to make your very own wine rack out of plywood.