In this article, I am sharing how we custom-built our cast iron wall rack so that I can easily store and display all my cast iron pans and Dutch ovens.
Even though I am not quite ready to show you our new kitchen after a long total kitchen renovation, I am super happy to show you how we built a wall rack for all my cast iron. Please do stay tuned for the kitchen reveal which will be coming soon! UPDATE: here is our fully renovated kitchen.
Why cast iron cookware?
I love my collection of cast iron cookware. In fact, I love it so much that I use it about 95% of the time. I cook, sear, sauté, bake, roast, and even roast nuts in them. The more you use cast iron, the better it gets. It also is literally indestructible as I can move it from the stove to the oven – and right on the table. There, we love its heat retention.
Also, I use my cast iron Dutch ovens all the time for baking bread.
I find clean-up a breeze: I wash it with hot water and a scrub brush. Sometimes, I need to loosen some caked-on food with a specific scraper. Then I simply put it back on the stove over medium heat until it is very dry. With just a little bit of oil wiped all over it gets a mini re-seasoning every time I use it.
How to store cast iron?
Cast iron is susceptible to rust. Therefore, you want to store it in a dry spot with airflow. In my old kitchen, I had it spread all over which wasn’t the best strategy. That also meant that I had to dig around to find that one pan I was looking for. At times, I would have a stack sit right on my stovetop (this is how I clean the cast iron grate of our gas stove). Again, not ideal since I had to move it around quite often.
So, you get the idea: if you want to use cast iron often, it has to be accessible. And what better way to display my collection than on a kitchen wall.
How we built the rack – the materials:
This couldn’t be simpler!
We bought a 7 foot 1 x 8 piece of inexpensive pine board. The cost may have been around $7 at the lumber yard.
To stain the wood board so it would match the other existing wood pieces in our kitchen we used some penetrating stain that we had sitting around. It would be similar to this one and we really didn’t need a lot.
To attach it to the wall studs, we purchased 3 black lag screws for about $0.52 each with black washers. We also used 6 regular sheet rock anchors and screws.
The most expensive item was the black cast iron hooks. They came in a set of 12. We didn’t need all of them but they were cheaper in the set and we weren’t sure how many exactly we’d use. So now we have a few leftover to use somewhere else.
This isn’t a material or anything you need but gabled home husband decided to add some millwork to our boards. He cut them (2 pieces at 30″ and 1 at 24″ long) and with his router added some nice detail to the edges. Again, not necessary but a cute touch!
How to attach it to the wall:
We knew which wall we wanted to attach the cast iron rack to. Since my husband did the total kitchen renovation, he not only knew where the studs were but he had also marked them. Hanging something as heavy as 3 or so cast iron pans from the wall, you definitely want to make sure the rack is securely attached. If you don’t know where the studs are, you can use a stud finder.
In our layout, we could only attach the boards to one stud. And the way it worked out, the screws wouldn’t even be right in the center of the boards. Fortunately, you can’t really see that!
We also realized that there was a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on. The decision of how to arrange the cookware would drive how exactly we would place the boards on the wall.
Here’s what we did: we placed the three boards on the kitchen floor and laid all my cast iron pans on top of them how they would be arranged on the wall. Once we were happy, we took a photo of it so we could come back to it.
Now, we attached the top board to the stud with the lag screw. Over on either side, we used sheet rock anchors and screws.
We wanted the handles of the top row of cast iron cookware to rest on the board beneath it which drove how far apart we attached them. That way they wouldn’t mar up the walls.
Once we had all the boards securely attached to the wall, we drilled the holes for the cast iron hooks and screwed them in.
Little fun tidbits:
I thought it would be fun to hang my only copper pot right in the middle of my cast iron. I love how it breaks up the black monotony.
When everything was done, we noticed a pretty big space between the top two racks. This is where my cherished little black enamel pan was attached. I received this as a 5-year-old and it has moved with me 9+ times, one of those from Germany to the US. And I still have it! I think it deserves the center spot!
What we wish we had known before:
There really isn’t much, except for one detail. When we had put the middle rack up on the wall, we realized that the screw for the left cast iron hook would have to be drilled right into a knot. Now, you can’t really do that because it’s really hard and brittle. We could have avoided that had we paid attention to it earlier. Ultimately, my husband was able to drill a hole close enough to the knot for it to not look weird or random. Hence that bigger space in the middle (where my childhood enamel pan is now).
We might have also liked to use real hand-forged cast iron hooks. However, we started and finished this project during the corona virus situation and shipping would have taken much longer. And those would have been much more expensive.