Towel Rack Improvement

Posted: 25th July 2012 by Quinn Dunki in Hacks

Making another product into what it should have been.

 

Here’s yet another case of a consumer product that is almost really nice, but falls short in a couple of key ways. Luckily, we can remedy that!

I needed a dish towel rack in my kitchen, and there was nowhere to mount one. I picked up one of these over-the-cupboard-door gadgets, hoping it would do the job.

 

So far, so good.

 

Immediately upon installation, the flaws become apparent.

The rack is a very sloppy fit over the door, and looks like it would damage the wood over time as well.

 

The primary infuriating flaw in this piece is that the loose fit means every time you lift the towel off the rack, the rack flips upwards and slams back down again. Madness ensues. Dogs and cats living together, yadda yadda.

Luckily, the fix is simple, due to one of my favorite little all-purpose products. It’s called Camper Tape, and it’s quite a bit like weather-stripping. In fact, you can find it in the weather-stripping section of home-improvement stores. It has some unique properties, though. It’s designed for sealing a camper top installed on a pickup truck. It runs around all the interface areas between the top and the metal body of the truck. It seals out wind/rain, cancels out vibrations, and protects the truck’s paint. One side is sticky, and the other side has a very malleable surface, sort of like memory foam or modeling clay. Over time, it molds itself to small surface imperfections and forms a friction bond.

 

Camper Tape! Good stuff to have around.

 

So, a quick layer of this stuff applied to the mating surface of the towel rack, and this is what we get.

The tape helps confirm the hooks to the shape of the door. Along the flat surfaces, it bonds with the wood in a harmless and reversible fashion. Over time, the seal and fit between the rack and the door gets better and better.

 

Now the rack stays in place like a rock when the towel is lifted off. It won’t mark up the wood, and if you do cause the rack to jump (say, by hitting it with your knee), the tape cushions the impact.

 

Here’s the effect after it’s been installed for a while. It actually requires appreciable force to lift the rack off the surface now (but you still can, with no harm to the wood).

 

One more little household annoyance solved, and one more product-that-could-have-been-great made better. I’m still waiting for my electric unicorn that farts rainbows, but until then, at least my towel rack will behave itself.

 

 

 

 

  1. Ken Scharf says:

    Nice hack. I wouldn’t blame the design of the towel rack though, this is clearly a case of ‘one size DOESN’T fit all’. Your drawers have nicely routed edges that are too thin for the rack. The rack would fit fine on thicker ugly drawers made of unshaped slabs of wood. Now I’ve just remembered that I need to replace the foam tape on my front door as it’s been worn out for awhile. My wife had me put the tape on the door to improve the air seal and keep the roaches and lizards from crawling under the door to gain entry.

  2. Derek Lewis says:

    Nice rack… hack.
    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)
    If you’ve ever seen the 3M “command adhesive” wall hooks, the adhesive that comes with those (which you can get refills of) is great for fimly attaching things, but being able to eventually remove it without damaging painted surfaces, etc. I love that stuff.

  3. Stephen says:

    LOL. “Do androids dream of rainbow-farting electric unicorns?” Now, that’s inspirational… :)

  4. Paul says:

    If only all hacks were that simple!! haha
    Nice :)

    Keep them there hacks coming ;)

    PS. don’t hold your breath for your “electric unicorn that farts rainbows” hehe

  5. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” as the old wheeze goes. Excellent solution for an annoying problem, Quinn.

    BTW, when you get back to work on Miss Veronica, please bring her to my ever-expanding website so she can visit with her “big brother.” :)

  6. Oren Beck says:

    Nice work, It’s an example of how Hackers think differently.