Using mallets from an old croquet set and a pressure-treated 4×4, we’ll show you how to make a simple and beautiful croquet mallet pool towel rack.
You may remember a little post from two years ago in which I endeavored to recount a tale of a harrowing hot August Saturday (and Sunday) wherein Handan, Barish and I cleaned out our crap-filled shed. During that hazy and humid cleanout, I happened upon two croquet sets in our shed.
We’d never used them.
Where did they come from?
Why were they there?
(No one knew.)
How long would they sit there?
(Until time faded into memory.)
One set was summarily hauled to the basement to serve out the rest of its sentence, while the other set was allowed to keep living in the shed.
Life is fickle that way.
But why should one set live in sheddish luxury while the other rotted in the dark? Moreover, why should one set, whose mallets would never strike another ball, be allowed to take up precious real estate in my shed?
I hatched a plan to sneak the set to the dump. Handan would never know.
Hehehehehe. The perfect crime.
But no sooner had I cooked up my nefarious scheme than Handan caught wind of it. How, I don’t know. She’s like a telepathic bloodhound.
She watched with hawkish eye as I carted the neglected mallets and forgotten wickets back to the shed.
And then she told me her plan.
She said she wanted me to cut the heads off some of the mallets and make a croquet mallet towel rack.
My eyes lit up. I thought a pool towel rack was a great idea, but I asked her why I’d be cutting the heads off the mallets. Why not drill holes all the way through the 4×4 and then insert the mallet, keeping the head as well? I thought it would look cool and add visual balance.
She loved it, and the plan was hatched.
Since we would be painting the post and mallets white, we went with pressure-treated pine instead of cedar for the 4×4. An 8-footer was perfect for the project. I first measured and cut off a 5-foot section. I then cut the remaining 3-foot section into four 9-inch pieces.
These would be the post and four feet.
Handan wanted only three mallets for the pool towel rack, so I measured and marked where I would drill my holes.
I like using Forstner bits to make smooth-bore holes, but the bits that I have weren’t long enough to punch through a 4×4. Handan came up with a great solution to that problem. Using a long, thin drill bit that I had on hand, I drilled a pilot hole all the way through the 4×4. A drill bit guide would have been real handy, but I don’t own one, so I improvised by making a straight corner with two blocks of metal.
With the pilot holes drilled, it’s a simple matter to drill halfway down with the Forstner bit, flip the 4×4 and drill from the other side until the holes meet. This can be done by hand, but since I have a drill press…yeah, I used it 🙂
I drilled out the three holes and tested the fit.
I then cut the corner off of each foot – just for aesthetics.
I attached the feet, using a rafter square to make sure everything stayed level and square to the ground.
Once the feet were secured, I stood it up and filled all the knot holes of my soon-to-be croquet mallet pool towel rack with my absolute favorite pre-paint wood filler.
I let the wood filler dry, and then I sanded it flush.
It was time to paint the pool towel rack. If anyone ever tries to tell you that you can’t paint or stain wet pressure-treated wood, you can look them straight in the eye and tell them to go suck an egg. I’ll be publishing a post soon in which we stained wet pressure-treated with beautiful results. Next you’ll see how we painted it.
I started with a shellac-based primer. Shellac is the unsung hero of the DIY world. It excels at sealing wood so nothing bleeds through into the paint. I could have used straight shellac on the post, but the benefits of white shellac-based primer were two-fold. First, since I’d be painting it white anyway, the white primer would mean one less coat of paint. And when sealing difficult wood like pressure-treated or mahogany, the white primer will readily show areas that need to be primed a second time.
I’m not sure why I look so concerned. Perhaps I was worried about that tree growing out of our driveway.
I gave two coats of primer to the post and mallets and pronounced them well and truly shellac’d.
Moving on to the painting…
Deco Art kindly provided the paint for this project. We’ve been a fan of their paints since the days before The Navage Patch, and we use them for all sorts of indoor crafts. We’ve known about their paints specifically formulated for outdoor use, and Handan and I were keen to put some to the test, especially paints from their Outdoor Living collection. Deco Art’s Outdoor Living paints don’t need to be sealed, and that is a huge plus for us.
Paint it and plop it. That’s my style!
I started with the post.
I thought 8 ounces wouldn’t be enough for two coats, but it turned out a little went a long way. I barely used half of the jar for three full coats on the stand.
After two coats of white, I started painting the rings with some of the colors Deco Art had provided.
I placed a post cap on top, and that was it! Our new croquet mallet pool towel rack was ready for its new poolside home.
By the way, the mallets are free floating in the post, so we can remove them for easy winter storage. You could secure them with caulk if you so desire, but we found that leaving them free work best.
Of course, it looks better with towels!
We love our Turkish bath towels! These are just like the kind Handan remembers from her childhood in Turkey. They are super thin and highly absorbent. And the more you wash them, the softer they get! I can’t believe I wasted so much of my life with silly American beach towels! And the best part is they look awesome on our new pool towel rack!
The mallet heads not only look cool, but they make a great place to hang goggles!
This pool towel rack was a simple DIY/upcycle that solved the problem of towels littering the pool deck or molding under a chair.
I admit I was skeptical when
old crazy pants Handan wanted a second croquet set. I should know better by now than to doubt her!
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