How to Make a Handy Vintage Level Hanging Rack

One of the benefits of being a crafty, DIY kind of gal and an antique dealer is that when a vintage or antique item doesn’t sell, sometimes I come up with a clever crafty project to reuse said item in a fantastically wonderful new way.

At least I hope it’s fantastically wonderful. You’ll have to let me know what you think.

Not too long ago, I brought an old level home from my booth at the Gristmill Antique Center. It sat on one of my workbenches for a couple of days until I had a vision, well, not an actual vision, but a “sometimes I’m a crafty visionary” kind of vision.

“Why not add some knobs to make it a fantastically wonderful vintage level hanging rack?” I thought to myself.

How to make a vintage level hanging rack in a few easy steps

To me that fire engine red color and the soft, aged surface deserved to be on display. I didn’t want to sell it off for a dollar, stick it in a Goodwill donation box, or hide in storage for years.

Vintage level sitting on my messy workbench

I must feel brave today because I’m giving you an insiders look at a corner of my workroom–and this is the clean part!

Materials for Making a Vintage Level Hanging Rack

white knobs

I began the project by digging out some vintage white ceramic knobs I had on hand. I pick them up at garage sales and thrift stores whenever I see them  for a good price.

This combo of the red level and crisp white knobs has terrific farmhouse appeal and will look good in any room in the house.


How to Make a Vintage Level Hanging Rack

Close up of white ceramic knob on red level

Step 1: Evenly space your knobs along the bottom of the level and mark the location with a pencil. Measure twice!

Step 2: Drill pilot holes on the pencil marks. (Pilot holes prevent the wood from splitting and make it easier to attach the knobs.)

Step 3: Screw the knobs into place in the pilot holes.

Oops. Notice my boo boo? While I did measure twice, I learned that perhaps I should have measured thrice.

See the small black hole to the right of the knob in the photo above? My measurement was off by an inch.

To cover up my error, I darkened the interior of the hole with some stain to give it an aged look, rather than the fresh wood look of a newly drilled hole. It’s not really noticeable in real life since the level has other pock marks and dents.

Close up of white ceramic knob on red vintage level

I was limited in the placement of my knobs because of the level windows and the oval indents.

I had to place them along the bottom of the level, rather than in its center, where they would have had a little more stability.

Claw hanger on back of vintage level turned hanging rack

Step 4: To hang the rack,  attached two claw-type hangers on either side of the back of the level–at the top.

Step 5: Using wood glue, attach two Scrabble tiles below each claw hanger–at the bottom of the level (not shown). This will allow the rack to hang flush to the wall.

Close up of vintage whisk broom and boxwood wreath

The knobs held up nicely under the weight of this medium-sized bread board. I can envision the rack holding all sorts of things:

  • kitchen utensils
  • pots and pans
  • umbrellas
  • aprons 

Upper portion of vintage level turned hanging rack

I’ve not found a home for it yet, so perhaps it will make its way up to my antiques booth.

vintage red level turned into a hanging rack

I have a few more levels in various shades of red that may be getting a makeover soon(!).


Other projects you might enjoy:

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Learn how to make a simple hanging rack for your farmhouse style home using a vintage level



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  1. Oh, my gosh, that is so clever. I wonder if I have….. Gotta go to the basement and hunt!

    Just one suggestion about the mistaken drill hole on your level: As I look at it on-screen it seems to me that some red paint (carefully matched to the red on the level) would conceal that hole better. It would blend in with the color around it and disappear, I think. Just a suggestion, if you want to mess with it some more. If not, just leave it be. Thanks for the idea, though, Diana. I really love your posts!

    1. Good suggestion, Naomi–I might give it a try. I’ve not had a lot of luck in the past, for some reason, matching paint colors, lol. I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my posts–thanks so much for letting me know 🙂

  2. I love this. I can see it in a Mancave although I can also see it in different spots in the house. What a great idea.

  3. What a fabulous idea Diana – just love this! Dang, when my dad passed away we donated his old level (which was my grandfather’s) to small museum. This would have been a much better use for that level and given a place of honor. Pinning this idea to share!

    1. Diana, I’m featuring your fabulous level hanging rack this weekend at the DIY Sunday Showcase party.

  4. The level hanger is So Cool Diana! Oh, and you’re desk looks pretty good compared to mine!

  5. Love this idea, Diana! You didn’t even have to level it to hang it 😉 LOL I love the look of the red and white!

  6. I would have never thought of that! But that’s why I love this party… so many great ideas to ponder. Thanks so much for linking up with “Let’s Talk Vintage!”

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  11. What a great idea! It came out so nice. Love the look. I remember always being fascinated, as a kid, by the bubble in my dad’s level.

  12. This is quite a few years behind your posting, but I just had to comet. What a great idea, I’m going to be searching for a wooden level, and the tiles to get it hanging flat is genius!

  13. This is such a great idea! I have a few of my late Fathers old wooden levels. They have such great patina. I love the idea that they were My Dad’s. Now I know just what to do with them!


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