DIYdiy projects

diy project: vintage trophy coat rack

by Kate Pruitt

This project has made me so enamored of old trophies that I may have to devote an entire Treasure Hunting post to them, although I’m not sure I could top this re-purposing idea. When paired with a nicely finished piece of hard wood, the shiny metallic trophies actually look modern and . . . classy? Not something I thought I would ever say about a sports trophy. Thank you so much for sharing this idea with us, Colleen! Now if I could only get good enough at a competitive sport so I can win a few of these to disassemble :) — Kate

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CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

Eric and I just moved into a new apartment a few months ago and have slowly been making it our own. We had this collection of vintage trophies left over from a project we just finished. This funny little assortment was sitting on our desk as we were sketching out coat-hanger ideas for our entryway. I glanced over at the trophies, and the light bulb went off! — Colleen


  • 1/4” drill bit
  • 3/16” drill bit
  • 3/4” Forstner bit
  • 1/2” countersink bit
  • clamps
  • 1/4″ 20 nuts and washers, 6 of each
  • 150- and 220-grit sandpaper
  • rags
  • shellac (100% natural finish)
  • Howard Feed-N-Wax Orange Oil Finish
  • vintage metal trophies with threaded rod for mounting (All the trophies I’ve found have this, but check just in case.)
  • wood (solid boards can be purchased and cut down at Lowes/Home Depot. I used a 41 1/2 x 4 1/2 piece of walnut)


1. Wood in hand, take your trophies and get a visual of where you’d like to mount them and on which side of the wood. Starting on the back, mark out where you’d like the trophies to be mounted. I chose to mount them 2” from the bottom, giving a little extra space toward the top since they aren’t symmetrical. Also, I spaced them evenly across the board.

2. Clamp the wood down to your work surface. Taking the 3/4” Forstner bit, drill at the center of each marking. Try to keep the drill square to the wood; with this bit, you don’t need to go full speed with the drill — nice and steady with a little pressure works best. You only want to go as deep as the space the washer and nut take up. This will allow you to attach the trophies and keep the back edge flush to the wall.

(Note: The Forstner bit creates a center indent that can be used as a guide for drilling the mounting holes using the 1/4” drill bit. Once all the holes are drilled, flip the wood so the  front is facing up.)

3. Now to make the holes for the screws that will hold the rack onto the wall: For this step, you need to plan where the rack will hang and measure where the studs are. It’s best if the mounting screws catch the studs in the wall. Once you have that measurement, mark it out on the wood. I planned on using 3/16” screws, so I used the 3/16” drill bit and drilled through the wood.

4. To create that seamless look, use the 1/2” countersink to create a “dip” for the screw head to sit flush to the wood. Practice with this drill bit a few times to get the hang of it. It doesn’t take much to make the impression. If you do it in small steps, you can fit the screw in to test the fit.

5. You’re done with the drilling and onto the sanding. With the 150-grit sandpaper, sand all the surfaces visible once the piece is hung. Sand in the direction of the grain. Once the surface feels less rough, go over it with the 220-grit paper — this will give it a smooth feel. Run a rag over the surface to remove most of the sawdust.

6. Shellac is next! I love this finish. It’s all natural, and while it does smell a little earthy, it’s totally nontoxic. It is a little sticky, and while I didn’t wear gloves, you might want to. Get a hearty amount of shellac on your rag and wipe it around for a minute, covering all areas. Shellac dries very quickly, so you want to apply it fast. If you feel it getting tacky, stop applying and leave it to dry. Apply 3 or 4 times.

7. Give the shellac a few good hours to dry, then lightly sand away any big drips. You can dial the shiny-ness down by buffing the whole piece with some steel wool. Finally, use a rag to apply the Howard’s wax. A little goes a long way! Let it dry for a minute or two, then buff with a dry rag.

8. Time to mount those trophies. Look over the drilled areas and remove any excess splintered wood that might obstruct. Once you have your trophy on, use the washer and nut to attach it. Mount it on the wall, stand back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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