Make your own built-in plate rack

Can I ask you a question?

When do you start feeling like a grown-up?


I’m still waiting.

I have a house and a family and four children and 2 dogs and 3 cats and a family of rabbits and a tortoise and a salamander.

And I still want to watch the Brady Bunch and eat peanut butter on celery sticks and take a nap.

This recipe wall is the backdrop of the wall

When I was little I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up.

There was this one lady who lived down the block who had the most amazing outfits and wore fake eyelashes with bright blue eye shadow and her dog wore a raincoat and a tiara and she had an entire refrigerator full of nothing but Diet Pepsi.

All she ever drank was Diet Pepsi.

Every time we walked by her house she would be standing in her yard looking like a movie star drinking a Diet Pepsi in short shorts and a tube top as she watered her flowers.

She totally fascinated me.

My mom would never let me wear short shorts or bright blue eye shadow or drink Diet Pepsi…..and we had German Shepherd that never wore a headpiece of any kind.

She was organized and amazing and creative and exhilarating.

And I knew that was exactly the kind of grown-up I was going to be.


Except I’m still not sure I’m really grown up and I never really learned to like short shorts or tube tops or bright blue eye shadow….

…..or Diet Pepsi.

But my almost grown-up self and I love……red lipstick.

And confidence earrings.

And bobby pins.

And a really fun creative plate-wall project.

I’m glad we had this little talk.  I’m totally starting to feel more grown-up.  Maybe I could even talk the salamander into wearing a crown. 🙂

How to create a built-in plate rack

Built-In Plate Rack


30 feet of 1 x 2 basic pine

14 feet of decorative molding

28 feet of screen molding

Here's what the recipe wall looked like beforeStep 1:

This is how the plate rack wall started out.

As a wall.

A wall covered in scraps of wallpaper next to a foil chimney and a really cute carpenter.


Those were the days.

The measurements for the plate rack wall

Step 2:  Here are the dimensions for the plate rack

It’s a basic frame of 1 x 2 built into a spare wall.

edited to add:  We built this on top of the wall….not between the studs.  Each of the 1 x 2’s were nailed into the surrounding molding.

72″ high.

39 1/2″ wide.

17 1/2″ opening between each shelf.

We just used the dimensions of the wall.

You could make it any size you wanted.

Add decorative moldings

Step 3:  Add decorative molding

I wanted this to be a grown-up plate rack.

We added a piece of decorative molding to each of the shelves and left the sides and top plain.

Add screen moldings to the recipe wall as well

Step 4:  Add two rows of screen moldings to hold the plates

I have several large white ware platters that need a little extra support, so we added two rows of screen molding for stability.

You could use decorative molding here, too, if you wanted to dress it up even more.

Plate Rack Before

Here’s the plate rack with all the platters and plates looking a little monochromatic.

Before I made it into a recipe wall.

Before I wore my black fuzzy slippers while making pancakes into letters that spelled out names while drinking orange juice from a crazy straw dancing to “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful.”

After all….isn’t that exactly what grown-ups do? 🙂

PS  If you want to see how I made the recipe wall (without even using a level) click here.

PPS  If you want to see the actual recipe….click here.

PPPS  Here’s the tutorial on how to make the hand-stitched “delish” tray here or if you want more molding inspiration….click here to check out all my other molding projects.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for sue sue

    Just discovered your blog this weekend; coming from Funky Junk. Honey, being a grown up is over rated and what you must remember is...if YOU are the grown up, you get to make the rules. I totally believe in naps, peanut butter on celery, but I do not believe in the Brady's. I'm more of a Rocky and Bullwinkle kind of girl. Try explaining an absolute love of cartoons when you are almost entering your 6th decade! But, that's O.K. since all grown ups aren't alike. You have some really great ideas, I will be back for inspiration. When will you post instructions for salamander crowns?

  2. Image for Danielle Danielle

    I love this post for so many reasons. Number 1 - I've been DYING to know how you made your plate rack, diy on the way at my house! Numbers 2 through 800 - you write the best posts, with the most humility, honesty and down-to-earthiness I've ever read. Every time I open my email and find a message that Thistlewood Farm has a new post, my day is made. Thanks for being so awesome.

  3. Image for Sally Sally

    I always admire this wall when I see it in your posts. Beautiful, and so unique. Just so you know you're not alone... most days I don't feel like an adult either. I laughed out loud when I read this: "...and we had German Shepherd that never wore a headpiece of any kind." Happy Monday! xo ~Sally

  4. Image for Jackie Jackie

    Wondermous! Now I just need to find a really cute carpenter...hmmm... If I ever start to feel like a grown-up, I'll let you know. I'm not planning on it any time soon. ;) And I definitely want to see pictures when you talk the salamander into wearing a crown.

  5. Image for Kaye Kaye

    This is fabulous! What recipe did you write on the wall? I am definitley going to copy this idea!!! Thanks for sharing! Kaye PS What paint color did ou use for the base of the table that the basket sits on? I really like that.

  6. Image for Cindy Cindy

    You are so funny, dear KariAnne, You will feel grown up when your aches and pains tell you that you can no longer do some of the things that you used to do. (That's what happened to me any way.) I have always admired that plate rack, thanks for telling us how you did it. have a wonderful day, Cindy

  7. Image for Kathy Kathy

    It is funny that you write this post because I was just thinking the other day while driving to a grown up function that I still feel and think like I am 20 in my head. And I was wondering how the heck time had gone so fast and how did I get to be 40 something?? Cheers to staying young in our heads! Love the plate rack and I have always admired your recipe wall!

  8. Image for Dottie Dottie

    " We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." George Bernard Shaw I have this quote framed in my kitchen along with an illustration of an older woman wearing a baggy swimsuit and a huge tire tube for floating down the river. She is my inspiration. As I get older, I embrace more and more that age is just a number. I love your blog. It is fresh and witty and so creatively inspirational. Thank you.

  9. Image for Angela Angela

    Your blog is always the perfect way to start out the morning! Wonderful plate rack and the recipe wall sends it over the top! You are so beyond talented!!! Just so you know.....I now have the Brady Bunch theme song in my head and it will probably stay there all day! Thanks!!! Have a great day and a wonderful week!!~~Angela

  10. Image for Christy Christy

    Love this!! You make me laugh because sometimes feel the same way. I use to babysit for this lady on our street who had twins. She was a bartender and she had the biggest hair and I would watch her put the finishing touches on her make up. Her eyelashes were so thick with mascara that she used to use a safety pin to separate them! But she was sooo glamorous, I'm pretty sure she wasn't more than 25 at the time. I'm 41 and still don't quite feel like a grown up sometimes:) XO, Christy

  11. Image for Trina @ Trina @

    I am 36 and have a teaching job and 2 boys and a guinea pig and a husband {shh, don't tell him, I didn't put him first on the list} ...I do not feel like a grown up. I don't even feel like a grown up when the mortgage bill comes in or I have to make dinner b.c little souls are whining "Momma, I'm hungry!" Nothing makes me happier than to sit on the couch and watch old reruns of 90210 and eat ice cream. Love this plate rack wall! Love the giant recipe even more. Someday maybe I can have one of my Gr. Grams Chocolate Chip Cookies...when I am a grown up. :)

  12. Image for Marian Marian

    I can't decide if I qualify as grown up or not. I bolted up in bed this morning with a heart full of joy when I looked out the window and saw that it had snowed 4 inches over night and turned this first day of spring break into a winter wonderland. And I jumped up and down for real and ran up the stairs and made my husband come look "right now" when I realized the one can of stain I had in my house was the exact color I needed to make the last piece of crown moulding match the rest of the free molding I stole out of my neighbor's trash heap. I suppose staining wood to put on you ceiling is somewhat grown up. I'm not so sure about the jumping or yelling or stealing out of the trash pile.

  13. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I don't know when you become a grown-up....perhaps it's when we stop having fun, being silly, or stop using our imagination. I think it has a lot to do with red lipstick, wearing confidence earrings, and eating celery with peanut butter. There's a fine line between being responsible and being a grown up...I'm fairly responsible, but...too young to be a grown up. Great morning coffee post! ;)

  14. Image for Patty O Patty O

    Karianne - you once again "knocked it out of the park"! (OK, I guess I really do have Spring Fever - I'm even talking in baseball terms.) LOVE the plate rack wall and grown-up story! I say we skip growing up...young at's a good thing!

  15. Image for Ashley Sparks Ashley Sparks

    I have had a hard time feeling grown up too but when the fleeting moments come where I do feel totally sophisticated and old....I try to run back to my fun old self as fast as I can cuz they're not really all they're cracked up to be :-) Whew! That was a long sentence. Here's to holding on to our youth! Forever young! Ashley Rane Sparks

  16. Image for Pinky Pinky

    PLEEEEASE, don't ever become a (Boring) grown up!!!! I don't plan to either!! And at my ripe old age I probable should! Your blog brightens my day every time. I love this project. Your description of your neighbor reminded me of my neighbor when we moved into our second neighborhood. She was GORGEOUS, wore her beautiful jet black hair up, and would be outside in something fabulous, watering HER flowers. We are still friends and she is still beautiful. Oh, and I love Diet Pepsi or Coke. I grew up on soda.....long story:):) XO, Pinky

  17. Image for jessica @fourgenerationsoneroof jessica @fourgenerationsoneroof

    I asked my mom the other day if she still felt like a kid (because I still feel like a kid) and she said, "yes, I do". I don't think anyone ever feel like a true grown up! ha. I still can't believe I'm suppose to be one! :) Love the plate rack and recipe wall. So cool! I'm sharing later this afternoon on my facebook page and will be scheduling for pins later tonight. Nicely done!

  18. Image for Barbara F Barbara F

    The only thing I want more than your built-in plate rack is your built in spice rack. If your really cute carpenter ever gets bored, and wants to make a trip to California.... xo Barbara

  19. Image for Chris Chris

    My mother always said when I got rid of my jeans and eat liver & onions I'd be grown up. I have 2 adult children, 4 teenage grandchildren, 2 careers behind me and just celebrated our 47th anniversary. Not gonna happen. Not in this lifetime.......hahaha. Love you just the way you are, Karianne!

  20. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I don't know what I love more….the recipe wall, the plate rack, or you in black fuzzy slippers drinking OJ from a crazy straw :) What a fun project….where can I put one of those walls in my house??? Hmmmm. Thanks for sharing the how-to, it's definitely going on my project list!

  21. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    Wish my plate rack looked as good as yours and just need to find a place to put it. I love the recipe and a great place to remind yourself of something your family loves.

  22. Image for Regina Regina

    I have loved this since the first picture I saw of it! Thanks for the tutorial! You know, I have one of those odd little walls that would be PERFECT for this . . . . :) Snow up your way? UGH! I'm ready for my LILAC to bloom, and I wake up to SNOW? Have a great day!

  23. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Your plate wall is absolutely beautiful and the instructions are pretty darn good! I have to pin this, I have plates that never see the light of day and should be on display somewhere! Thanks for sharing. Debbie :)

  24. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Just had that conversation with someone the other day matter our age, we all still feel like kids on the inside. I can't imagine it any other way! I say, eat that pb & celery and rock those Brady Bunch reruns. I play 80's music when I clean house and sing at the top of my lungs when I'm driving in the car...I will never stop doing that ;)

  25. Image for Colleen Colleen

    You always make me smile, love your plate rack/wall. Love your posts. P.S. my fav song right now (singing along with my 14 year old daughter - rolling her eyes....) have a great one!

  26. Image for Erin Erin

    1) One husband, six children, one dog & two cats...still wondering how I am supposed to have all of (or any!) the answers. 2) This plate rack will be somewhere in my house soon!

  27. Image for Anne Anne

    That is the coolest prettiest plate rack I have ever seen!!! You truly amaze me with your style! I had a teacher that fits that description.Scary I know.But as a child I thought she looked like a princess with her long red hair,false eyelashes,blue eye shadow and long fake nails ! xx Anne

  28. Image for Judy Judy

    Karianne, You are downright clever!! This is the most inspirational project I've seen in a long time. See what you can accomplish when you don't become a stuffy old grown-up. Forget that salamander, wear that crown yourself. Absolutely love it..Happy Monday..Judy

  29. Image for christina christina

    I love your plate rack. I am going to have to clear off a wall. I will never be a grown up. (As I type this the old ToysRUs theme is running through my head). A husband, 2 kids, and a zoo later and I am often the one who is most kid-like. It keeps things interesting.

  30. Image for kathy h kathy h

    Love it! I think I am going to make a version of this for my son's books. I love the basket! May I ask where you got it?

  31. Image for Lizz Lizz

    Hon I got 3 grown sons and I still watch The Partridge Family every weekday afternoon ;) Luv the wall and thanks for sharing its beautiful.

  32. Image for Patti Patti

    This is super duper cool! I love the pop the recipe behind gives it, as well as the pieces in front. If this is what you are coming up with, I hope you never grow up!!! Amazing. Hugs, Patti

  33. Image for Joell Joell

    Please, please, please write a book!! I would totally buy it! You make such a simple topic so enjoyable! I always smile when I read your posts! Thank you!!

  34. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    This is one of my most favorite things in your house...besides the bedrooms, and the living room and the kitchen....and the art house....and the....

  35. Image for Sarah@20 State Sarah@20 State

    I remember being about 6, swinging away on a backyard swing, talking to my younger sister and making up a grown up wish list. Mine inlcuded a wardrobe, bookcase and garden of my own. This was 24 years pre mortagage, renovations and discovering a fear of power tools. My grown up wish list has been completed but luckily, I still feel like a kid (with debt and stuff to do). Maybe I need a swing set...

  36. Image for Bonnie @ Uncommon Bonnie @ Uncommon be grownup...a wish of all preteen and teens... now I wish I could take naps and eat mountains of pop tarts { of which I was not allowed to have as a child ;) }. Loverly plate rack wall sweet Kari!

  37. Image for Jane F Jane F

    We love plateracks and yours is unique. Have never seen the graphic element in back before and I love, love it. So unique and so great to have the tutorial. Also, spectacular use of that wall. Brava! Dropping by from BNOP, Jane

  38. Image for jessica Ibarguen jessica Ibarguen

    I know right!! my Niece called me a "grown up" a few years ago and I was like, "what? me?" and looked over my shoulder. I'm 37, have three kids, a husband and a house. . . . Its taking a while for reality to set in. BTW. I love your blog! I don't know how you find the time! I'm thinking your husband and brother are helpful and handy... that's what I tell myself. Don't burst my bubble!! :) What kind of paint did you use on this plate rack btw. Brand and type? I've been having issues with thickness and brush strokes on kitchen cabinets and beadboard. I used Rustoleum and Olympic. If you get around to it. . no worries if not! Thanks!!!

Comments are closed.