How to make your own rolling dance bag with garment rack

After researching different dance bag options, I decided to attempt to make my own.

MAKE A DANCE BAG WITH RACK

I debated between a 26″ duffel and a 30″  I went with the 30″.  When all my stuff is in the bag, I still have a lot of extra room. So, it may have been overkill.  But, I do like that I can fold my garment bags once and have them fit perfectly.

The PVC and connectors cost $13.  The bag was $32, and the spray paint cost $3.  For a total cost of $48.  Compared to the cost of a dream duffel, I thought this was very reasonable.  It took me a grand total of about 15 minutes to put together (minus the spray paint)

I bought 2 10 foot pieces of 3/4″ PVC and 1 5 foot piece of 1/2″ PVC.

4 –  ½ to ¾ “L” fittings
2 –  ¾ “L” fittings
2 – ½ to ¾ “T” fittings
4 – ¾ straight connectors

 

You could do it all out of 3/4″, but I thought with the 1/2″ it would be easier to slide under the roller handle at the bottom of the duffel.

In the ¾” pipe:
3 – 21” pieces (top and 2 base pieces)
4 – 18” pieces (sides)
2 – 12” pieces (sides inside bag)

In the ½” pipe:
4 – 4” pieces

My husband cut the pipes with a table saw, but you can buy a PVC pipe cutter for around $10. One tip that I figured out too late.  After cutting each piece, but BEFORE bringing it inside, blow into the pipe.  Little shavings of plastic will stick inside the pipe when you cut it and will come out when you start taking apart and reassembling the rack!

I had to fight to get the pieces connected under there.  It may have been easier if the 3 21” pieces were a little shorter b/c the bottom of the bag had more give away from the corners.  But, once I got them together it fits great and is very secure.  Those pieces may also need to be resized based on the bag brand and where the wheel housings, etc are located.  I am right up against the wheels.

I was going to zip tie to the handle rails, but it’s in there so tight that I don’t think it’s necessary at all.

base of dance duffeldance duffle base cornerdance bag bottom

It also may have worked better if the 4” pieces were a tiny bit smaller.  I’d like to cut holes for the poles to go through so that I can zip the bottom piece.  The base pieces pull that bottom fabric really tight, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to zip it.

One thing that I did differently from others I’ve seen was to add this vertical piece inside the bag.  My thinking was to leave this piece connected, and then it will be easier to attach the poles while the costumes are still in the bag so that the connectors don’t get covered by the costumes, etc.

dance bag pvcdance duffel poles in bag

I got the duffel bag here: http://www.amazon.com/Rockland-Luggage-Rolling-Duffle%C2%A0Bag-Camouflage/dp/B003EZXP00

kryloncovermaxxwatermelonOnce I was done I painted the PVC with Krylon Covermaxx paint in Watermelon. I wanted to use Krylon Fusion for Plastic paint, but apparently the Watermelon is discountinued. The only pink in Fusion is Fairytale Pink which is very pale and did not match my bag. Due to time constraints, I did not sand the PVC or seal the paint.

homemadedanceduffeldancebackwithrackdancebagwithcostumerack

After our first competition last week, the paint is already chipping. I’m either going to try to sand the PVC and repaint, then seal. Or just cover the pipe with duct tape.
kryloncovermaxxonpvc

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55 thoughts on “How to make your own rolling dance bag with garment rack

  1. Thank you for this wonderful idea! we are working on this for my daughter; I was wondering where you found the matching print hanging bag with the zippers? Not sure what it’s called. Thanks!

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  2. Thank u so much for posting this. I so cannot afford the dream duffel 😦
    Ordered rolling duffel and my project will start next Fri.
    Where did u get the mirror hanging on rack? Or what is it called? I’ve googled but can’t find it 😦
    Thank u again. U Rock!!

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    • The hanging mirror was also an Amazon purchase. http://www.amazon.com/Umbra-023268-660-Hanger-Mirror-White/dp/B00HY8GSHK/ I was so excited about it although I have to be honest and say that we never actually used it. But, your mileage may vary. There were always large mirrors in our dressing rooms. Maybe we’ll get some use out of it for the recital since I usually just get a spot backstage rather than in one of actual dressing rooms there.

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      • Do you have any idea how many costumes u can fit into this bag?? And is there still room for shoes etc…..? I saw they made a 40inch bag as well but then I would have to figure out all the measurements. Love this idea!!!

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    • Thank u so much for posting this DIY 😊
      We are done and it came out fabulous!! I wish I could post pic but i don’t know how to do it on this site.
      Thank u again

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  3. Going out to find a duffel today. Although your measurements might vary a little from ours, I like how straightforward you’ve made this project seem. And thanks for including “what I would do differently” tips. Those will prove helpful, I’m sure! Your pictures are great and leave no question unanswered. THANKS!

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  4. When you used your bag with your costumes hung on it, was it wobbly?
    We have the medium dream duffle and we have a lot of costumes that we hang during a comp and it can get wobbly. Just checking about putting in different bars.

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    • It was a little wobbly when the bag was empty. It did better if there was still stuff in the bottom of the bag to weigh it down. I think that’s just from being top heavy. I considered putting a second row of bars in it. So that the base was more like a rectangular cube with extra support along the top of the bag rather than a 2D rectangle just at the bottom. But, I never did do that, so I’m not sure how much it would help.

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  5. You may wish to try an epoxy-based paint. You do NOT want to spill any of that paint anywhere, though. Use a thick drop cloth, gloves, and a brush that you don’t mind throwing away, afterwards. You’ll have to use MEK (methylethyl ketone) to clean up any drips, right away. Epoxy paint adheres to anything, and is super durable, once dry.

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    • We got a tip from a Steampunk panel, spray your PVC with spray on adhesive first and let it dry. I works rather well they said. I’ve used hairspray on surfaces that markers don’t write well on and it makes all the difference. You might try that.

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  6. Or, if you prefer to use spray paint, you can use either Plasti Dip or Flexidip. I am modifying the PVC frameout. I will post what I did when I am done.

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    • The bags are the 5 pocket short bags from http://www.starkitz.com/ They were a perfect length for the rack and when folded over once, fit perfectly in the duffel. They held up really well over the year and I LOVED having the pockets, but they arrived with some permanent marks in the plastic from being folded into a small envelope for shipping. I’ve never had another brand of bag, so I’m not able to compare.

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  7. I’m confused about where you put the base. Is it on the OUTSIDE of the bag?? And you tried to close the bottom of the bag on top of the base, and around the poles? How did you end up closing that up?

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    • The base is inside the bag. Inside the bottom liner that unzips to reveal the telescoping handle and wheel housings. I never did anything further to make the liner zip. I left it as you see here. I’d like to try to modify it so that the liner zips with just holes cut for the side pieces to come up out of. I didn’t glue the PVC base together, but would like to do that also. It worked fine at competition, but for the revue one of them popped out and it’s so tight down there that I had a very hard time getting it back together on the fly. Plus I still haven’t repainted it. First comp in a little over a month, so I guess I need to get to it!

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  8. I’m a long time dance mom who still has a few years to go:) and have been using rolling garment rack and rolling hard shell trunk the last 2 years. One of the things I love about the rack is that it has a shelf above the rack and bar extension on both ends. I’m very interested in what you have shown and would like to change the elbow fittings at the top to a T fitting so that 2 more straight PVC pieces could extend the hanging space on either side. Worried about top-heaviness though. Could try framing a cube from the base, then go up from the center ends once it’s cleared the bag, that might make it more stable. I’m definitely going to plan something out and give it a go! Thanks so much for all the tips in making an expensive activity less expensive!

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    • I think it really depends how much weight you’d hang from those side pieces. I think you’d definitely need to glue those pieces into the “T” since there’d be weight on them with no support on the other side. I’d love to add a hook or something to mine to put the garment bag that I’m currently using and having it hanging from the side as I zip/unzip and retrieve/pick-up things. Not sure how I’d like to do it though.

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  9. I just put mine together and it looks awesome. Bought the 30″ rolling duffle, ordered it on line at walmart, picked it up at my local location. My husband cut the PVC, it went together like a charm! Thank you for posting this wonderful solution to the expensive Dream Duffle.

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  10. Have you tried using an adjustable elbow fitting so she doesn’t have to reconstruct the garment frame each time? Wondering about how feasible that is.

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  11. I made my rolling rack and I love how it looks but it is extremely difficult to take apart. The poles stick together so tight. Is anyone having the same problem?

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  12. Oh wow, I’m so excited! I have prepared the PVC pipes and connectors and the bag arrived yday, I got the zebra print and it is a really nice size bag. I’m thinking of crafting a false bottom, to lay over the zipper portion, I’m going to glue some cardboard together and cover it w/a shower curtain liner. I used the Krylon Fusion, two coats, so I’m wondering how good it will hold up to the hangers and whatnot. I showed the pic of this to a DIY’er that I know and he mentioned getting the shower curtain rod cover, you know the plastic thing that can give your rod a different color, and putting that over the PVC pipe where the hangers go to protect it.

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    • I used the Krylon Fusion and it didn’t last any longer than the CoverMaxx paint you used. I’m going to try staining it using the Clear Cleaner and RIT liquid; I want a pink stain and the petroleum dye for sale on eBay only comes in a red. Also the double coat of paint made it much harder to fit the pieces together easily, and taking it a loose was hard also. I even rubbed the pipes w/oil as was suggested to me and it was still a struggle. Other than that it was definitely a lifesaver at the competition this past weekend. Oh and I couldn’t find a cheap black shower curtain liner so I ended up the fabric that lining is made from and it worked perfectly. Now I’m going to make some sort of cover for the pipes that get taken a part and stowed for greater ease. Once again thanks for this DIY project, it is awesome!

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  13. Thanks for posting these instructions! I made one for my daughter from my grandmothers suitcase! Now she has a piece of her at the recital and the competitions.

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  14. I made a whole dressing room out of pvc pipe. on the front pole that isnt covered with fabric, i added a ribbon of gemstones. it looks beautiful with my daughters dressing room stuff.

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  15. Thanks for sharing! Just made my daughter one for her recital this weekend. I used 3/4″ for everything and while it was a very tight fit under the handle pieces it seems to be very sturdy.

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  16. For stuck pipes try twisting and pulling. Also sand the pipe ends a bit. Makes them slightly smaller for a easier fit. The stores have a PVC cutter. Like a pair of garden shears. Works great no mess. Going to finish building mine tonite.

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  17. Thank you! I have a son and there are very few bags catered to him. We have to settle for very plain ones. I plan to combine his love of dance and zombies and make him a black one with a Sheriff patch on the side like the one Rick Grimes used in the First Season of the Walking Dead. I can’t wait!

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  18. Thank you for sharing this idea!!!! This year is my 1st year needing a duffel bag for costumes & this is such an inexpensive way to make it. I’m excited to save money over the dream duffel bags – which I’ve heard sometimes have mechanical problems.
    I have one question – how did you attach / secure the bottom frame to the bag? I see a “greenish board”. Is that a part of the bag? Also did you attach it with glue? Tape? If yes, which adhesive? Also I see to black straps running across the bottom frame. Are these part of the bag? Again I’m not sure if these are securing the bottom frame. If so, won’t that be wobbly when assembled & when costumes are hung? Please advise !! I’d truely appreciate anyone’s answers. Thanks in advance!

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  19. I am very excited to try this. Just purchased the duffel bag I got the same brand just the cheetah print instead. My daughter is in dance and is now starting competitions and I was researching about bags with a garment bag and was blown away at how expensive they are and hoping that this a affordable solution for me. I will let you know how it works out.

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  20. Love this! I made it for my daughter, now all the girls at her studio want one. Most of the other girls use the large thirty-one totes and I made one for her friend. It works even better int he thirty-one tote (wish it was on wheels). One thing I added: I used elastic cord to string through the pvc like tent poles, so when she puts it up she doesn’t have to find the right pieces. Also wish I had gotten a bigger bag, I bought a 22″ bag because she has to go up and then down stairs to get into the theater and I was worried anything bigger would be too heavy for her to pick up. I couldn’t figure out how to post a picture, but this is a link to the pic of our bag. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/10_ugo7sObHUP8OyElg2ZIm1IivzbgdomMS93LlnAtPzTD7QbyflBhUrKkhvCbY6DUBZWxdujfLBSDydcKudignvA1h-8OYFwP214ha8YDJPZu8KrATNPiu-nVd1gh-siKDKYl6GV07FRudyaSyGqOlzndsthO1kXu-AlokBzAdzY5DmW_6nHzPYy5QFT3xMmvJVx6RO5R8sw7ve42b2QkhpqCfdYQ4xe1t0xAYUY26Ar55xKeZXsGsHgjxuzbEgs9-jgFCxCHjXw_tyC2z4_EgWpFVOiDKtrP7cl5-5EnZE-Eg3noIUSN8IwuOumTkRM9c_2GHmPjCI_xsEe33MDYdLAcpqEcHo2y36IJPWQ4DgVwTCf-lk1MMtJhauIzE2nul6Y4blUf61eq2B_sva6c4qbCgtk0fZWqrnbAlQiXqhWdECZulH0shHSH82e48VcMvQA8GE_rWJz88IJIHRBnXNnhPCW5L_n0sDqroMscFg6d39LTPfJTazzuEAfxIYLzmoYcPQ2Gk1E6hf081Xpz6mdstuZJUWMhhv8TLbBtDc6UBK8ff5YwXX35donLJJwYQeejij2LSvAxGiQycC6P7TP_zoCPfVo5T-EbztFGDaHaBjHDlT=w359-h638-no

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