Setting the dowels aside for a moment, it's time to secure the frame of the rack. Line up the 2x3s at either end of one of the 2x2s. Make sure that the dowel holes are facing the inside of the frame. Grab some scrap wood or some old books to place under the frame. That way when you predrill for the lag screws you can get a nice straight drill.
Start by drilling with the 3/16" bit. Switch to the 7/32" bit and go back through the same hole but only drilling through the first piece. This will allow your lag screw to slip easily through the 2x2 and grip firmly into the end of the 2x3 without creating a gap in between. Slip a washer on your lag screw and tighten it using a wrench.
We used lag screws for the aesthetic appeal, you can of course alternately use regular screws.
When you have one side of the frame attached top and bottom you'll want to insert your dowels and fit in the one remaining 2x2. Again, this is your time to make any adjustments necessary before finishing securing the frame.
Predrill and tighten the lag screws in the same manner that you did on the opposite side. This side will require more applied pressure during the process, and would be a good time to employ an extra set of hands or some clamps!
Gather your materials, and cut the materials to size. You can adjust the size of your magazine rack to meet your specific needs. We wanted ours to fit larger magazines so we made it a little oversized. We cut the 2x3 into two 17 inch pieces, and the 2x2 into two 43 ½ inch pieces. This length gave us six inch gaps between the dowels so that the magazine covers can be seen, a two and a half inch gap at the top, and a 12 inch gap at the bottom so that the magazine doesn't drag.
Cut three lengths of 18 inches from the 3/8 inch dowel and two from the ½ inch. If you drill the holes ¾ inch deep that will give you a half inch of wiggle room and also some space to cut it shorter if necessary.
Next it's time to measure for the dowel holes: you're going to make five marks on the 2x2 each six inches apart. Make the top mark five inches from the end. The last mark should end up 14 ½ inches from the other end. To ensure that all your marks are centered in the board, measure in sideways ¾ of an inch. Measure and mark the other 2x2.
Before you begin drilling tape off your bit ¾ of an inch from the point. This will help prevent drilling all the way through the 2x2. Drill the first, third, and fifth mark with the 3/8 inch drill bit and the second and fourth mark with the ½ inch. Repeat on the other 2x2.
Now is a good time to start fitting together the dowels and end pieces to make sure that all your measurements are accurate. Cut or drill as needed.
When everything fits remove the dowels, grab your sand paper and smooth out your drill holes. Any pieces sticking out can be tucked in to the hole and act as a shim to help hold the dowel snugly in place.
Attach the lag screws on one side of the rack, attaching one 2x2 to the 2x3s.
To make sure the dowels are secure, use a bit of wood glue before you fit them into the holes. We found that it was easiest to prop the rack on its side and insert the dowels vertically. You can then fit the other 2x2 side support onto the dowels.
Once the dowels are secured, you can attach the other side with the lag screws.
The final step is to treat the wood with Lifetime Wood Treatment. The nice thing about treating the rack with Lifetime is that it becomes weather resistant. You could definitely use this as a trellis in your garden for string peas or cherry tomatoes.
Look at that, your magazine rack is constructed! Now it's up to you whether you want to stain it, or leave it the way it is. We used Lifetime wood treatment as our preservative. This product is a really fun one! It creates a weathered look changing the color of your wood to a green or gray (depending on the type in question). This effect continues over time and with exposure to sun and rain. It's great for outdoor use, and because it's non-toxic can be used for garden beds. Our use is a little unusual, but we wanted to give it a try and see what kind of a weathered look we could get with a couple weeks outside.