A hanging food dehydrator can be made with a few items from the hardware store. Food dehydrators suspend food so air is able to pass by and carry away moisture. The hanging dehydrator relies on naturally heated air currents to slowly dry moist foods. Dehydrators can be hung up near the ceiling to catch warm air as it rises and falls. Build a basic hanging food dehydrator to inexpensively dry preserve foods in your home.

Things You'll Need

Remove the glass, backing and pictures from both frames. Frames of any size will work as long as the dimensions of both frames are identical. Remove any hanging hardware or nails from the wooden frames to leave them bare.

Stretch a sheet of aluminum screen over the flat backside of each frame. Pull the screens taught and staple them into position with the electric stapler. Apply each staple a ½-inch from the inner edge of the frame and two inches away from the last.

Spread the food in a single layer on one of the mounted screens. Lower the other screen down onto the foods to sandwich the frames together. Line up the edges of the frames and apply a clamp to the center of all four sides to hold them together.

Drive a screw-in hook straight down into each of the four corners of the dehydrator as it lays flat on a table. Tie cotton twine to all four hooks and connect the four pieces above the center of the sandwiched frames. Tie a strong knot or use a secure clamp to keep all four strings connected.

Mount a pulley up near the ceiling in a room that stays above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a stable ladder to secure the pulley. Run the cotton twine from the center of the four connected pieces and through the pulley.

Hoist the hanging dehydrator up to within a foot of the pulley. Tie the end of the cotton twine to a heavy stable object to keep the hanging dehydrator from coming down unexpectedly. Lower the dehydrator once a week to check the progress of the drying foods.

Remove the clamps from the sides of the frames. Extract the dried foods. Wipe down the screen with a clean cloth before refilling the dehydrator with new foods.


  • Dip sliced foods in lime juice to keep them from discoloring during the drying process.