There are certain items in a DIYers toolkit that seem to become staples over time. One of those items for me is dowel rods.
I love the versatility of dowel rods, and how they can provide solutions to many of our household problems. So, I thought I would compile a selection of some of my favorite ways to use dowel rods. I hope that it inspires some great DIY projects for you!
Dowel Rods in the Kitchen…
As many of you are aware, I have done several projects over the years to customize my own kitchen cabinets. I am “a place for everything and everything in its place” sort of person. Thankfully, dowel rods have gone a long way helping me out with this.
I used dowel rods to create my dish drawer organizer for my own dishes. In fact, using dowel rods is the most common method for creating a dish drawer organizer. I only caution you to do it the way that if you want it to last a long time, do it the way that the professionals do. You can find a sturdy, professional, technique on my post link above.
This is one of my personal favorites. I love the way the dishes are so nicely displayed. It really makes opening the drawers very pleasant. You know what I mean if you have ever gone from a cluttered mess to a refined and organized space. 😉
Dowels can also be used to create a nice sheet drawer. It’s a fairly simple DIY. The key is to stagger the top and a lower dowel to allow the sheets to lean. It does, however, require a deep drawer to work.
Dowel rods also work great when building a dish display. I like the ones that are recessed into a wall, but not everyone has a location or the skills to put one in the wall. But, if you want to see how to open up some space between your studs for this kind of project, be sure to check out my post on building and installing a medicine cabinet.
If you don’t have the space for an in-wall installation, you can always do a surface mounted rack. The good thing about a these is that you can place them in pantries, on doors or anywhere that you can find a place. Christy over at 11 Magnolia Lane has a simple DIY for building one.
If you don’t have the space for a large wall mounted rack, you can always convert a cabinet. One of my favorite DIYs is to convert the bottom half of a cabinet into a display shelf and plate rack combo. With a little bit of woodworking skill, the doors can be removed, and the interior finished to create a look such as this.
To duplicate this look, build a plate rack insert for the lower half of the cabinet. If the shelves are adjustable, you’ll need to make it stationary. I suggest removing the shelf from the cabinet and using a pocket hole jig on the bottom side. Re-insert the shelf and attach with pocket hole screws.
Next, build your plate rack to the size of the opening. Add beadboard to the back of the cabinet, then insert your rack. Paint and add trim as needed!
Now, let’s move on to the paper towels. Dowel rods are great for holding paper towels in a creative fashion. If you have an extra drawer, why not turn the space into a paper towel cubby. This technique requires removing the entire drawer and building an insert for the space.
If removing and boxing out a drawer space seems a little bit too much to handle, a drawer can always be converted as a pullout for the paper towels. In fact, this is much easier and will also preserve some storage space.
Hopefully, you have a drawer that is already the perfect width to hold a roll of paper towels. If not, you may have to do some creative thinking. However, all that is needed for this projects is a box insert. With this setup, extra rolls of towels fit behind the roll that is on the dowel.
Dowel rods can also be used to make a trivet. This is one contributed by my friend, Dale. I think it came out lovely! I understand that he went on to build several of these as gifts. What a great way to make use of your scrap wood!
Dowel Rods in the Laundry Room…
The most common use for a dowel is as a hanging rod. Because they are usually much cheaper than purchasing an actual rod, it is easy to throw one up between a couple of laundry cabinets for extra laundry space or to mount one to hold a curtain.
The trick to getting these mounted so that they will hold the weight is to first attach supports to either a stud or to the side of the cabinet box. You can use closet rod hardware for a hanging rod like this.
If you don’t have a drying rack in your laundry room, dowel rods can be used to build a very nice one. This is the type of drying rack that I like to build for laundry rooms. It is another in-wall installation, but you can always build this as a surface mount.
This project is a bit more in-depth than most of the others but well worth the time. You can create this by building a surround for your washer and dryer. Then, building two drying racks to the size of the machines. They are mounted inside the surround the same way drawers are mounted inside a cabinet box.
Dowel Rods in the Craft Room…
(Martha O’Hara Interiors)
After completing the makeover on my craft room, I have to say that I can appreciate a well-designed space. I love being able to display all of the materials that I have. I also love having things well organized and stored in a functional way. That’s why I built my slat wall system.
However, another one of my favorite projects is to add (or convert) a cabinet space into a wrapping station. I am in the process of making over my own laundry room and am converting a cabinet like this. I will be adding detailed instructions this DIY sometime in the near future. Stay tuned!
If you don’t have the cabinet space to sacrifice for wrapping paper, the same concept can be built into a very narrow frame that mounts to the wall. This way you can have an easily accessible wrapping station without losing any storage.
Dowel Rods in the Closet…
Closets are my obsession! When I look at a closet, any closet, I immediately start to rearrange things in my mind. I guess that is good since I do a lot of closet makeovers. Not so good, when I constantly nitpick over my own.
Throughout the years, I have written a TON of articles on closet storage and organization. By far, my most popular is tips and tricks for small closets, but you may have noticed a few other useful posts. From sloped closets to gorgeous drool-worthy closets, you can find it on this blog.
Now, I am taking it a step farther and showing some examples of how dowel rods can be used to create some functional spaces. I love finding ways to store clothes efficiently. And nothing pleases me more than offering some real closet storage solutions. These are just a few of my favorites.
Although not much of a scarf wearer myself, I love the storage space created here for scarf storage. This pull out has the standard peg holes that we normally see when we make adjustable shelves. However, instead of shelves, you just insert dowels into the holes.
This is a nice idea for storing ties. Instead of wasting space with a space filler, the designer took the opportunity to install a very narrow pull out drawer. It is just the right size to display the ties.
The tie hanger folds out to allow the ties to be placed on the rods. Then, it tucks back nicely into the compartment. Pretty nifty!
On this one, I’ll admit that it looks like it would be a hassle to get the bracelets out of this drawer, but I guess if one has this many bracelets what else is one to do? I actually thought this was beaded ribbons at first.
I guess this would actually make a good storage solution for ribbons, but at any rate, they decided to use it for storing bracelets. I still think that it is a unique use for dowels. Perhaps one that may appeal to someone.
Other Uses for Dowel Rods…
Convert the empty space beneath the mud bench into a shoe rack/ball holder. This is different from the traditional shoe shelves, and I am not sure that it would be easier to build. But it is more of a preference in taste.
I have seen wine rack walls like this several times, and I always think, “I could do that with some dowels.” So, I thought I would put the idea out there for any wine collectors. You can see that this wall has steel rods, but it’s easy to see how this can be recreated with dowels.
This is something that I like to do for home classrooms and offices, but it can work for any room. A few dowel rods and a wall map or two, and you have yourself a nice piece of wall art.
To get this to work the way shown above, the print must be glued to the wall-facing side of the dowels. Then, attach hardware or string to the dowels to hang.
Why not make an abacus? These are relatively easy to make, and they add a nice feature to a kids wall. You can use them as wall art, or put it on a stand and use it for a classroom.
The things that you can do with dowel rods are so numerous that I could never include all of them in one post. But, I thought these were a good place to start. If you have made something not included above, feel free to share it with us!
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