DIY Towel Rack

Aside from the husband and I having a hard time getting motivated to paint and put all of our trim back up, getting the house back together post-renovation is moving along, and if you’ll remember, the name of the game for this renovation was Bye Bye Blah Builder’s Grade.  As most of you are aware, the only, and I mean only upside to builder’s grade is that it’s cheap.  Not thrifty.  CHEAP. So replacing all of that cheap stuff can add up.  That is, of course, unless you create custom on your own.

I was tired of the cheap, ugly, silver towel bar and hand towel ring that in addition to being ugly, was constantly falling off of the wall. Quality craftsmanship, what can I say?  You know I’m a sucker for some plain old, raw, beautifully-stained wood, so I decided to build a towel rack that pulled some natural wood elements into the bathroom and was also a bit more casual than the stuffy “do-not-touch towels,” which, with a three year old, always get touched and are never hanging straight anyway.

My new tile has me dreaming of a black + white + vintage floral bathroom with antique brass fixtures (still trying to bring the husband on board with the brass thing).  I found my hooks, which I’m totally in love with by the way, at Hobby Lobby. There’s something about the bottom part of the black one that just makes me want to kiss it!  Since the outside hooks weren’t going to be showing much under the hanging towels, I bought some less expensive brass ones for each end. 

To “build” the towel rack: Cut a 1×10 (you can buy them in 10 ft. lengths for about $8 at the hardware store) to your desired length.  I cut two pieces since I was creating both the hand towel and bath towel rack.  Then sand all of the edges to smooth them out.  I sanded a little bit extra to give it an old, worn feel.

Next, measure for where you want the hooks and MARK (with a pencil in the screw holes) where they would be going.  Don’t screw them in yet, because you’ll use longer screws to screw in the hooks AND secure it to the wall. In case you’re looking at this picture and wondering where Mod Podge and a fork come in, they don’t.  This is what three projects and my lunch going on at once looks like :D

Next I removed the old towel rack.  Do you know how to do that?  I didn’t, I had to call my dad.  On the underneath side of the towel bar, there is a little screw that you need to twist out and then just pull the towel bar off the wall.  It’s a tiny notch, so I used the end of a steak knife.

Once I knew where I wanted it to hang, I screwed it into the wall on both ends (about 3 inches in) and then also used the same long wood screws (1.5″ I believe) to attach the gold hooks, and they were long enough to go into the wall to make it a little more sturdy for those times that a certain 3 year old decides it’s also a jungle gym. The middle hook I just attached with some regular short screws because I felt like I had enough stability, but of course, you could use the long screws in the middle hook too. You’ll notice one of the screws in the wood at the right side. I don’t actually mind it since I’ve got sort of a raw look going on, but you could easily sink it in to the wood and cover it with some stainable wood filler.

For the hand towel rack, I only used the long screws through the hook to secure it to the wall.  It was sturdy enough that I didn’t need any extras in the sides.

Also important to note, when you’re using these longer screws be aware of where your electrical is!  Luckily I had this epiphany right before I was about to screw my hand towel rack in–could have been a “live and learn” minus the “living” part.  So, I used screws that were slightly shorter, but still long enough to go into the wall for the hand towel rack, since  somewhere in the small space of that wall lies the electrical for the light switch and outlet.

There’s a lot of work still to do (cabinet painting, mirror trim, light fixtures, door knobs…) but I can’t believe what a big difference just changing out my towel racks made! (Of course I forgot to take a before picture.)  And at about $15 for the entire project, it was cheaper than almost anything else I could have purchased and my favorite part: it’s totally my style because I made it.

If you want to see how I made the “BATH” letters, which quite frankly, I keep walking into the bathroom just to look at, you can head over and check out the tutorial at The Golden Sycamore.

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  1. says

    This is adorable!! We are getting ready to makeover our master bathroom and I plan to use reclaimed wood to make a DIY towel hook. After seeing your project, I’m even more assured that it will turn out fabulous! Great job!
    Jennifer @ Blissfully Ever After

  2. Anonymous says

    I am in love with the towels! Do you have a link you could share that might direct me where to find them? Thanks!

  3. says

    This turned out great! I, too, hate the silvery cheap thing hung in the wrong place. I am gonna use some old pallet wood to do this. AND, I totally need to make one for the downstairs bathroom where I did replace the ugly silver thing, and kids hung on it and so we walk to the kitchen to dry our hands. TOTALLY can’t wait to finish one!

  4. says

    Love it! Love the bath letters, went over to see the tutorial and I’m going to try this, too. Thanks for sharing all your know-how with us!


  5. michaelhardy59 says

    This towel rack looks fabulous in your bathroom, the thing which attracts me towards this rack is its hangers or hooks. They are really unique and quit interesting design. Also the text written by you looks fantastic. I am working in a company who makes pallet racking and shelving systems, so that’s why I have a great interest in racking systems

    • says

      I’m so sorry, I don’t. I found it at Hobby Lobby probably about two years ago. They may still have it though, I know that mine doesn’t change things out very often in that department ;)

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