Thursday, July 28, 2016

DIY $3 Towel Holder

You know those towel bars that always come with homes?

I've always wondered why they make them the length they do.  I've measured them.  They run about 24" in length.

Two towels folded in half across their length is about 28".

What gives?

Why not just make towel rods 28"?

Anyway that is neither here nor their because I'm going to make one.  Since this is a do it yourself project I can make it any length I want.

Any guesses what size it'll be?  I'll give you three and the first two don't count.

DIY Towel Holder

NOTE: All boards listed are 8' unless otherwise noted.


2 -1x4s (I used furring strips that cost $1.86 each)

Choice of Stain


Wood Glue

Cut List

4 - Side Pieces @ 3.5" x 29"

2 - Towel Rods @ 1.5" x 29"

NOTE: If using furring strips then they may only be 3-3/8" wide instead of 3.5" like a normal 1x4.  This should not affect the outcome of the project as the side pieces will be ripped to width later in the project.  The towel rods should still be able to come from one 29" length board.

So don't try to make the side glue ups 7" because 6-3/4" will be just fine.  You'll understand why when you watch the video.

Cutting Diagram

Step 1

I tried to make the cutting as simple as possible.  All the board lengths are the same at 29".  So set up a stop block on a miter saw and make a few cuts.

Step 2

Take four of the boards and glue them in two's.

Step 3

Take the fifth board and rip it to 1.5" lengths on the table saw.

Step 4

Now I set up a round over bit in my router table and ran all four sides of both rods through to round over the corners.

Step 5

By this point the glue ups are probably ready to come out of the clamps.  Wood glue generally has a 30 minute setup time.

So I took them out of the clamps and made a few passes through my thickness planer to level any inconsistencies in the glued up joints.

Step 6

Measure and mark for the through dowel joints.  I measured 1" down from what would be the top of the sides.  Then 2" in from what would be the back of the sides.

For the bottom rod I measured 1" up from the bottom and 4-3/4" from the back of the sides.

Make sure you are measuring from the right side for each mark.  I marked the front of each of the sides with a pencil mark just to keep things straight.

This is where most mistakes will be made by beginners.

Trace the contour of the towel rods at the cross marks and then remove the material from the center.  You can do this by hand with a chisel or do what I did.  You can see my procedure in the video above.

Step 7

This step is optional I suppose.  I took the sides back to the router table and rounded over both edges of their fronts after rounding over the corners at the disc sander.  Again refer to the video.

Step 8

Assembly is easy by placing some wood glue at each of the slots for the rods and simply sliding the rods in place.

Final Thoughts

I used a finishing technique call Shou Sugi Bon and I've used this before in a previous project.  I did some research on the subject and put more information here if you want to check it out.

Basically I'm charring the wood's surface which acts as a preservative.  Then I sprayed on 5 coats of polyurethane for a smooth satin finish.

The mounting of the towel holder was done via a couple key holes routed into the backs of both sides.  Refer to the video once again.  Then I added some silicon caulk to seamlessly tie the project into the wall as well as add stability and keep it from being accidentally lifted off its key hole mounts.

Happy DIY'ing