Introduction: Make Handles for Cabinets and Dressers

About: Empowering women (and their husbands and boyfriends) one DIY project at a time -- We teach basic home maintenance and home improvement skills.

Whether your refinishing cabinets or dressers when its time to look for drawer pulls and knobs the cost of refinishing skyrockets. Let's face it. Handles are expensive! The average drawer pull depending on the size and type of material can range from $3 to $13. Normally the really nice ones are at least $6 a piece. These days you can make handles out of just about anything from rope to old toys to copper pipes. And truth be told I considered copper pipes, that is until I made a trip down to Lowe's and saw the cost of copper. A 1 foot 3/4" diameter pipe is $11! So I had to reevaluate my process. I'm going to show you how to get the look and feel of the expensive drawer pulls for a fraction of the cost.

Required Tools



Materials (Makes 3 - 2' drawer pulls)

2 - 0.875-in (7/8in) x 48-in Round Poplar Dowels (Side note: This can be done with dowels of any thickness just make sure the bell hangers are smaller in diameter to ensure a tight fit.)

6 - 3/4" Bell Hangers

Metallic Spray Paint ( I used Rust-Oleum Vintage Metallic Rose Gold)

6 - 1 1/4" construction screw

Step 1: Measure

First mark on the drawer where the holes will be drilled for the drawer pulls to ensure the pulls are installed evenly on each drawer.

Step 2: Cut

Cut the wood dowels down to 2' each. This can be done with a miter saw or a simple hand saw.

Step 3: Paint

Once the dowels are cut lay the pieces out and the bell hangers out on some plastic and spray evenly with your choice of metallic paint spray. For these I used Vintage Rose Gold by Rust-OLeum. Be sure to spray out in the open or in a space with good ventilation. Also I recommend wearing gloves. Spray paint can get messy.

Allow the pieces 20 minutes or so to dry. Spray paint dries quickly.

Step 4: Install the Hangers

Now install the bell hangers to the drawers using 1 1/4" construction screws. I like construction screws because it eliminates the need to pre-drill holes.

Unclamp the bell hanger and place the dowel in the center. It works best when the bell hangers close vertically like shown in the picture.

Step 5: Attach Dowels

The dowel will extend evenly on each side of the bell hang. In this case the dowel extends 4 inches on either side of the bell hanger. Make sure the sides are even before tightening the screws to secure the dowel.
A carpenter's square is helpful in ensuring the dowels are all installed evenly from drawer to drawer. In addition, I used a small piece of wood (1x2) to further ensure the handles are lined up perfectly.

Once its all installed you are done.

Step 6: Dress It Up and Show It Off!

This can be done on any piece of furniture or cabinets. Using chrome or stainless steel metallic paint can give the look of sleek expensive door pulls on cabinets. No one would ever be the wiser.

You achieved the look for less.

Head over to ToolBox Divas for more information on this and to Check out the complete dresser transformation.

Crafting 101

Participated in the
Crafting 101