Creative Things to Do with Dowels

Craving an easy, affordable DIY project? Turn basic dowels into pretty and practical home accents with these creative ideas.

Reed Effect

Vertical dowels, applied to the recessed areas of drawer fronts and cabinet doors, give a plain console a breezy, island-inspired vibe with reeded details. Pick a dowel diameter that best fits the depth of the recessed areas of your furniture (ours are 1/8 inch), and measure and cut the pieces to fit each area. Remove the drawers and doors from the cabinet and lay them on a flat surface. Coat the recessed area with wood glue, then press the dowels side by side into the wet glue. Wipe away any excess glue. Place heavy blocks of wood over the dowels to hold them in place as they dry. If desired, apply a protective coating of clear acrylic sealer.


Cutting Cure

Bundle and tape thin dowels together before cutting them with a miter saw. Use a wood block as a stop to prevent the middle dowels from moving.

Store More

A bookcase outfitted with dowel rods makes a handy and attractive gift-wrapping and crafts supplies station. Cut 3⁄4-inch-diameter dowel rods 1/8-inch shorter than the width of the cabinet interior, and support them from the side panels with shoulder hooks to keep wrapping paper and ribbon ready for dispensing and refilling.



Hardware Help

Drill pilot holes in the dowel and the cabinet using a bit that is the same diameter as your shoulder hook. Then insert the hooks into the holes.

Handy Hangup

Hang gift bags and scissors on 3-inch dowel lengths that have been screwed in from the outside of the bookcase with 1 1⁄2-inch self-countersinking wood screws. Conceal the screwheads with wood filler, then cover with paint.



Rods and Rows

Organize spools of thread by sliding them over dowels that have been inserted into holes drilled into a 1-inch-square dowel base. We used 1⁄4-inch-diameter dowels for the small spools and 5/16-inch-diameter dowels for the large ones. Use drill bits that are the same size as the dowel diameters for the holes and a rubber mallet to tap the rods into place. Leave the bases unattached so you can easily pull the organizers off the shelf when selecting thread.



Penchant for Pendants

Cut and nail square dowels together to form a box-shape base for this budget-friendly pendant. Lacelike decorative paper allows light to gently filter through the shade.

Light Box

A mini hanging light fixture (sold without the shade at home improvement stores) slips between two dowels and offers a polished result.




Round It Out

Round dowel segments turn a table with simple lines and a flat, wide top into a medley of texture. Using wood glue and a pin nailer, attach 3⁄4-inch-diameter dowel segments around the sides of the tabletop to make a raised border. (Add 1⁄2 inch to the thickness of the tabletop to determine the length of the dowel segments.) Cut 1⁄2-inch slices from dowels ranging in diameter from 1⁄2 inch to 2 inches; sand rough edges as needed. Starting with the largest dowels first and filling in gaps with smaller ones, arrange the slices on the tabletop like a puzzle and adhere them with wood glue. Use heavy books or wood blocks to hold the dowels in place while the glue dries. Sand the top to ensure a level surface, and spray with a coat of clear acrylic sealer. 


On a Limb

Turn a blank wall into a functional and fun space for hanging outdoor gear by stenciling a tree design and screwing pegs onto the branches and trunk. To make the peg-style hangers, cut a 2-inch-diameter dowel into 4-inch segments; paint and let dry. Using a 3/16-inch drill bit, drill pilot holes into one end of each peg and the desired places on the wall. Using pliers, screw one end of a 1⁄4×3 1⁄2-inch dowel screw into the dowel, and then screw the opposite end into the wall. If you're not drilling into studs, use drywall anchors for added support.


Got You Pegged

Dowel screws, also known as double-threaded screws, offer a simple way to secure pegs to the wall.

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