Make a Bathroom Shelf With Built-In Towel Rod

Whether it's used for decoration or purpose, this shelf will be the star of your bathroom. We'll show you how it's done!

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In a tiny bathroom where you have to get creative with space, a shelf can stand in for a medicine cabinet. Attach a wood dowel between the two brackets and you get a built-in towel bar. Paint the shelf to match the walls, and perk up its edges with wood disks (called dowel plugs) glued along the front and sides. Suddenly, you have a custom-built shelf that serves multiple purposes. We show you how to get the job done in our helpful steps below.

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What You Need

  • Brackets (#KWF406; $6 each, Lowe's)
  • 1x8 board, cut to desired length
  • 5/8-inch dowel
  • 1-inch flathead dowel plugs ($1.68/bag, Lowe's)
  • Saw
  • Wood glue
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Electronic stud finder
  • Primer and paint
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrush

Step 1: Install Dowel

Cut shelf board. Measure and cut a wood dowel to a length that fits between the two brackets. Drill holes 1/2 inch deep into the shelf brackets with a drill bit that matches the dowel's diameter. Dab glue into holes and fit in dowel between the brackets.

Step 2: Adhere Wood Plugs

To adhere wood plugs along the shelf's front and side edges, dab glue onto one plug at a time, press to shelf edge, and hold for a few seconds until set.

Step 3: Attach Top and Finish

To join the brackets and top, place one shelf bracket against the underside of the board. Mark its position, factoring in the location of the wall stud you will be anchoring the shelf to. Drill bracket and board together, countersinking screw heads 1/8 inch. Fill holes with wood putty. Let dry. Sand residue. Prime and paint shelf. Anchor to wall following directions on previous page.

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