Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DIY Towel Rail Look for Less

It's finally time for our next Look For Less Design Challenge! Several other bloggers and I have taken the challenge is to find a designer inspired piece and recreate it for less money.

Check out my DIY Panel Headboard from last round, or our West Elm Inspired Floor Mirror from the first round.

Look for Less Design Challenge
This time around, I wanted something smaller scale since we're in the process of finishing up our remodel. Every hour spent away from the remodel means an hour longer until completion. We're so close to being done!

I fell in love with this Threshold Hook Rail from Target, but wasn't loving the stain and style of wood.

Threshold Hook Rail

While this isn't exactly a "designer" piece, I knew I could DIY this in a dark Ebony stain that would match our new Master Bathroom's color palette. So a quick 30 minutes later, I have my very own DIY'ed Towel Rail.

DIY Towel Rail

Since we're deep into our Master Suite Remodel, we've got plenty of scrap wood laying around. I had Justin cut a piece of pine down to 24"x4"and sanded it nice and smooth for me.

DIY Towel Rail Materials

With the prepped piece of pine, I prepped the wood with Wood Conditioner. I've seen on other blogs that wood conditioner makes all the difference in the appearance of the stain, both in even coverage and the deepness of the color. I wanted this to be as dark as it could be without hiding the beautiful woodgrain, so Wood Conditioner was a no brainer.

After allowing the conditioner to dry, I put on two coats of Ebony stain (which we already had around the house), wiping off the excess after 5-10 minutes of dry time.

DIY Towel Rail Stain

With the wood fully stained and dry, apply 2-3 coats of Poly to protect the wood & stain against the elements. I applied 3 coats, allowing dry time between each coat.

Note: Many stains come in a Stain + Poly in-one option, however my ebony was not one of those options. If possible, I'd recommend using the two-in-one for time savings. 

DIY Towel Rail Stained Pine

The last step to prep the piece of wood was to lightly sand the piece smooth as the Poly can often leave a texture. I used a fine sanding sponge to do this.

DIY Towel Rail Sanding

Then it came time for my perfectionist husband to step in. I definitely could have done this part myself, but I'm the complete opposite of a perfectionist and have no time for details. So to make sure the towel hooks went on straight, Justin happily took the lead.

First step was to map out where my four towel hooks would go. Justin put down a piece of blue painters tape so he could see the lines he marked. We centered the towel hooks every 4", and centered them between the top & bottom of the piece of wood.

DIY Towel Rail Measurements

Here's a quick sneak peek to show you how we measured out the hooks.

Towel Hook Dimensions

Next up was pre-drilling the holes. using a self-centering bit on your drill. Justin pre-drilled the holes to ensure that the wood doesn't splinter around the hole. We used the hooks during this pre-drilling phase (see below) to ensure our spacing was accurate for the hole on each side of the hook.

Drilling Holes on DIY Towel Rail

With the screw holes pre-drilled and ready to go, we removed the blue painters tape and hung it on the wall using toggle bolts and a screw on each side. By doing this, the towel hooks (which will be attached next) will hide these screw holes.

Hanging Rail

And lastly it's time to install the towel hooks. These are as easy as screwing them into the pre-drilled holes that you prepped earlier. Double checking that they're all straight. And gazing at them adoringly.

Installing Hooks on DIY Towel Rail

And there you have it.

We purchased these towel hooks from our local Target store for $4.99 each. They're not available online, so I'm not able to link through - but they're in the organization area of the store.

This entire project cost us $20 and about an hour excluding dry time. So while it's not a ton less than the original Threshold version for $29.99, it is in the exact color I was hoping and the dimensions that fit our new bathroom. I love it!

DIY Chair Rail Hung
DIY Towel Rail in Master Bathroom

Looking for more DIY inspiration? Check out these five other amazing Look for Less projects from the rest of the team!

Note: Just click on the photos below to be directed to these other Look for Less projects.

Image Map

Linking up to: Make it Pretty Monday, Motivate Me MondayMonday Funday, That DIY Party, Tuesdays at Our Home, Remodelaholic, Time to SparkleWork It Wednesday, Simply Create Thursdays, Sunday Best, Inspire Me Please Creativity Unleashed, The Humble Brag, Friday Flash Blog, Lovely Ladies LinkyWow Us Wednesday,  Making Monday, Before and Afters, Wow Me Wednesday,  Inspiration Gallery,  Feathered Nest Friday,  The Party Bunch, Link it or Lump it,  Frugal Crafty Home Party, It's a Party, Worthwhile Wednesday's, The Makers, Do Tell Tuesdays, Thursday Style


  1. So in love with the industrial look! That wood stain is gorgeous too!!


    1. There is nothing industrial about it. I am so sick of DIYers "playing designers".

  2. I'm going to try wood conditioner on my next staining project. It looks so sleek and gorgeous! And those towels....obsessed!

  3. LOVE it, and love those hooks! Your version is 100% better than the Target version! Great job!

  4. Genius. I love the hooks and LOVE your entire bathroom makeover. I have those towels too :)

  5. Looks great. I love those towels, the pattern on them is just perfect. I love forward to seeing your whole bathroom makeover. I'm working on one myself and each little step accomplished is so satisfying :)

  6. This is SO awesome! I have pretty much zero wood working skills so this looks like a fun beginners project for someone like myself :)

  7. Not only is your towel rack awesome, but I LOVE your towels! Pinned :)

  8. Love this! Those towels are pretty phenom too :)

  9. Great job! That knock off is definitely up to par to the real thing! Love the towels too...Nate Berkus?

  10. Your DIY version looks better actually and I looove your towels!!

  11. This turned out great! I need to make a towel rack for our master bathroom :) Pinned this for inspiration.

  12. Love this, turned out great. Featuring you this weekend at The Sunday Soiree. :)

  13. Hey lady, I just wanted to let you know I featured your diy towel rack on the Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a fabulous week!

  14. Love this so much! Featured it on our Link it or Lump it party this morning. Thanks for always linking up!

  15. Love this idea!! I would love to feature it on a blog post I'm planning on Small Bathroom Ideas. Would you mind if I used a photo and linked back to this post? Let me know.