Though they’re nothing more than long, cylindrical pegs, wooden dowels can be used to make furniture and home accents of surprising complexity and disarming beauty. Sold at any hardware store—in widths from 1/4 inch to 2-1/2 inches and lengths from 12 inches to 72 inches—these staples are dirt cheap, considering how valuable they can be in all types of DIY projects. So buy a bundle, then get to work this weekend. Pursue your own idea or adapt a design from one of the five highlighted dowel projects below!
1. CREATE A COAT RACK
We love the approach Danish furniture makers We Do Wood took with their coat rack, pictured here. With nothing more than some boards and a set of dowels, you can make something similar: Drill a series of holes into a reclaimed wood board, then slot pegs into some of the holes. This flexible storage solution is clearly influenced by—but a lot more attractive than—pegboard.
2. RIG UP A WREATH
Here’s a way to craft a wreath that will last much longer than evergreen boughs. Cut dowels of varying diameters into 2-inch-long pieces. Glue them together in a circle. Stain or paint the assembly, or leave it unfinished for a more natural look. No matter what finish you end up choosing, the wreath is sure to look most welcoming.
3. HACK A WINE RACK
To make a wine rack like this one, you need only a salvaged wood board and a handful of dowels. First, drill holes in the board to accept the dowels, making sure that their spacing leaves room for wine bottles of different sizes. Then mount the unit or stand it up with an A-frame support structure of scrap wood and twine.
4. STORE DISHES
Install pegboard on the bottom of a deep kitchen drawer, then fit dowels into its perforations. Now you can stack bowls and plates in the drawer, and the dowels will keep your dishware securely in place. When and if your storage needs change, you can easily modify the arrangement to host a different set of items.
5. CAMP STOOL
The advantage of a camp chair is that once folded up, it can go anywhere with you. And for no more than $25, you can use a few hardwood dowels to make a stool that looks better than any design you could buy in a typical store. Join the dowels with simple hardware, and make the seat with leather or heavy canvas. Wow!