It can be hard to get going on DIY projects when all the nice things you want to make are done by DIY writers out there who have access to a woodworking library, metal shop, jewelry shop, textile lab, and then some. It’s even harder to be a DIY writer who does have access to those facilities but probably shouldn’t use them, because it’s not going to help the everyday person who doesn’t have fancy tools… especially when my own workspace at home is in post-move disarray!
While the temptation to exploit our wood shop was strong, this was a really rewarding project to do with a good set of basic, everyday hand tools at home. It took a little more time but was definitely worth it – the patience paid off and the results look pro!
– Two 4″x4″x4″ wood cubes (can be cut down from 4×4 posts at most hardware stores)
– 2″ wide foil tape
– 3″ dowel screw
– wood saw (preferably), coping saw, or mini hacksaw (pictured)
– bar clamp or vice
– sanding block with medium grit sandpaper
– powerdrill with 1/4″ drill bit
– craft knife
– a steady surface to clamp to!
Draw a 2.5″ circle in the center of one side of your block. This circle will lay flush to the door and cover the pre-drilled hole that exists in most doors, so make sure that you don’t saw into this part of the wood.
Clamp the block to a steady surface, making extra sure that it won’t shift around. Beginning at an angle, cut off the corners of the block. Keep hacking away corners at different angles. I found it’s best to cut off some corners and then cut off an edge here or there. Keep it random and try to make sure each facet has 4-6 sides (I found this number looked best).
Once you’re done and have a shape you like, sand down the sides of your block, softening the edges a little bit and going over any unseemly saw markings. Repeat Step 1 with the other block.
Decide which facets you’d most like to have the chrome look. I made my knobs half-and-half, so I covered all the facets on one side and let the pretty fir grain show on the other.
Lay out a nice, smooth piece of your foil tape, foil-side down, and place a facet that you’d like to cover face-down on the back of the tape. Trace around the edge of the facet, and, with your craft knife, carefully cut out the shape.
Center the foil shape over the facet and, as if you’re applying a Band-Aid, carefully pull the backing off while you smooth the adhesive side onto the wood. Cut off any overage with your craft knife. Using the sanding block, smooth down the edges, making sure to stroke in only one direction, away from the center of the foil shape, and using extra caution around the corners. Do this for each facet you’d like to cover.
Pre-drill a hole into the center of each circle you drew in Step 1, using the 1/4″ bit. You want the hole to be about 1/2″ deep. Take out the bit and set your dowel screw into your drill, as shown. Into one of the blocks, drill the dowel screw into the hole, and release the screw from the drill.
Screw the blocks together, sandwiching the door in between. Make sure it’s tight enough to stay in place. If the handle is loose or there’s a gap between the handle and door, re-drill your holes a little further into the blocks and try again.
I wanted to keep the wood’s natural finish, but for an added layer of protection, you can clear coat the handle in epoxy resin or clear lacquer. To keep the door shut, I set a cabinet magnet in the deadlatch hole and hid it by siding the entire edge of the door with foil tape.
Tip: The first few steps of this DIY could also lend itself to making wall hooks or cabinet knobs!