Antique Door Knob Towel Holder | i should be mopping the floor
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Antique Door Knob Towel Holder

This Antique Door Knob Towel Holder is a part of our bathroom makeover sponsored by Lowe's. All opinions and ideas are my own.

We are nearing the finish line of our bathroom makeover (yippee!). This Antique Door Knob Towel Holder is one of the projects that I have been planning for this space for some time. I'm really thrilled with how it turned out (it has some serious sentimental value, too). I have complete instructions on how you can make your own Antique Door Knob Towel Holder below.

Antique Door Knob Towel Holder
It's been a hot minute since my dad has been able to help me with projects here on the blog. Now that he's living with us, he's literally asking me for things to do on the daily. I've had this door knob towel rack on the brain for years, y'all. I just couldn't figure out how to actually attach the knobs to a board without damaging them with some kind of epoxy. But, leave it to my dad to engineer this entire thing within a matter of minutes. Genius. I've had him help me tell you how we did this one below.

Antique Door Knob Towel Holder

Here's the coolest part about our new door knob towel rack: all of the knobs were from my great grandparents' home in San Antonio, Texas. I've moved them umpteen times in the last 18 years since acquiring them after my uncle passed away. And I've always had this idea in the back of my use them for a towel rack. But, it never came to fruition until now. Quite frankly, we *probably* have never had a bathroom that I deemed worthy enough until this very moment. And, well, I also had the perfect spot. 
Coral Bathroom
When we first moved in, I would gaze at the peeling wallpaper and know that one day, this wall would be much prettier. I'm kind of giddy that it really is now. Much, much prettier. And I think this door knob towel rack has everything to do with that. Prettiness to the max, y'all.

Antique Door Knob Towel Rack
Today, I'm sharing how this entire Antique Door Knob Towel Holder can be put together. I am doing a complete tour of this space later this month, but now that this rack is in place, I just had to show you. 

Vintage Door Knobs
As I mentioned above, we started out with all of these pretty door knobs from my great grandparents' home. My parents sold that home to a flipper who told us to remove any hardware we wanted...cue 21-year-old me firing up the drill to take these bad boys with her. I've loved vintage stuff for a lonnnnnnng time.

If you can't get your hands on some vintage door knobs, I found these gorgeous reproduction glass ones here on the Lowe's website. 

Creating an Antique Door Knob Towel Holder

The basics here are attaching door knobs to one side of a board. Door knobs are usually attached to another door knob, so they'll need to be reconfigured a bit to use them in this manner and attach them to just one side of a board. We also need to make sure the back of that board stays flat so it can attach to your wall easily. 

Towel Bar Supplies

Supplies for Door Knob Towel Rack

  • door knobs
  • board that fits your space (we used a 1x8 from Lowe's in their lumber department, then we cut it to the length of our wall and sanded it)
  • 3/8" flat washers (this was closest to the size of the openings in our door knobs' may need to tweak this based on the size of your door knobs). 
    • You will need two washers for every door knob you use.
  • 3/8" hex bolts (again, get these based on the size of your own door knobs and board)

Tap and Die Kit
The biggest thing you'll need for this project? A tap and die kit. This will allow you to add custom threading to your knobs and ensure they will be able to work with the bolts to attach them to your board. You can grab a tap and die kit here at Lowe's. Pictured above (and labeled below) are the pieces from our kit that we used.

  1. tap handle
  2. thread sizer (optional, it allows you to figure out what size tap you'll be using based on your bolt)
  3. tap (for threading)
  4. die with handle
  5. adjustable wrench (optional)

Rethreading Doorknobs

Reconfiguring Your Door Knobs

  • As you can see from above, the appropriate sized tap is inserted into the knob's shaft to cut threads (you'll need to make sure your tap is the right size as your bolt that will eventually be inserted in here). 
  • Simply insert the tap and then start to turn (it's a slllllow're actually cutting steel). We used the tap handle to turn it since it's very muscle-intensive. It can also be helpful to use a vice to help steady your knob while you work. 
  • Just keep working the tap until the knob is completely rethreaded in its shaft. Use caution: we did break one of our glass knobs when we had it in the vice by tightening the vice too tight (sniff, sniff).

Rethreading Bolts
  • Next, you'll use your die to clean the threads on the actual bolt to make sure they match up with the threads you put into the door knob. You're not rethreading the bolt, just cleaning it up. You can hold the bolt with the adjustable wrench to make it a bit easier, if you prefer (not pictured).

Wooden Towel Rack
  • A 3/8" hole was drilled for the actual bolt to be inserted into the wood piece we used (as pictured above). 
  • We countersunk it with a 1" hole (using a drill bit) so the head of the bolt is even with the surface of the board. We only did the countersink hole on the backside of the board that wouldn't show. The front is just the 3/8" hole. 
  • Next, we painted the board in our trim color and allowed it to dry overnight. 

Door Knob Towel Bar

Assembling Your Door Knob Towel Rack

  • Again, you'll need two washers per knob. A washer is used on both sides of the board so the knob doesn't tear up the board (it doesn't show that much and kind of makes for a cleaner finish, overall). 
  • Insert your bolt from the back and attach it on the front (pictured above and below).

Socket and Ratchet
  • We used a 9/16" socket and ratchet to tighten the bolt into the backside of the piece (using those countersunk holes). You can see above how countersinking the holes really helps out. The head of the bolt is now level with the surface, so when placed against the wall, the board lays flat. Again, you just need two different sized drill bits to do that part.

DIY Towel Rack
  • Once everything was attached, we simply found the studs and drilled the entire board into the wall from the front (no real rhyme or reason). We sank the screws in as far as we could, puttied the holes, and touched them up with the paint so it looks seamless. 
  • If you're using actual vintage doorknobs, you may want to spray them with a clear coat of varnish so they don't stain your towels. A wet towel and rusty knob sound like recipe for disaster, right?

I am really happy with how this turned out. The color we used in this space of the bathroom is Classic Coral from HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams at Lowe's.

Plate Wall
This entire bathroom has been fun to put together. You can see the addition of our plate wall above the towel holder in the above photo. See how I hung those plates without the old wire plate hangers.

Want to see the bathroom's 1970s before-renovation tour? Check that out here.

Looking for More DIY Bathroom Ideas?


  1. Oh my adorable! My main bathroom is in need of a new look. It's been updated with vanity, etc. I found what it needs! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much, Mona! I hope you enjoy yours when you get it done. xoxo

  2. It looks simply lovely!
    If you want towels that have loops to stay on the "hooks" try the Ikea ones. They come with the loops. Of course you could sew on loops, but I've been in my house for 9 years now and the Ikea towels have been in use for one year...before that we had towel puddles on the floor while we waited for me to add the loops. :)

    1. Hi Penelope! That's a great idea. I am always up for a trip to Ikea. ;) Thank you so much for your sweet words and stopping by.

  3. Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject! Best Hanging Towel Rack

    1. Hi Nency! I'm so glad you found the DIY towel rack post helpful! Thank you so much for stopping by! xoxo