Saturday, April 9, 2011

Vintage Door Knob Shelf

Love vintage door knobs but are unsure of what you can do with them? Why not use them as "hooks" for hanging everyday items in a mudroom or aprons in a kitchen?

This tutorial will show you how to make a small wall shelf using vintage door knobs:

1. Build wooden base (any size you want) or use existing wooden shelf. Add 1/4 in thick tack strip on sides to give the bolts that will hold on the door knobs room behind the base once hung. 

2. We painted the wood shelf red first, then off white. Next we sanded some areas to "distress" the paint to expose a little of the red. 

3. Prep the antique door knobs: Most have a square bolt receiver, but some still have pre-cut threads, which you can match to a bolt. For those without threads (the grooves on the inside of the doorknob), you will to use a thread tap slightly larger than the diameter of the hole on the knob to cut the grooves. 
Make sure the tap is not too large or you can cut out too much metal and break the knob. Keep track of the tap sizes you use for each knob so you can match to the right bolt diameter. For a quick tutorial on thread tapping click here

4. Determine the bolt length you will need by measuring the thickness of your board/shelf and then adding about a 1/2 inch to that number. If your bolts are too long, you can add washers to the back of the bolt. Drill holes just big enough for the size of your bolts (ours were 1.5 inches) into the shelf, spaced evenly across. 

5. Thread knobs onto the bolts on the front of the shelf.

6. Attach the shelf to desired wall and enjoy! 

A fun yet functional piece of vintage wall art! 

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  1. This turned out so great! I have wanted to do something like this for a towel holder in our bathroom. I just love how yours looks & I'll have to get started on mine !! Thanks for the inspiration!!
    New follower! Looking forward to seeing more!

  2. Yay! I've always wanted to know how to do this, and now you've gone and given us a tutorial. Thanks, Megan! I am SO picking up doorknobs the next time I see them lying about at flea markets and such. I just never knew waht to do with them even though I've always found them to be so beautiful.

    Hey -- my husband and I had an interesting discussion about lilacs and outhouses tonight. Do you know anything about this?

  3. That looks beautiful! :) I love the glass one!

  4. Oh my goodness, I love this! When I move, I'm doing this (or convincing the soon-to-be-husband to do it!! kidding! I'll do it.)


    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Thanks everybody- I'm not gonna lie- I definitely had some help from the hubby on this one!

    Hi Trisha! Welcome and thanks for following :)

    Camille: Awesome! Let me know if you have questions because this project can be a little tricky. And I don't happen to know (for a fact) anything about Lilacs and outhouses--but my best guess would be that folks used to plant Lilac bushes near outhouses or privies because their strong fragrance might help to mask the unpleasant odor? Was this your thought too?

  6. This is very cute!

    I actually have been wanting to find a way to use old door knobs to hold back the curtains in our living room. When my mom was visiting recently and we were shopping at some antique stores in Raleigh (REAL antique stores, not boutiques or the kind where everything is way overpriced...), we saw some and were trying to figure out logistics... Using them to hold back curtains is a cute idea, but I'm not sure how to go about actually doing it! They would have to be pretty large (and the ones we saw were all too small), and then there would have to be a way to get them in the wall - and to stay in the wall! I'm still not sure, but I love the idea and hope to find a way! ;)

  7. That is very it.

  8. Megan -- awesome guess! My husband used to be a journalist and once did a story about this local guy who mapped out all of the old and decaying farmhouses in Frederick County, Maryland. The guy told my husband that when folks want to do an archaeological dig, they find the lilac bush, because next to it will be where all of the trash was once thrown. I was wondering if you had more info, because I thought it was so interesting!

  9. Love your blog! Awesome idea on the shelf - will definitely have to try it.

  10. Very sweet! A great way to re-purpose and anything vintage is a hit with me! Love your blog and I so agree...not is not always better, sometimes it doesn't even come close. : )

    Nice to meet you!

  11. This is a really great idea. My husband found a bunch of vintage doorknobs while renovating our powder room. I'm still trying to figure out how best to use them. This could be the answer!

  12. This is so cute! I come across so many cute doorknobs and don't know what to do with them -- this is great and such a practical piece!