DIY Towel Rack

by Michelle Considine

Ever notice how towel hooks hung with drywall anchors rarely remain sturdy? Over the years (if not months) they loosen and then you have nasty holes to patch before you can move on to your next solution. Here’s an idea. What about an artistically weathered piece of wood that can easily be screwed into the wall studs?  The towel hooks can be easily screwed into the planks.  No fear of wobbly hooks on the horizon!

The weathered, textured pieces of wood in this bathroom are from Resource Central. The beauty of these pieces was hidden in remnants of paint, cobwebs, and dirt. No problem! I brushed off the dirt and webs, kept the lovely, weathered texture, and painted them.

In part, I chose to paint the boards because I didn’t want to worry about whether the old paint was lead-based or not. Even if these boards had lead-based paint on them, no lead-dust will fly off these because I painted them thoroughly and added a layer of clear, matte polyurethane. When drilling the new holes through these boards, I measured where the holes would go inside, but took them outside for drilling, wearing an N95 mask.

Shopping List

  • Weathered planks to suit your needs from the yard at Resource Central.
  • Wall hooks or interesting doodads that might serve as things to hang towels on.
  • Need screws? Pick some up at Resource Central!
  • Need a power screwdriver? A jigsaw? Borrow it from Resource’s Tool Library.
  • Need paint? Get FREE paint at Boulder County’s Hazardous Waste Management Facility.
  • Need a piece of art for your bathroom? If Resource Central doesn’t have something interesting to hang on the wall, the local thrift shops might have something that is just perfect. We’ve enjoyed this framed print which I found at ARC.
  • If you’re working with upcycled materials that might have lead-based paint, use appropriate precautions. If you might be working with lead-based paint, buy a lead testing kit at a hardware store. The Covid era N95 masks might be useful beyond Covid after all.  If you don’t test old paint, assume it is lead-based.

Bathroom One Grand Central Station has got nothing on this 3-doored bathroom. It gets you almost anywhere, miraculously, in a single step!  Alas, this article isn’t about the advantages of multiple bathroom doors, but rather reliable bathroom hooks. Mounted on beautifully weathered planks, it’s no miracle that these hooks are standing the test of time.

The more weathered and cracked the better! I used a slightly metallic, dark brown paint and added very subtle silver streaks while the brown paint was still wet. I added a coat of matte, clear polyurethane. The planks had holes before arriving at Resource Central. The old holes serve only to add character. I created new holes to put screws through such that my screws would go directly into wall studs.  I painted the screw heads so they aren’t noticeable. You can see them in some of the photos if you look carefully. I painted the planks before mounting them to the wall.  I also painted the screws after the planks were on the wall.

Bathroom Two This bathroom has poorer lighting, but if you can picture the walls as a light, warm, dove gray, your eyes will adjust! Here, we have a collage of weathered pieces of wood. I used scraps from a different project. Unlike the planks from Bathroom One, I simply cleaned these planks with a brush, and then “dry-bushed” a lichen green paint over the surface to bring out the texture of the saw and the weathering.  They had no paint on them when I obtained them from Resource Central.  In one of the photos, you can see that the wall stud runs down the center of the photo. See the screws in a vertical line.

Historical Note: This space was remodeled after the flooding of 2013. This basement filled with four feet of watery sewage which dramatically backed-up into our house. We sleep peacefully knowing that our basement is now protected by a back-flow valve.

From Scrap Wood to Bathroom Essential

Sometimes scraps are exactly what you need. Before you peruse the internet for cheap, plastic storage ideas give used DIYs a try. You can create exactly what you need!

Michelle Considine, long time enthusiast of Boulder’s Resource Central and, more recently, Art Parts, volunteers for these organizations with the intention of promoting reuse and creativity.  Aside from being an environmentalist and upcycling artist of many mediums, Michelle privately tutors high school math and physics in the Boulder area as well as online, hikes year-round, and loves time with her family and friends.