If you have kids and your bathroom towel bar was ripped off the wall, you can make your own that should last a long time. Below is a tutorial on how to repair a drywall hole and make a new DIY wooden towel bar for the bathroom.
A towel bar is a good option if you have a lot of wall space near a tub or a shower. Towel bar allows a towel to dry without being bunched up, so it dries faster than a towel that might hang on a hook or a ring. By making your own towel bar, you have the option to make it as long or as short as you want.
You also might be interested in few of the bathroom projects that I’ve recently finished: DIY bathroom ceiling light fixture, bathroom mirror frame, and bathroom vanity top with epoxy resin.
Time to Complete
Tools for this project
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Cut the Boards for the DIY Wooden Towel Bar
Take 1×4 board and using a miter saw cut two board to 26″ in length and two pieces to 1 1/2″. Then sand the boards using a random orbital sander.
Step 2 – Assemble the Boards
Before attaching the boards, determine which side of the board will be the face and which on the back. You want to have the best looking side to be visible in front and the side with knobs or dents on the backside.
Attach the side pieces to the backside with wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails using a nail gun. Then attach the front side. Try not to use a lot of wood glue so that it does not come out from the sides. It’s harder to clean the excessive wood glue once the towel bar is assembled.
Step 3 – Stain the Boards
After the wood glue dries, use a random orbital sander to sand the towel bar with an 80 grit sand disc. You could also sand the edges to make them slightly rounded for the towel to be easily hung or removed. Then use 320 grit sandpaper to make the towel bar smooth.
Brush off the sawdust and apply a coat of pre-stain to prevent stain blotching. Then with a brush apply a coat of Espresso stain and wipe it off with a shop paper towel.
After the stain dries apply a coat of matte polyurethane. I usually apply a second coat the next day, but before the second coat, use a 320 grit sandpaper to go thru the towel bar. Then dust it off and apply a second coat of polyurethane. You will notice the difference in how smooth the second coat will be comparing to the first, simply because of sanding it with a 320 grit sandpaper.
Step 4 – Remove the Old Towel Bar From the Wall
To remove the old towel bar, usually there’s a set screw at the bottom of the bar that needs to be unscrewed. Once the screws are removed on both ends, lift up the bar and take it off from the anchor clip that’s attached to the wall. If the towel bar was ripped off from the wall then you don’t have to worry about unscrewing the drywall anchor. Otherwise, unscrew both the anchor clip and the drywall anchor that holds the screw.
Step 5 – Patch the Hole with a Drywall Mesh Tape
Usually, when the towel bar is ripped out from the wall, the drywall anchor pulls out a chunk of drywall and makes the drywall bulge out around the hole. Take the backside of the screwdriver then push back the bulged out drywall. Sometimes when pushing in the drywall it makes a hole larger, and that is fine as long as you don’t have a bump in the drywall, which will be visible once you paint over it.
Take a 2″ wide drywall mech tape and cut a 3″ long piece with scissors. The backside of the tape is adhesive, so tape it over the drywall hole. The drywall mech tape keeps the drywall mud from falling inside the hole.
Step 6 – Apply Drywall Mud Over the Mesh Tape
For a small drywall hole, using the All-Purpose Joint Compound works the best. Using a putty knife, take a small amount of all drywall mud and spread a thin layer over the mech tape. Make sure to cover the mesh tape completely so that it’s not visible. Let it dry and then apply a second layer making it as smooth as possible.
Step 7 – Spray Texture and Paint
Once the mud is completely dry, lightly sand the area to remove any high spots. Then take a drywall texture spray and spray over the affected area. The texture needs to be sprayed larger than the affected area to make a seamless transition. Using a wide putty knife, lightly run through the texture to match the texture to the rest of the wall. After the texture dries, lightly sand it with 320 grid sandpaper.
Brush off the dust and paint the wall with a paint roller.
Step 8 – Find the Studs
This wooden towel bar is wide enough to catch two studs when attaching to the wall. Usually, the studs are placed every 16″. You always want to attach to studs whenever possible. Attaching the towel bar to sheetrock most likely will come apart again especially if you have kids.
Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall. Mark on the wall and then transfer these marks to the towel bar. You want to make these marks with a pencil so that you could erase them later. Also, draw two horizontal marks using a level to make sure the towel bar you’re attaching is perfectly leveled. You don’t want the bar to be cockeyed.
Step 9 – Pre-Drill the Holes for Screws and Attach to Wall
Because the front board and the backboard of the towel bar are the same height the screws will need to be screwed at an angle. Use a scratch awl or a nail to make a dent in the wood at the location where the screws should go. Then pre-drill a hole at an angle using a 1/8″ drill bid. Hold the towel bar so that screw holes align with the mark for the studs. Use 2 1/2″ wood screws to secure the towel bar to the wall. You’re done with a DIY wooden towel bar.
5 thoughts on “How to Make and Install a DIY Wooden Towel Bar”
Very nice. Did you putty the screw heads, sand and stain?
Hi Jerry, I used finish nails with a nail gun and wood glue to assemble the towel bar. Then attached it to the wall with screws. Since the screws are on the inside, I just left them the way there are.
The towel bar turned out very nicely.
I have a question though. How do you deal with applying the polyurethane on one of the towel bar without leaving drip marks on the adjacent sides?
Hi Jamie, I try to brush off the drip marks before polyurethane cures, but if I missed a few spots, I use 350 grit sandpaper and sand it. Then apply a second coat and that usually fixes it.
You can also thin out with a mineral spirit, and wipe on, you will need a few extra coats but easier to control drips