Finding a good location to hang your towels in the bathroom could be a challenge, especially if you’re limited on wall space. But it makes it even more challenging if you have kids. If the towel bar is attached to drywall, eventually the bar might be ripped off the wall and you’ll end up with a big hole. Having this issue I decided to make my own DIY Wood Towel Holder Ring with a Shelf. This towel holder attaches directly to the stud and will take some effort to be ripped off and doesn’t take much wall space.
I made this project using scrap pieces that I had laying around in my scrap pile. If you have some scrap wood and interested in building something out of wood, this could be a great project to try. I created a step-by-step plan with 3D illustrations.
Time to Complete
Download Printable Plans in PDF
DIY Wood Towel Holder Ring with a Shelf PDF
This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.
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Tools for this project
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
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Step 1 – Draw Circles for the Shelf and the Towel Ring
First, start by drawing the outline shapes of a shelf and the towel holder ring. Take a compass and draw an 11″ diameter circle on a 1×12 board. Then take a construction square and draw a line in the center of the circle splitting it in half. The first half of the circle will be used for a shelf and the other side will be used as the railing on top of the shelf.
Again, take a compass and draw another smaller circle from the same base point as the 11″ circle. The smaller inner circle needs to be drawn at 9 3/4″ in diameter and only halfway on the railing side.
Now moving on to a towel holder ring, take a compass and draw an 8″ diameter circle. Then from the same base point, draw an inner 6″ diameter circle.
Step 2 – Cut the Shelf Board and Shelf Railing Piece
Clamp the 1×12 board to your workbench and using a jig saw cut out the 11″ circle. When using a jig saw, take your time to cut the circles as best as you can. You want to have the circle perfectly round without any zigzags. It will also save you time sanding the curve to make it look good.
Then using a miter saw cut the circle in half. Clamp the railing board to your workbench and cut out the inner 9 3/4″ circle with a jig saw.
Step 3 – Sand the Railing Board on the Inside
Before connecting the railing to the shelf board, take sandpaper and sand the inner circle to eliminate any rough edges. Hopefully, you took the time to cut a nice circle and don’t have to spend much time sanding. Sanding the outer edge of the railing will be done in the next step.
Step 4 – Connect Railing Piece to the Shelf Board
Once the inner edge of the railing boards looks good, attach it to the shelf board with wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails using a nail gun. The nails should go on the bottom of the shelf so that they are not visible.
Let the wood glue dry, then take a random orbital sander and sand the outer edge of the railing and the shelf board.
Step 5 – Cut the Towel Holder Ring
Now take the board with an 8″ circle you drew in step 1 and clamp it to your workbench. First, you’ll need to cut out the inner circle and then the outer.
Take a 3/8″ drill bit and drill a hole anywhere in the inner circle. Insert the jig saw blade inside the 3/8″ hole and cut out the inner circle. Then cut out the outer circle.
Using a random orbital sander, sand the outside of the ring. For the inside of the ring, use a small sandpaper sheet and sand it by hand.
Step 6 – Round Over the Edges of the Towel Ring
To eliminate the sharp edges of the towel ring, this could be accomplished with a wood router.
Take a rounding-over bit that has a 3/8″ radius curve and insert it into the wood router. Elevate the router so that the curve goes halfway to the edge. Before trimming the towel ring, test it on the scrap piece to make sure you have the correct curve elevation. Then run through the inner and outer edges on both sides of the ring.
Step 7 – Cut Shelf Support Board
Use the remaining wood to cut 2″ x 9 1/2″ piece with 45-degree miter cut on both ends, see picture. Use a table saw to cut 2″ x 9 1/2″ and then a miter saw to cut the 45-degree angles. This piece will go under the shelf board and will hold both the shelf board and the towel ring.
Step 8 – Make an Incision for the Leather Strap
This piece that goes under the shelf will need to have a thin opening in the middle for a leather strap to go in. This leather strap will loop around and hold the towel ring.
Find the center of the board and draw a rectangle that’s 1 1/2″ wide and 1/4″ tall. This rectangle needs to be about 3/4″ from the top. Then take a 1/8″ drill bit and drill several holes inside the rectangle as close to each other as you can to make an opening for a jig saw blade to go through. Once you insert the jig saw blade, cut out the rectangle.
The opening should be large enough for the leather strap to fit in. If you’re using a thicker fabric or leather, the opening might need to be slightly larger.
Step 9 – Trim 1/4″ Grove for the Leather Strap Ends
On the backside of the shelf support board, draw a 1 1/2″ x 1″ rectangle right under the incision for the leather strap. Then take a wood router with a straight bit and cut out the rectangle that is 1/4″ deep. This 1/4″ grove will be used for holding and hiding the leather strap ends.
Step 10 – Drill Pilot Holes and Pocket Holes on the Support Board
Take a 1/8″ drill bit and drill two pilot holes about 3/4″ apart from each other in the center of the 1/4″ grove cut out. These pilot holes will be used for attaching the shelf to the wall. The screws will go inside the pilot holes through the leather straps and into the stud of the wall.
Instead of nailing the support piece to the shelf board, a better option is to use pocket holes. The pocket holes will be against the wall and will not be visible like nails would. Take your Kreg Jig and set it for 3/4″ wood thickness. Then drill two pocket holes on the backside of this support board.
Step 11 – Attach the Support Board to the Shelf
Using a random orbital sander, sand the support board to eliminate any rough edges. Then attach it to the shelf board with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.
Step 12 – Stain the Shelf and the Towel Ring
Before staining the pieces, run through the boards with 350 grid sandpaper. Next, apply pre-stain and after 30 minutes, apply the stain. Then wipe off the stain with a clean shop paper towel.
Let the stain dry overnight and then apply a coat of polyurethane. Polyurethane seals and protects the wood. Lightly sand the boards again with a 350 grid and apply a second coat of polyurethane.
Step 13 – Connect the Towel Ring with a Leather Strap
Take a 1 1/2″ wide strip of a leather strap and cut it to 11″ in length. Wrap the leather strap over the towel ring and feed it into the incision of the support board. The ends of the strap will be placed inside the grove so that the support board and shelf will be flush with the wall.
Using a stud finder, find the stud you want to attach the towel holder to. Drive 2 1/2″ wood screws into the support board, through the leather straps, and into the wall. If a stud is not available then use drywall anchors to hold the screws. But it will hold stronger if you drive the screws into the studs. You are done with a DIY Wood Towel Holder Ring with a Shelf.