Recycle/Re-purpose Vintage Door Knobs…my labor of love

This project was a labor of love.  I don’t call it that because it was difficult or overly time consuming.  I call it that because I obsessed over the project for months and spent A LOT of time looking for the components to make this project just right.  I’d say it was worth the effort.

You may remember a previous post where I talked about how I found a vintage crystal door knob and then found myself on a mission to find more.  I wasn’t entirely sure of what I’d do with them, but I knew that I needed more.  After weeks of scouring thrift stores, Habitat re-stores, antique malls, CraigsList and eBay, I finally scored a box of knobs and back plates for $22.  I think there were 7 or 8 knobs, some lock mechanisms (that I re-sold), 3 antique back plates, and some Victorian door hinges.  It was a steal!! I ended up only using 4 knobs and 2 back plates–can’t wait to see what I make with the rest of the lot.

So I had the knobs.  I looked online for inspiration on what to do with them.  After a week or so, I decided I wanted to make some sort of hook configuration for Ella’s new bedroom.  I wanted to mount a mirror to the wall and put the hooks nearby so that she’d have a little area for her dress-up clothes.  Yes!  I had a plan!! 

So I had the knobs, but needed to figure out how I’d mount them.  I knew I wanted to use wood and I knew it had to be sturdy enough to hold the heavy knobs AND stand up to toddler abuse.  Once again, I spent 2 or 3 weekends looking for salvaged wood {because it would be too easy to buy a plank from Home Depot}.  I wasn’t overly impressed and was getting pretty discouraged.  I refused to pay good money for flimsy old pieces of driftwood and I didn’t want some generic thing from Hobby Lobby.  Then one snowy and cold Sunday, I took a drive to clear my head and ended up back at the Habitat Re-Store.  As I looked through their moldings and casings, I saw a bright light and heard angels singing.  They were leading me over to the left to the spindles.  I found the most perfect old bannisters that were flat on the back.  I paid $2 for them AND found another vintage brown porcelain door knob for $.25.  It was my day!  I finally had everything that I would need for the hooks, so I rushed home and started my project.
Here’s what I did…

First, I took the door knobs apart and cleaned them off.  I read this tutorial on how to make knobs into screw-able and mountable door pulls (sorry, those were the best words I could find!).  Basically, you fill the holes with epoxy resin, let set overnight, drill holes into the epoxy, and then put a hanger bolt in the hole.  Watch:

Next up, I got the wood prepped.  Originally, my spindles looked like 2 long planks and the middle portions were kind of rounded.  I didn’t really like that, so I had Derek use his saw and cut the spindles into 4 pieces.  I kept them visually pretty by keeping on all the decorative wood planing:

Then I headed back to my shop (the garage) and painted them.  I used the same color as we used for our interior doors and baseboard (Behr Swan Wing aka fancy white).

I did 2 coats.  After they dried, I affixed alligator saw hooks on the backs.  Easy!

Then we drilled holes into the wood and screwed in the knobs.  {Note:  if you do this, be SURE that the epoxy has set.  Some of my knobs had really long shafts and used a lot of epoxy that didn’t fully set.  The hanger bolts didn’t screw in perfectly and were spinning.  Derek had to re-affix them to the wood.  He’s such a good helper!}

I just love how these turned out.  I like the simple backdrop because they allow the vintage centerpieces to shine.

Of course these sat for a week as I looked for the perfect mirror.  I ended up finding a simple one at a thrift store yesterday for $12.  I didn’t even need to re-paint it.

And now the unveiling:


Ta da!!! You know, as I look at this picture, I think about all the stuff and how it was acquired.  I got that solid wood dresser on Craigslist for $60 and I replaced the knobs.  The Crate & Barrel alphabet toy was $2 at a kids re-sale store.  I found that ottoman at a thrift store for $6.  The Ikea shelf was $40 and I made that E thing for her hairbows.  And see the white 5″ baseboard?  I combed Craigslist for weeks and weeks.  I found a contractor with surplus and got enough trim for our upper level for less than $300.  We’re not poor and could buy all this stuff new, but it’s so much more ecologically savvy and budget friendly to recycle.

I have a couple more projects to get done in here before Ella moves in to her new room. I will be taking off the closet doors and replacing it with a curtain… stay tuned!

Happy Sunday Funday and go Broncos!

xoxo ~Marisa

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2 responses to “Recycle/Re-purpose Vintage Door Knobs…my labor of love

    • Thanks so much and glad you like them! Let me know if you need any help along the way. And thanks for reading!

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