DIY Curtain Rods – How to Make Dowel Curtain Rods

Back in the spring I shared my living room update and am just now getting around to sharing our dowel curtain rods from that room! We made these back in April; but I guess better late than never! I feel like I need to start off this post with a disclaimer that I don’t really follow “rules” for home decor; so I’m sure the hanging of my curtains break all kinds of rules – but this is what works for us, and I’m good with that! We’re just here to tell you how to make the dowel curtain rods, not to tell you the correct way to hang curtains. 😉

Even though I’m not super into (or observant of) window treatments, I thought it would help freshen up our space to change that up from what we had previously. I debated for a while on whether I wanted blinds or curtains, and in the end, stuck with curtains, mainly because we could do this for a whole lot cheaper! I wanted to stick with wood curtain rods, but could not find any out there that I liked, so we made our own.

This project is really simple if you have the right tools (a drill press). I think you could probably come up with another way to attach the dowel rods to the dowel brackets if you don’t have a drill press to make the cut out in the dowel bracket (maybe just screwing the two pieces together?). I’m really happy with how these dowel curtain rods turned out – simple, with a slightly modern touch, with the wood bringing a natural feel to it as well.

living room with gray couch round coffee table and white curtainswhite wall shelves with plants and wood dowel curtain rod Supplies:

– 1-1/8” dowels
– dowel screws
– drywall anchors
– mitre saw
– drill press
– drill and drill bits
– pliers
– sandpaper
– clear finish

wood dowel with screw attached


For the dowel brackets:

Cut two 3.5” pieces out of the 1-1/8” dowel.

Clamp the two 3.5” pieces together side by side. Using a drill press and a 1-1/8” forstner bit (if you’re using a 1-inch dowel, then use a 1-inch forstner bit), clamp the pieces to the table of the press, with a piece of scrap wood as a base so that the center of the drill bit is centered over the center of the two pieces and an inch back from the end. Slowly drill through the pieces which will leave you with a half circle on each piece.

Mark the center of the dowel on the other end from the half circle.

Drill a 3/16 inch hole 3/4” deep at the center mark. Use pliers to screw one end of the dowel screw into the dowel. Repeat with the other piece.

Sand and apply clear finish.

For the dowel rods:

The size of your windows, and how much overhang you’d like past your window frame, will determine the length of dowel you need for the rods. You can find long dowels online – like these, and then cut to size for the length of your windows. They sell shorter dowels in stores (like Home Depot & Lowes). I’m very particular about the wood color, so I wanted to pick mine out in person, so we bought 48” inch long dowels, and joined dowels together to get the right size for our larger windows. To do that, cut dowel to length you need. Find and mark the center of one end of the dowel. Drill a 3/16 inch hole one inch deep at the center mark. Use pliers to screw one end of the dowel screw into the dowel, then screw the other dowel onto that.

Sand and apply clear finish* to dowel rods.

We had our curtains on unfinished dowels to begin with, but I wanted to finish them so they wouldn’t change colors (unfinished wood will yellow & darken in sunlight over time). Once we finished them, it was so much easier for the curtains to slide, so I definitely recommend putting finish (or painting) on the dowels (2-3 coats is usually best).

To hang dowel brackets:

Measure and mark where you want to hang your curtains. Pre-screw the drywall anchor onto the screw (because the dowel screw is slightly bigger than the screw that comes with the drywall anchor). Drill a 5/16” hole in the wall where you want the bracket to go; install the drywall anchor. Screw the bracket into the drywall anchor. If brackets will be placed directly into studs, anchors are not needed. Drill a 3/16” hole into studs, and screw brackets into place.leather couch against white curtains with brown framed mirror on wallwhite wall shelves on wood brackets with plants white wall shelves on wood brackets with plants

You can see the full living room here, and sources are listed below!


DIY Projects: Coffee Table | Wood Shelf Brackets

Sources: Curtains | Sectional Couch | Leather Couch | Rug | Side Table | Sheepskin Throw (similar) | Floor Lamp

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