DIY Nautical Rope Hardware Tutorial
An Inexpensive Option for Drawer Pulls and Knobs
I'm so happy I was able to finish my Vintage Chifferobe with a very easy DIY hardware project! When I finally got to the point where I was finished painting my cool estate sale find, all I needed was some new hardware. I popped out to the hardware store to check out my options, but I quickly realized that the knobs and pulls I liked were going to cost me about $40. Since I only paid $27 for the original piece, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on the hardware. So I needed another plan.
At first, I came up with a temporary option, and since we have a "beachy" feel in our home, I thought about using rope for the drawer pulls. I planned to simply thread some rope through the hardware holes, and use that as the "pull." But I knew that could only be temporary, because the main people who would be using it are my kids, so the "hardware" was bound to take a beating. But I was willing to set it up as a temporary option until I came across something affordable. I just didn't know what I would do about the round knobs. But I bought some rope (I used Everbilt Manila Rope 1/4" x 50'), and decided to see what happened.
Then when I came home and started to evaluate my plan, it occurred to me that maybe I could wind this rope around the original wood hardware. The rope was really stiff, so I had my doubts that it would hold, but I figured I had nothing to lose, so I got out my glue gun and gave it a shot! And it was thrilled when I realized it was going to work.
The original wood hardware was white, but I was worried it would show through under the rope, so I painted it brownish to try to avoid that. You can see, I didn't get too picky with that process... I just didn't want them to be bright white.
For the drawer pulls, I started with the front/face. I put some hot glue on the top corner, and then applied the rope on top. I held the rope in place for a good 10-20 seconds with this step so it was really secure. Then I applied more hot glue, put the rope on top, and continued the process around in an "oval" shape. When I got to the middle, everything got kind of meshed together, so it was easy to just cut the rope and sort of shove it in the remaining space (on top of a spurt of hot glue). You don't have to be very exact, because the texture of the rope covers little mistakes. Then I wound the rope around the sides of the drawer pulls to cover that space, too. Originally I didn't plan to do that, but I decided I liked it better when the whole thing was covered in rope.
The spherical knobs were even easier. Just start at the back and wind around to the front/center. Same rule applies for finishing: just kind of shove it into the middle.
The trickiest part for me was using the hot glue gun. It was hard to know how much glue to use, and you can see from the pic above, I definitely used too much at first (but you can't tell unless you get really close). You start to get the hang of it after a little while. But I think the most important part was making sure you hold the rope onto the glue until it really sets. I think 10-15 seconds is a good time frame. Otherwise you end up with lots of those stringy hot-glue threads all over the place, and they're a pain to clean up.
And really, that's about it! Just reattach the hardware, and you're ready to go! I was so happy to be able to reuse the original hardware with minimal expense (I think the rope was $5.60, and I have more leftover).
Even though I had the old hardware to reuse, you could also just purchase inexpensive wood knobs and pulls and do this to dress them up. The wood hardware is much cheaper than metal. I just did a quick google search and found the same spherical knobs for $0.99).
I'm happy with how the entire chifferobe turned out, but I'm even happier with the price :)