15 February 2011

PIY Pointers: Paint your own custom knobs

*So so thrilled to see my Winnipeg City Guide today on Design*Sponge. If you're stopping by to say hello for the first time - welcome to my blog!

Welcome back to PIY Pointers! Today we're talking about creating your own customized furniture knobs. I often find myself feeling like there is not a lot of cute, economical knob selection out there. Don't get me wrong, I love finding vintage knobs and cup pulls, plus places like Anthropologie, Michael's and Pier 1 are an amazing source for cool knobs. But beyond that, I see a lot of the same ones over and over. So creating custom knobs are an easy and personalized way to really jazz up your furniture piece. I especially love them for kid's rooms!

Remember Max's Nautical Navy Dresser I completed a while back? This piece originally had huge brass hanging knobs - not really ideal for a 3-year old! So rather than replace them with boring white ceramic knobs, I decided to have a little bit of fun.

I sourced these round raw wooden shaker knobs from Lee Valley (another good source for more classic style knobs and pulls). These run around $1.50 - $2.50 each and come in different sizes, ready to be transformed into whatever you want. I chose the shaker style because of the flatter front for easier painting but there are several wood options.

 {image via Lee Valley}

This part sounds a little crazy but stay with me...you need some way to prop up your knobs so you can paint them. You can use styrofoam or in my case, I used regular foam. I broke off pieces of wood skewers then sat the knobs right on top (see below pic).

Then, using a 2-inch art paintbrush I started out with 2 coats of primer, allowing an hour between coats for drying. I followed that with 3 coats of the same paint I was using for the dresser (Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy). Keep in mind your knobs don't have to be the same colour as the piece - I could have easily painted the knobs in white and drawn on coloured accents for a different look. Use your imagination!

I picked up a medium thickness Sharpie Paint Pen (I chose oil-based for long-term durability) in white. These pens are fantastic, they give you such precision! I like to freehand draw but you can trace or stencil your image on the knob before you use the paint pen.

For the top four knobs, I painted on ABC and D. The bottom six were numbers 1 through 6. I started by outlining the shapes, then I filled them in with the paint pen. It took two coats to get the white nice and opaque. If you make any mistakes, just go back with a tiny paintbrush and your original navy paint and touch up around your shapes. Once I was happy with the design, I coated the knobs with 2 coats of water-based polyurethane to seal them and make them durable.

Here's the final product!

Easy, personal and good for the wallet! Just remember to have fun with it and if you're not feeling confident - a little practice painting on paper can go a long way before you paint the actual knobs.

Happy painting friends!


  1. OMG I really love what you did with those knobs. They look so cute! Great way to add a fun touch! Happy Tuesday, sweetie

  2. THANK YOU for posting a Winnipeg guide for Design*Sponge. Thank you thank you thank you. Winnipegers love Winnipeg but don't always have the words to say why...now we do.


  3. I just found your blog through Cassie, and I am thrilled to have found another lover of Hale Navy! I LURVE it and have used it for years. Right now my 16 year old son's room is HL, and it's awesome. I love your stuff!


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore