How to Hang a Wooden Dowel Rod

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Almost anyone can install dowels in a closet, use them to hang a tapestry or employ them in custom applications. It's a simple procedure requiring a few hand tools. Installing a dowel rod typically includes determining the rod's distance from the wall, tapping into wall studs and choosing the right type of fastener.


Install Closet Rods

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Closets rods are one of the most common types of dowels. The installation is basic, consisting of wood blocking on both ends of the dowel. It's common to use only small blocks, but extending the block -- typically referred to as a stretcher -- to span the full length on both sides of the closet makes things sturdier because it gives you better access to wall studs.

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Things You'll Need

  • Miter saw

  • Pine, 3/4 by 3 inches

  • Drill bit to match dowel diameter

  • Drill/driver

  • Stud finder

  • Level

  • 3-inch screws

Step 1: Measure the Walls

Measure the depth of the closet on both sides, and subtract 1/4 inch. Use a miter saw to cut two pieces of 3/4-by-3-inch-wide pine to the measurements. Subtracting 1/4 inch from the length of the pine stretcher prevents it from binding when you install it.

Step 2: Drill Holes

Measure the size of the dowel. Use a drill bit with the same diameter to drill a hole with a drill/driver, centered, through each piece of pine. A hole saw is a good option for a drill bit, but any bit should do the trick.



Clothing requires at least 18 to 24 inches of space as measured from the back wall, so that it hangs without bunching up against the wall.

Step 3: Find the Studs

Use a stud finder to locate the studs on both sides of the closet, and mark them.

Step 4: Cut the Dowel

Measure the width of the closet from wall to wall, and subtract 1/2 inch. Test fit the dowel by holding it up inside the closet, to ensure that it fits without binding. Trim off 1/16-inch at a time if it binds, until it fits.


Step 5: Install the Stretchers

Measure for height, and install one pine stretcher on one side by screwing it to the studs using 3-inch screws. You don't need to drill pilot holes in pine, but you can if you want to.

Step 6: Level and Mark

Insert one end of the dowel into the drilled hole in the pine. Fit the other drilled piece of pine on the other end. Swing the dowel upward, to position it as if it were already installed on the other wall. Place a level on the rod. When it's level, mark the location of the pine on the opposite side.


Step 7: Finish the Job

Level the pine stretcher, and screw it to the studs using 3-inch screws.


For an expedited installation, use a steel flange to hang wooden dowel rods. Screw them to the pine stretchers, cut the dowel to length, test fit and hang it in the flanges. Purchase one flange with a U-shape for easier installation, and it makes the dowel removable.

Install Free-Hanging Dowels

Use end caps to hang wooden dowels for tapestries, quilts, banners or other items. End caps are plastic fittings, sized to fit over the end of the dowel. They typically have a tab with a hole in it.


Things You'll Need

  • Dowel end caps

  • Chain, rope or string

  • Diagonal pliers or utility knife

  • 1/4-by-3-inch eye bolts

Step 1

Fit end caps over both ends of the dowel.


If your dowel rod is 1 1/4 inches or more in diameter, you can skip the caps, drill a pilot hole in the dowel, and thread an eye-bolt directly into the dowel.

Step 2

Measure the chain, rope or string as needed for length, and cut it to length with diagonal pliers or scissors.

Step 3

Mark the ceiling or wall where you wish to hang the dowel. Drill pilot holes, using a 3/16-inch drill bit, and screw self-tapping screw eye bolts into the holes. Fasten the rope, chain or string to the eye bolts.

Step 4

Fasten the other end of the rope, chain or string to the tab on the end of the dowel cap.


Don't overload this type of system. Dowel caps have weight ratings. Check them before purchasing.



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