Dowel rods come in many sizes and have just as many uses. Smaller-diameter ones can double as nails in glue-and-stick joinery while those of larger diameters can be used as towel rods. Dowels can be used to hang clothes, and while special hooks and hangers are available to adapt them for this purpose, all that is really needed is a little ingenuity.
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Using Bolts as Hangers
Dowels of 5/8-inch diameter or larger can be hung from a shelf in the closet using 1/4-inch by 6-inch or longer carriage bolts. Simply drill two 1/4-inch holes in a length of dowel and then mark holes the same distance apart in the shelf from which you want to hang the dowel. Drill holes in the shelf and insert carriage bolts. Affix the dowel to the ends of the bolts with 1/4-inch nuts.
Using Pre-made Plastic Hangers
Plastic hangers for hanging 1 1/4-inch and 1 1/2-inch dowel are available that screw into the walls of the closet. These hangers come in pairs, one a closed, circular holder and one an open, semi-circular one. Simply screw the hangers into studs in the walls opposite each other and cut a length of dowel that is as long as the closet is wide, Insert one end of the dowel into the closed holder and slide the other end into the notched one. These will support a lot of weight.
Making Your Own Hangers
Drill a hole the same diameter as the dowel in a length of 1-by-4 lumber. Cut the wood in half, bisecting the hole, and screw each half into studs in the walls opposite each other so that the open part of each semi-circle is facing up. Then insert a length of dowel into these semi-circular holders.
Hanging from the Ceiling
Cut out two identical lengths of wire or twine and make two loops by tying the ends of each length together. Hang these from hooks screwed into the rafters of the ceiling and insert a piece of doweling into the loops. For extra security, pre-drill holes in either end of the dowel and pass the wire or twine through these holes before you tie the ends together.