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Door Knob & Industrial Pipe Curtain Rods

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How to make a curtain rod using doorknobs as finials and install it on a window.

Now that the busy holiday season has passed, I am enjoying the downtime to reflect on the things that inspire creativity and nourish my spirit! Creativity is what makes me who I am. Without it, life for me would just be an existence. I need creativity to fuel my days and my mind with ideas. It is what makes me happy and passionate and gives my life meaning.

Some of the ideas that flit through my mind don’t come to fruition, but once I get an idea,  it becomes my mission to figure out a way to make it happen. Such is the case with the curtain rods I made using vintage doorknobs.

I came up with this idea when I started to decorate my house for Christmas and removed a basket of doorknobs I had on display. Trying to find a place for them and not wanting to hide them in a drawer, I said to myself, what else can I do with these?  Around the same time I was on the hunt for new curtain rods on which to hang the new Barn & Willow linen drapes I got for my dining room.


I could not find rods like ones I had envisioned.  There were lots of rods to choose from but to my eye they all looked the same. They were either black, Oil-Rubbed Bronze, Gold, or Silver. Very nice but standard.  I had a vision in my mind and none of the rods were meeting my expectations.

The choice of rods was not about expense as most of them were affordable. It was more about style.

How to paint a chandelier

I wanted the rods to look a little vintage to coordinate with the chandelier I painted in the room.


Being a DIYer lets one be a product designer. You get to create designs and customize them exactly as you want to bring your vision to life. That is what I did for these rods. I did save money, too,  but making these rods was more about style than affordability.

To get what I envisioned did take me more time than if I just bought ready-made rods off the shelf in a store.  Since I don’t have a contract with a major manufacturer to design a line of goods, I make my own in limited production… as in one set. :-)   This blog lets me share the ideas and designs with you. That is why I love this little piece of the web so much.

How to Make a Curtain Rod Using Doorknobs and Electrical Tubing Pipe


supplies needed:

  • 1/2″ diameter electrical metal tubing cut to the length rod you need. I found mine at Ace Hardware.
  • 2 doorknobs
  • 2 curtain rod brackets and hanging hardware
  • 1 set of curtain rod clip style rings
  • Rustoleum Hammered spray paint in Brown and Gold
  • Screwdriver/drill
  • Rotary drill or rough sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sea sponge or a small piece of balled up paper towel

I liked the vintage look of these fluted doorknobs. I left them just as they were – splattered paint and all. If you can’t find old knobs like this you can buy shiny new ones at the home improvement store for about $6-$10 a set.  I know Lowes and True Value have them in the store and Home Depot sells them online. You can use paint to age them.


The size of the metal tubing pipe fit perfectly with the end of the doorknob.  It is snug and tight like it was meant to be.


1. I had the guy at the hardware store cut the rods to the length I needed.  He used a pipe cutter that took less than 5 minutes for him to cut.


2. When I got home, I noticed that the inside of the cut ends of the tubing got a bit smaller from being cut. The doorknob no longer fit as well.  I used my rotary drill with a mini sanding drum to open these cut ends a tiny bit. It took less than 10 seconds.  Once I did that the doorknobs fit in the end of the pipe again.


3. I spray painted the pipe, rings, and brackets with Rustoleum Hammered spray paint in Brown and then added a few sprays of Hammered Gold over it.  I added a few dabs of the color to the doorknobs using a sea sponge so that they blended in with the rods.

If you don’t have a sea sponge, a small bunched up piece of paper towel will work.   Spray the paint on a piece of cardboard and then dab the sponge or paper towel into the paint and then onto the doorknob.

How to Spray Paint Clip-On Curtain Rod Rings Quickly


1. To spray paint the clip-on rings, I normally would have strung them clothesline style in my garage, but since it was freezing out I wanted a way to bring the “just-sprayed rings” into the warm house to dry.

I found some rolled up chicken wire in the garage and it ended up being the perfect way to spray the rings and keep the whole lot of them portable without having to touch them so I could bring them inside.

How to Install the Curtain Rod

I had to put up my industrial rod curtain poles in a slightly different way than I normally would hang a curtain rod.  I needed to place the rod into the brackets first then hang it while snug in the brackets. Normally you would attach the brackets to the wall first, then place the rod in.


I had to do it this way since the rod was a tight fit in the brackets I had, plus I wanted the rod right up against the ceiling line which left me no room above the brackets to be able to place the rod in.

If you can find larger brackets that fit the tubing pipe better then you can hang the rods the normal way. 


1. My windows are 32″ wide. I didn’t want the curtain panels to block the window so I made sure the rods were long enough so that the curtain stack-back cleared the window.  I had the rods cut to 54″.  I like the panels not to puddle, but to slightly kiss the floor.  I placed the brackets 1″ down from the ceiling line and 6″ away from where the window ended.

  • I marked these measurements with painters’ tape so I knew exactly where the brackets should be placed.  Using painters’ tape also helps you get the placement just right without having pencil marks all over your wall.  Once the rods are up, you can simply remove the tape; no pencil markings to clean off.

3.  I placed 12 of the rings* on the center of the rod and then fit the rod into the brackets. Since it was a tight fit, the rods and brackets became one piece with the 12 rings in the center.

NOTE:  You have to place the 12 rings in the center of the rod before putting the rod in the brackets because the rings won’t go over the rod in the bracket once it is hung.  I kept the 7th ring off for each panel since one always should go outside the bracket.  I added these after the rods and brackets were mounted on the wall.

4. Hanging the rods is better with 4 hands, so I got the help of Ed to hold one side of the rod, while I screwed the other side to the wall. I used my power screwdriver and drill combo to attach the rod and brackets to the wall.

5. I clipped the curtains to the rings and then added the 7th ring for each panel on the outside of the bracket.  This lets the curtain fill in the area on the rod past the brackets.


Now I have exactly what I envisioned. Not too dark, not too gold, just vintage-y enough to go with the chandelier.   To see how I created the houndstooth stool in photo above – you will find the post here:  Houndstooth Step Stool 

I learned early in my display career that there is always a way to get a job done. Unconventional oftentimes saves the day.   It may not be the traditional way, but as long as it works…it works.  Right?

To see all the window treatments I have posted about, including the rods where I used tennis ball as finials  -check them out in my Window Treatment Project Gallery

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  1. You never stop amazing your followers Diane. Im curious though at the step stool which looks like one I have from Ikea. I painted mine but stained the steps, but looking at your check covering I wonder what you used to cover them? Is it some form of vinyl shelf covering ?
    Thanks Pat

  2. I’m still excited by that fact that you had a basket of doorknobs on display! Beautiful. Where do you shop for vintage doorknobs?

    1. Hi Pamela – I look for them whenever I go to thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets. I have paid $1 – $3 dollars a piece for them. I have black, brown, white, the faceted glass, and even a glass purple one that I have on my desk. I will be showing how I use that this weekend.