How to Install Cabinet Knobs with a Template

On a recent trip to my local hardware store I found the best way to install cabinet knobs…. it is with an inexpensive little piece of plastic that makes installing cabinet knobs…1…2…3… easy.
how to install cabinet knobs with a template

Going to Wilson’s also reminds me of going to the hardware store with my dad when I was a little kid.  While he was talking about whatever it was he needed to fix or make with the hardware guy, my twin sister and I used to love to browse all around and look in all the bins and play with the nails and screws.  The paint color swatches always fascinated me.   My dad is 87 years old now and does not get out much. I know if I brought him into Wilsons he would smile and want to look at everything even though he can’t DIY himself anymore.

How to install cabinet knobs the easy way

I painted the cabinets about 12 years ago. At the time, bright shiny polished brass was the trend.  I slowly have been updating the appliances to stainless. The gold faucet was leaking and the cabinet knobs were falling off. I am not kidding when I tell you that Crazy Glue was holding many of them together.

Nickel-Cabinet-pulls and knobs ready to install

So I decided some new jewels for my cabinets was in order and a pretty new faucet.

After going to the local farmers market in town 2 weeks ago, my daughter and I went into Wilsons True Value Hardware to buy a bag of sand for our outdoor fire bowl.  While we were there I looked at the cabinet pulls they had in stock and found a hefty looking pull that I liked and that was also long enough to cover the old holes. WIN WIN!

I didn’t buy them right away as I still wanted to see all that True Value sold online when I got home, I went to True and looked to see what else they had. Hundreds of cabinet knobs and pulls in many different metals and finishes.

I made my selections and placed my order. I chose to have my order shipped to the store for free.  After a few days, I received an email saying my order was ready for pick up at Wilsons.


No more acrylic glued-on knobs!  Real glass knobs.


Nickel pulls look much better with the stainless appliances.


My favorite part though, is a new faucet.  Goodbye gold faucet. You served me well, but your time is up.


Hello Delta Windermere faucet. Isn’t she pretty?


I took care of switching out the new cabinet hardware, but to install the new faucet, I gathered all the needed materials and called on my installer…


My hubby Ed.  Installation of the new faucet was a breeze, the hard part was removing the old one that was pretty much fused in place.  Thanks honey XO.

After the faucet was installed, I went to work on the hardware.


I love the new look – all shiny and new.


Oh! and since my cabinets were made before hidden hinges were standard, I bought 24 sets of new nickel hinges to replace the brass ones.


As I started to put the new hardware on the cabinets, I realized the antique white paint  on the cabinets was looking dreary against all the white accents and trim with which I have been painting the first floor of my house.

How to paint kitchen cabinets

One thing led to another and since I had to remove every cabinet door to replace the hinges, I decided to just go for it and paint my cabinets white – pure white.  I am still in the process of painting, but have gotten this half of the kitchen completed.


Since I was just replacing the hinges, I didn’t have to drill new holes for the new ones in the cabinet doors.   If you have ever installed hinges and then put the doors  up only to find they didn’t line up or close correctly – you know how frustrating it can be to hang doors.


My dad would be proud of me; I was listening all those times when I was a teenager watching him fix things.

How to Hang a Cabinet Door and Other Tips

One such tip was how to hang cabinet doors – don’t tighten the screws, just get them in, then tighten one and check that the door stays aligned and closes correctly. If it doesn’t, loosen the screw and go to the next. Move from screw to screw tightening and loosening until the door is hanging perfectly.


Another tip I learned from my dad was to always gather all the tools you think you will need for a project and even a few you don’t. This will save you a few trips to the basement to get another tool.

To hang the pulls and knobs, I needed a drill bit to drill the holes into the cabinets that was the size of the screws, and masking tape.


The best tip though, was to have a jig. My dad made jigs for everything he made or fixed.  I never understood the need for them until I started to make things myself.  This plastic alignment guide will save you frustration and time when installing cabinet hardware. If you don’t have one, it is well worth the few dollars it costs to buy.  It takes the guesswork and the math out of installing knobs and pulls.

1..2..3 Easy!


1.  Find the center of the drawer front. Place a piece of low tack tape over the top edge of drawer and then make a pencil mark at the center.

2.  Place the lip of the cabinet/pull alignment jig over the top of the drawer front and align the center point on the jig over your pencil mark.

3.  My pulls were 3” between the holes. I found this marking on the jig and placed tape behind the holes I needed to use. This helps you not forget which holes to use.

Use a pencil to draw a dot for each hole on the drawer.

4. Remove alignment jig and then drill your holes.

5.  Most pulls and knobs get attached by putting the screw behind the drawer front.    Attach the knob once the screw comes out to the drawer front.


Tip:  Some of the glass knobs did not tighten fully and the glass spun on the screw.  I added a few washers to the screw and then attached them to the drawers. Easy fix.


Thanks True Value for giving me a great start in updating my kitchen.  I still have lots of painting to do and will show you more progress on Wednesday. I also want to update you on the floor refinishing.

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.


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  1. Luxury Modern Kitchens says:

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  2. Hi–Your posts are really informative! I have a question about the cabinet door with glass panes above. Did you use painters tape on the glass? It looks like you painted right onto the glass and maybe you will scrape the glass. I have several big doors like this inside my house, and I’m trying to figure out the best way to tackle that–tons of painters tape or scraping? I wondered if there is a product you put on the glass first that makes scraping the paint easier. Thanks, I’ve learned a lot from your blog.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dodi – I usually do not use painter’s tape when painting around glass. I use a very sharp razor blade scraper. It has to be sharp so it won’t scratch the glass. You can use a tiny bit of Vaseline or Chapstick on the glass to help make scraping paint off the glass much easier. Here is a link to the post I wrote about it:

      1. Thank you, thank you! This will make my painting job much easier. BTW, since I asked my question about trim painting, I looked at cabinet hardware on the True Value site. I was surprised by all the choices and affordability! Thanks again.

  3. If you don’t want the brass, I sooooooo want them. I’m actually renovating my kitchen with brass fixtures and looking for vintage pieces.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Erin – I liked the brass very much and it has become trendy once again, but it has been up for so long, I tired of the look. I needed a fresh new look. I saved the bin pulls since I do reuse old pulls on furniture makeovers I do. I bought them from the Van Dykes Restorers catalog. They might still sell them or something similar.

      1. Thanks so much for directing me to Van Dykes! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

  4. Where can I find that jig for the handles.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Alex – At the home improvement or hardware store where they sell cabinet knobs and pulls.

      1. Hi I forgot to say I am in South Africa and never seen this jig in the stores.IS it possible to purtcase one and get it sent to me .pls let me know this could save me a lot of time.

  5. This helped alot! I need a jig!

  6. Ray Steffen says:

    Has anyone installed traditional cup pulls that are typically put on bins or drawers on cabinet DOORS as well? If so, how were they configured? Do you have a picture(s) to look at?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ray – Do you want the pulls inset or just on the surface of the drawers?

  7. I actually found your blog while looking for directions to paint our 50-plus-year-old kitchen cabinets, going from rust-red to butter yellow, and followed your old instructions (except I missed the bit about sanding lightly between paint coats). It’s been a summer-long project, a couple cabinets at a time, because 1) I have to wet sand, on the chance there’s lead paint, and 2) I’m painting all the insides, which were also rust-red. The Glidden Gripper has been fabulous. I’m using Sherwin Williams Solo, an interior/exterior 100% acrylic, and it’s working well. Hope I get at least 12 years out of this–because I am Never. Doing. This. Again. Meanwhile, thanks for your inspiration!

  8. Do you have a post on how to paint cabinets? I want to paint mine but, my real estate lady said if you can’t make them brush free don’t do it, or pay to have it done. I don’t want to pay!! Your kitchen looks good. We are selling next year and we need to start updating now so it’s not a big financial hit all at one time and I would like to enjoy it too.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patti – I do have a post on how I painted my cabinets. Here is the link to it:

      The way to get no brush marks is to use high quality paint and brushes. I highly recommend using Glidden Gripper primer first, then Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint. I used semi-gloss. Roll it on with a small foam roller with a rounded edge. Use a high quality 1″ angled Purdy brush to paint in any recessed areas on the cabinets. Very light coats are best – sand with fine grit sandpaper in between each coat and clean off the grit with a tack cloth before applying the next coat. Be gentle with them for a week or two until the paint is fully cured.

  9. LOVE your kitchen update. We just put new hardware on our cabinets 4 years ago and I’m already tempted to change them out; however, since we spent a few hundred dollars I think I’ll live with them for now. lol. Congrats on joining the squad!

  10. Isn’t it great how one thing leads to another!!! We had to replace the sink faucet not that long ago and went from something similar to what you had to something very similar to what you have… my point is that I was AMAZED at how with the faucet having that arch and being higher above the sink, it made to sink feel so much bigger! LOVE that!

  11. Thank God…the brass had to go. Love your choices!

  12. How exciting!! Congrats. I too love to wander around a hardware store.
    The kitchen looks fabulous.

  13. Looking really good! I’ve also just replaced our kitchen knobs with brushed stainless…but I saved the brass ones just in case! Anxious to see it all completed! ;)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      HI Donnamae –

      I saved the brass bin pulls – love them and will use them on a piece of furniture. What is that saying? “Everything that comes around goes around?” I have been around long enough to know this is so true. :)

  14. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Wow, it is going to be so beautiful and I am reliving all your work …. yep… good job and I sure did learn a lot.

    I love your dad and I sure do miss my own…

  15. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    I love the new hardware and the faucet is stunning too! The little details make such a huge difference!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Krista – They do – they are like the pretty little accessories that make an outfit come to life :)

  16. Jolene Kass says:

    Very nice. I am going to copy you and do my bathroom.

  17. Laura putnam says:

    Yeah for being part of the team – I love out little TRU Value also. And the kitchen is looking great. A few updates can go a long way!!

  18. ohhh Diane! I love how your kitchen is coming together! So happy to be “on the SQUAD with ya!” I look forward to more updates!


  19. That looks Great! And I am totally getting myself one of those little tools for the handles! Amazing! Thanks for Sharing!

  20. Angelique says:

    Thanks for the tip about jigs! I SO could have used one the other day! It is now at the top of my Need to Buy list!