D.I.Y. dowel feature wall

tracy

Project Overview

Bunnings magazine, July 2019

A plain and uninspiring wall can be transformed into a striking feature with this simple project. Using lengths of semi-circular dowel, we’ve created a half wall which combines the warmth of natural timber with tactile texture.

 

Photo credit: Natasha Dickins and Cath Muscat

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Get the ply cut to size
2 Position and fasten the ply into the dowel
3 Apply the rest of the dowel
4 Frame along the top
5 Smooth, fill and seal
6 Fasten to the wall
  • Step 1. Get the ply cut to size

    Have the plywood cut to size (we cut ours to 1800mm wide x 1200mm high). Set up a mitre saw with a stopper to cut lengths of dowel in half, cutting three lengths at a time. Note the dowel is slightly longer than 2.4m, which allows for the width of the saw blade.

    Tip: Using 12mm-thick plywood as the backing for the dowel keeps it lightweight so it can be constructed on a flat surface, then moved and attached to a wall using fast-drying construction adhesive.

  • Step 2. Position and fasten the ply into the dowel

    Position a long side of the plywood against a wall to use it as a straightedge. Apply woodworking adhesive along the back of the first piece of dowel, then position it flush with the edge of the plywood. Use the nail gun to pin it in four places, about 75mm from the ends and 350mm apart. To ensure the nails are almost invisible, avoid nailing through the middle of the dowel. Instead, position the gun to the side of the dowel, about a third of the way up, to shoot into the plywood on alternating sides of the dowel.

  • Step 3. Apply the rest of the dowel

    Add woodworking adhesive to the next piece of dowel and position it against the first, making sure the long side of the plywood is straight against the wall and the ends of the dowel are even. Secure using the nail gun and repeat to finish the wall, wiping away excess adhesive with a clean, damp cloth as you go.

  • Step 4. Frame along the top

    To frame along the top, cut the moulding to the same length, apply woodworking adhesive, then use the nail gun to attach it along the top, securing nails about 300mm apart and angling them to go through the end-grain of the dowel pieces. Wipe away excess adhesive with a damp cloth.

  • Step 5. Smooth, fill and seal

    Smooth over all the nails with timber filler using a flexible steel blade, leaving to dry. Smooth with 180-grit abrasive paper, holding the sanding block at an angle between the dowel, then clean away dust with a damp cloth. Seal with two coats of varnish using a mini roller, wiping away excess with a clean cloth.

  • Step 6. Fasten to the wall

    Ensure the wall is clean and free of dust. On the back of the plywood, use a caulking gun to apply construction adhesive in a zigzag pattern for maximum coverage. Position it against the wall then pull it away, leave to dry for maximum five minutes, then reposition against the wall and apply pressure as it cures.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Safety equipment
  • Mitre saw
  • Air compressor and hose
  • C1 series air brad nailer
  • Clean cloth
  • Flexible steel filling blade
  • Caulking gun
  • Mini mohair roller with tray

Materials

  • Sanding block with 180-grit abrasive paper
  • 2400mm x 1200mm x 12mm structural plywood, cut to 1800mm long
  • 30 lengths of 2.4m x 30mm x 12mm half-round dowel
  • Woodworking adhesive 15mm C1 series brad nails
  • 2.4m length of 40mm x 12mm dressed moulding
  • 250g wood filler in Hardwood
  • Water-based clear wood varnish
  • Construction adhesive
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