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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. The dowel is made from Tasmanian oak, a hardwood that varies slightly in colour and tone, adding depth and character to the wall.


1Get 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.

A person cutting three lengths of thick dowel with a drop saw

2Position 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.

Fixing dowel onto plywood using a nail gun

3Apply 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.

Sixteen lengths of dowel with a nail gun

4Frame 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.

Fixing a timber frame to the ends of dowel rods using a nail gun

5Smooth, 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.

Applying varnish to dowel using a mini roller

6Fasten 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.

A panel made up of vertical lengths of dowel

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.