How to create a dowel timber feature wall

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Turn a boring, uninspiring part of your kitchen into a stunning architectural feature. Adding a dowel feature panel to the underside of your kitchen bench is a fabulous – and extremely easy – way to add warmth, tone and character to your space. Give it a try!

Tools and materials:

100mm paint roller with tray

Brad nails 15mm

Brad nail gun

Cabots 1 litre satin timber finish sealer

Caulking gun

Clean cloth

Construction adhesive (liquid nails)

Dust mask

Ear protection

Hearing protection

Saw

Sanding block

Structural Plywood (12mm thick)

Sandpaper 180-grit

Steel filling blade

Tasmanian oak half round dowel (30mm x 12mm)

Wood filler

Wood glue

1. Measure up

Before you do anything you’ll need to measure your space – as these will be the specs you’ll be working to, so make sure you get them right. Check and double check!

Tools and materials needed to make atimber feature wall or panel

2. Cut your timber

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to cut your timber. First up, measure and cut your plywood. You can ask a team member at your local Bunnings store to do this for you. While you’re there you can also ask to have your dowel cut – we are using a gorgeous Tasmanian Oak Semi-Circle dowel. This usually comes in long pieces, so chances are you’ll need to get them trimmed to match the size of your plywood backing board.

Aligning wood dowels onto plywood panel

3. Attach your first piece of dowel

When you’ve got everything measured up and ready to go, it’s time to glue your dowel down – we used liquid nails and a corking gun for this. Make sure you use slow and controlled movements when you’re gluing – and don’t go overboard with how much you use. Attach your first piece of dowel to the board and make sure it’s flush to the edge so it’s nice and straight. A good way to make sure it’s straight is to nail that first piece of dowel to your board – that way it won’t move as you’re fixing the rest. A hammer and nails works well for this, but we used a brad gun as it was quicker and easier (make sure to use eye/ear protection when using this power tool – it’s loud!).

Handy hint: Avoid nailing into the middle of your dowel – instead fix the nail on an angle between the one and two o’clock position.

Attaching the first dowel on plywood panel

4. Apply more nails about a third of the way in

Once you’ve affixed that first piece, you’re good to glue on more of your dowel (they won’t need nails, but just make sure you keep them straight). About a third of the way down, hammer in more nails into a piece of the dowel to keep you on track.

Applying liquid nails to the back of wood dowels

5. Nail final piece and fill any holes

Your dowel feature should be almost complete – all that’s left is to nail that final piece in and plug any holes with wood filler – use a steel filling blade to do this.

Applying wood filler to dowels with a spatula

6. Sand and varnish

After you’ve filled any holes with putty, sand those areas back and make sure they are as smooth as the rest of your feature – a 180-grit sanding block should do the job. Clean away any excess filler with a damp cloth. Once this is done you’re ready to coat with a layer of varnish. Use a paintbrush, or 100mm roller and apply with long, even strokes.

Dipping paint brush into can of wood varnish

7. Affix to your bench

Make sure the underside of your bench is clean and free of dust. Use a caulking gun to apply construction adhesive liberally to the back of the plywood. Position against the bench and apply some pressure until it’s stuck. If you’re using more than one plywood backing board, repeat the process until all your panels are secure.

Applying timber feature panels onto kitchen bench

8. Admire your handiwork

Yes, it was THAT easy! Your kitchen doesn’t have to be the only room this feature is used in – it also looks great in bedrooms as a feature wall or decorative headboard above your bed. The options are endless!

Liked this project?

There’s plenty more where that came from in out Make It Yours series or check our more projects from episode one.

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