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Dowel timber feature underneath kitchen bench.

Overview

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!

Steps

1Measure 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!

2Cut 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.

Person laying dowel timber feature wall on top of timber.

3Attach 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!).

Green Bunnings hammer
Pro tip: Avoid nailing into the middle of your dowel – instead fix the nail on an angle between the one and two o'clock position.
Person placing piece of dowel timber feature wall in place underneath kitchen bench.

4Apply 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.

Person using liquid nails on back of timber dowels.

5Nail 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.

Person using steel blade to insert timber filler between timber dowels.

6Sand 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.

Person dipping paint brush into tin of varnish.

7Affix 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.

Person placing dowel timber feature wall in place underneath kitchen bench.

8Admire 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!

9Liked this project?

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

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.