Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to make a faux metal bar

As you may have noticed, there are lots of shelves in our guest room which meant lots of metal bars. This had the chance of getting really pricy, really quick. I mulled this dilemma over and over in my head and tried to come up with a cost effective solution.

My initial thought was to buy adjustable curtain rods from Walmart since I needed 3 different sizes. One problem...the sliding portion of the bar was exposed on the bottom making for an unsightly view when looking up at the top shelves. Also, the sizes weren't conducive, so it was onto Plan B.

What you'll need:

  • Plastic tubing (purchased from Home Depot)
  • Wooden beads (purchased from Hobby Lobby)
  • Dowel rods (purchased at Home Depot)
  • Rustoleum Primer (purchased at Home Depot) Make sure your primer is appropriate for plastic.
  • Acrylic Paint or Spray paint in a metallic sheen of your choice
  • Small paint brush
  • Pencil 

I measured out the appropriate length then cut it with scissors. Two rolls of tubing was all it took for our entire wall of shelves. Varying thicknesses are available so go with the diameter that fits your needs.

Lay the tubes out on cardboard then spray with primer. Give it several hours to dry then flip them over to coat the other side. FYI, the primer never really feels dry. It's very tacky. The label says it could take up to a week to fully dry. 

I didn't have the patience to wait a week for drying so I gave it 24 hours then preceded to add the acrylic paint. (Totally missed the photo opt for this step. Sorry!) I would recommend spray painting the metallic color but I used acrylic paint and a brush since I couldn't find the exact color I wanted. Due to brush strokes, the gold paint required 2 coats. The "tacky" feeling of the primer disappeared after the initial coat of paint was applied.

These came 8 to a package. Make sure the opening of the bead is large enough to slip over the plastic tubing. Our packages varied, with some fitting perfect and some being too small. John and to broaden the hole a bit on the stinkers that made our job difficult.

Give your beads a coat of primer. Let dry, then coat with metallic paint. Here's a helpful hint...slip the beads over a pencil when painting. This allows you to paint all sides then slip it off to dry without messing up the paint.

How to attach: drill a small hole in the shelf that accommodates your dowel piece. Cut the dowel piece to desired height of the curved portion of your "bar." Ours were approximately an inch long. Put the dowel in the drilled hole then slip the bead and tubing over the dowel.

FYI, I made sure my tubing was a little longer than needed when initially cut. Then, cut it to exact size upon installation. Make sure you pull it tight to help recreate the look of an actual bar. The one above shows the waviness that's present prior to trimming it to the correct size.

Overall, I'd say we spent less than $20 to make 15 "metal" bars and still have supplies left over.


pam {simple details} said...

You win the award for patience ~ hands down! And ingenuity, holy moly!! They're gorgeous and look so professional!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

WOW. who knew? so smart and again i pinned this baby. :)

My Crafty Home Life said...

I'm with Pam on this one. Snaps for you!!

Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design said...

Hi, my name is Whitney. Can you come design my home?!

Seriously awesome!

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