How to Make Rustic Modern Cabinet Pulls
A few years ago I was on the hunt for the perfect drawer pulls for a dresser I had snagged off craigslist. Only I was having trouble finding what I wanted, at a price I was willing to fork over.
How to Make Rustic Modern Cabinet Pulls
This is back when my copper pipe obsession was in the beginning stages, and I would spend a good chunk of time wandering around the plumbing sections of hardware stores. I was picking up and putting down pipe fittings, ignoring the strange stares from down the aisle when the idea hit. I’d create my own drawer pulls using copper pipes!
The copper against the freshly painted navy dresser was perfect, and I was able to create all the drawer pulls for less than $30. I later repainted some nightstands and made matching pulls to go on those as well.
From there my pipe projects and obsession continued and I even built my first desk (all by myself) using copper pipes.
Fast forward to roughly a year ago when Eric and I were renovating our RV before hitting the road. There I was, back on the hunt for the perfect rustic modern cabinet pulls for our media cabinet, when it hit me just to repurpose the ones I previously made. We were giving away the dresser and nightstands, so before we did I swapped out the pulls and spray painted them black.
While I love copper, I knew black pulls would have better contrast against the wood and add more of a rustic vibe into the space. You may have caught a glimpse of the pulls in one of our RV tours. We have 3 of them on our media cabinet, and another one on the rustic door we built for our bathroom closet.
While I previously mentioned how to make these copper pipe pulls in the dresser and nightstand posts, I love them so much I decided they needed their own post.
If you’re looking for affordable furniture pulls you can easily customize, I hope these DIY rustic modern cabinet pulls will help spark some inspiration for you.
Here are the supplies and tools needed to make these rustic modern cabinet pulls
- 1/2 inch Copper Pipe – Cut to dimensions you need
- 1/2 inch bell hanger(s) – I’ve had better luck finding these at Lowe’s or Home Depot
- 1/2 inch Copper Slip Cap Fittings
- Epoxy or Super Glue
- Pipe Cutter
- Bolts – based on depth of cabinet door or furniture you’re adding it to
- Sandpaper or Steel Wool
- Spray Paint + Primer
- Clear Coat
- Copper Cleaner
Tip: Use two bell hangers for any copper pipe pull over 8 inches.
I’ve used copper in the past because I love the rustic yet modern vibe it adds to a project. It’s also lightweight and generally less expensive than other pipe options. It’s not threaded which is why you’ll need epoxy or super glue to attach the caps.
I would purchase a 10 foot 1/2 inch copper pipe which will generally cost about $10. This should give you more than enough for multiple pulls or future projects, but if that seems like way more than you’ll need you can also purchase a 5 foot pipe. The bell hangers can generally be purchased by themselves for less than $2 each, or you can buy a pack of 10 for $10-15. I’ve found Lowe’s to be one of the best places to find copper bell hangers, but most hardware stores should carry them.
Optional: You can clean the copper (this nifty cleaning cream works awesome) and then spray the pulls with clear coat (2-3 times) to prevent future fingerprints and stop the oxidation process. Whether you do this before or after you’ve assembled the drawer pulls is up to you. Just be sure they are fully dry before handling them. If you don’t mind the rusty patina or plan to spray paint your pulls you can skip this step.
Mark and then cut the pipe to the length you need using a pipe cutter. Some hardware stores will do this for you, but you can generally snag a pipe cutter for around $15.
Apply epoxy or super glue to both edges of the pipe and attach copper caps.
Tip: You can lightly sand outer edges of pipe to help the glue adhere better. I’ve honestly never done this and haven’t had any issues.
Switch out the long screw that comes with the bell hanger with a shorter bolt since the screw it comes with is pretty long and pointy. I suppose you could just add washers and nuts but we’ve found it easier to just swap it out for a different bolt.
Slide the copper pipe into the bell hanger and screw it closed on both sides when you have it where you want it.
Tip: Don’t Over-tighten! Also, I recommend using 2 bell hangers for any handles over 8″, otherwise it can feel a little loose, but this is totally up to you.
Optional: Spray paint the pulls. I decided to spray paint the copper pipe pulls in our RV black, and love the rustic modern vibe it adds. If you decide to spray paint, I recommend spraying with primer first to help prevent chipping or scratching later on. I was lazy when we painted ours and didn’t do this but I did add a clear coat afterwards. There are some small scratches on my pulls, which I don’t mind too much, but using primer would have helped prevent this.
Attach your new rustic modern cabinet pulls to furniture and you’re done!
Pretty easy, eh? If you’re looking for additional knob options, be sure to check out our post on creating stone knobs for our RV cabinets.
Do you have any favorite methods for creating your own drawer pulls or knobs?