Customize It … DIY Copper Knobs

In my old dining room, I had these cute built-ins with these stupid huge knobs (no before photos, sorry) so I asked my friend Samantha, (you may remember her from Oh Joy’s Studio project) to see if she could do a DIY for them. I wanted something that wouldn’t cost too much money as it was a rental so no point in throwing dough into it. While I love a lot of knobs out there (Anthropologie and West Elm both have great ones) they can often be like $12 each and we had 4 of these built ins, with 14 knobs each which equals like $22K. So, Sam came up with these simple, inexpensive but incredibly chic copper fronted knobs … And then we redid my built-in (like just weeks before we moved out … whoops).

DIY Copper Knobs

Alright so here’s what you’ll need:

DIY Copper Knobs Ingredients

1. Scrap piece of wood and screws,  2. 5 Mil copper sheets,  3. Sand paper sheets (60 grit for palm sander, 220 grit for hand sanding),  4. Wooden knobs (if you can find knobs with a flat face, get them!  I could only find knobs with a slightly domed face, which made sanding necessary),  5. Super glue,  6. Palm sander,  7. Circle  template (optional),  8. Scissors,  9. White spray paint

DIY Copper Knobs How To

1.  Start by taking your piece of scrap wood and pre-drilling holes all the way through, leaving about four inches between each hole.  Insert the screws through the holes and twist your knobs onto the screws.  This ensures your knobs will stay steady, rather than rolling all over the place while you’re sanding, spray painting and adhering the copper sheet.

2.  Attach your 60 grit sandpaper to your palm sander.  Set the board with knobs attached on a flat surface.  Hold the board steady while you sand each knob with the palm sander.  It’s important to apply pressure in a steady downward fashion (if you hold the sander at an angle, the face of the finished knob will be angled instead of flat.  I messed up one knob in this way, but then I got the hang of it and the rest were easy!).

3.  With the knobs still secured to the board, spray them with a first coat of spray paint.  It’s much easier to paint them while still attached to the board to avoid fingerprints in the paint.  Wait for them to dry, then do a second coat of paint.

DIY Copper Knobs Process

4.  While the paint is drying on the knobs, start prepping your copper sheet.  I had a circle template with a circle the exact size of the face of my knobs, so I used that.  If you don’t have this tool, just trace one of your knobs onto the copper.

5.  Once you’ve lightly traced the circles onto the copper, cut them out with scissors.  5 Mil copper is thin enough to cut easily with scissors, but thick enough that it doesn’t crumple to bits like copper foil.  Still, be careful when cutting it because it can bend and pucker a little.  You might also want to wear gloves because the edges of the copper can be sharp.

DIY Copper Knobs Steps

6.  Once the paint on the knobs is fully dry, apply super glue to the face of the knob and center one of the copper circles on top.  Hold it in place so the glue can set.

7.  When the glue has fully dried, take your 220 grit sand paper and lightly sand the edges of the copper.  This will sand the copper totally flush with the edge of the knob and soften any sharp edges the copper might have had.

8.  Lastly, install the knobs on your cabinet or piece of furniture and enjoy that pretty metallic shine!

DIY Copper Knobs Finished

Thank you, Sam. Of course when we moved I was dying to take these and hoard them but my stupid landlord (the one that wouldn’t let me redo the kitchen AT NO COST TO HIM) would have subtracted like $1400 from our deposit for new knobs, so these bad boys are still there.  So I’ll hoard these photos instead.

DIY Copper Knobs

Go for it, folks. Re-knob your house and your face. Copper plating is my new favorite thing …

To see other customizing posts go here. 

  1. What a cute idea! I wonder if you could do something similar with copper leaf as well.

  2. Christina

    Love this idea! But the $22k was definitely a joke, right, because you have some weird math going on. It’s hard to tell over the internet sometimes. I wonder if the copper would pop off eventually? Stalk the new renters and see how the knobs are holding up!

    • Emily

      Yes, it was a joke :)

  3. AndreaU88

    While it looks cute, yes – wonder how long it would last.
    And really? 4 x14 x $12 = $672.00

    • Emily

      Wow. I thought i picked a number that was obvious that i was kidding. But the point is you don’t want to put $672 into a rental on knobs. ITs an easy cheap and chic upgrade for a rental. Not meant for a 10 year solution.

      • AndreaU88

        Sorry – just the math geek in me.

  4. Filiz

    Love this idea! Copper is such a great addition to modernize a kitchen.

  5. Rose

    Love this idea! My husband and I used copper sheeting like that on our kitchen countertops. They are indestructible and gorgeous and I love them!!

    • erin maire

      Ooh, I want to see those countertops!!

  6. It amazes me that 1) you crammed in one last project weeks away from moving out even though you were super duper pregnant and it wasn’t 100% urgent, B) you left these adorable things there instead of swapping them back to the original biggie knobs, and D) people don’t get your math joke. They must be new here.

  7. Cindy

    The scissors & screws used don’t have a link above like the other items do. Can you please link to them?

    Thank you!

  8. Elisabeth

    These are SO CUTE!! And lol, people take this math thing very seriously. Landlords can be very lame. When we moved out of a house that was dramatically taken from us by hideous family (I make it sound funny but it actually wasn’t) we took every freakin knob, curtain rod, etc. And replaced a light fixture with a cake plate that had a hole in the center. In retrospect it was probably not necessary but felt good at the time. Anyway, this is a great idea! I’m always trying to figure out cheap ways to replace knobs.

  9. Haha the math comments are making me laugh! We were just looking for new hardware for our dresser – so great timing!! :) Hope you are doing well. xo

  10. Sarah W

    I was also thinking that you could switch back to the old knobs, but then thought maybe they had gotten chucked before someone realized, or something like that. Anyway, super cute!

  11. Hi Emily! I was just wondering if we were ever going to get to see the other half of your baby shower? I probably sound like a total weirdo, but have seriously been looking forward to it since I saw the pyramid of streamers on Orlando’s instagram!

    • Sarah

      You and me both!

  12. KJ

    I love this idea. You have just convinced me I need to buy a palm sander. Lol

    I would actually like these for a kitchen.

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