These DIY knobs made from scrap metal started as a joke on Instagram.
My Instagram DM’s were FILLED with hundreds of comments from my IG fam, egging me on, encouraging me to make them. So I browsed the scrap pile at my local landfill and dragged home some pretty pieces of metal.
I wore steel toe boots and was DEEP in the scrap metal heap when the woman who works at the landfill came rushing over. The color drained from my face and I was convinced I was getting the boot. But nah, she just asked if I had a smoke. And with that, I fell in love with my little municipality all over again, lol. Our landfill is great: there’s a shed where people put things and I’ve nabbed cool stuff, they let me dig wherever I want, and sometimes we even light a car on fire at the landfill for fire department training. The landfill is literally the hottest place in town. Well, it’s literally the only place. Locals call it the mall. But still, I know lots of municipalities that don’t let you root around, but our municipal council is trying to cut back on garbage so they’re thrilled if you take things home. They actually even substantially subsidised the purchase of one of these for select homes as a trial run, to cut down on food waste.
Anyway, I brought home my little metal treasures and got to work figuring out how to make knobs. If you’d like to make your own DIY knobs made from scrap metal, here’s what you need and how to do it! And oh my gosh – how much do I regret recycling the metal scraps from our copper roof? I kept every single one and hoarded them in a dangerously overflowing box of sharp, jagged edges for years. I finally decided I wasn’t going to use them and so I recycled them. Argh. I would have LOVED to have used the (painted) copper scraps from our roof for these knobs. Luckily I found metal in pretty icy blue and brass finishes, stamped with a faux bois design.
Supplies for DIY Knobs:
- Scrap metal sheets
- Tins snips OR Dremel
- Sandpaper OR Dremel
- Needle metal file
- Ball peen hammer
- Permanent marker
- Round object to trace
- Scrap wood
- Hole saw smaller than metal disc
- Drill and drill bit
- Chicago screws
- Magic eraser (optional)
- Spray paint (optional)
- Small piece of felt
- Rubber band
- Small rubber washer or scrap of tire (optional)
Here’s the process for how to make your own knobs, including my flops…
My First Draft:
My first draft was a little big and clunky, but I felt like there was a little potential there…
My Second Draft:
A little smaller, a little cleaner, and fastened with a Chicago screw (which just looks like a rivet from the front and screws in from the back). I tested it out on scrap piece of walnut and I loved this version!
How to Make Scrap Metal DIY Knobs:
First, I traced the circle shape I wanted onto the metal sheets. I had experimented a bit with size between my first and second drafts, and found that a bit smaller looked a little more refined. Then we cut out the circles, using either a Dremel or tin snips – the tin snips worked really well, surprisingly. I thought it would be difficult to cut a nice circle with them, but it wasn’t.
Then I sanded the edges VERY well. People on Instagram have asked me repeatedly if these DIY knobs are sharp or uncomfortable – and definitely not. I sanded the edges very thoroughly, so it just feels like touching a coin. Any of these methods work: I used a metal file (my least favorite method), a Dremel (okay, but if it slipped away I risked damaging the painted surface) and sandpaper with a sanding block (my favorite method, and cheapest too).
Sanded vs. unsanded:
Then I washed the metal, using a magic eraser for any really stubborn goo. Next it was time to hammer the metal into cup shapes.
First, I grabbed a piece of scrap wood and used a hole saw to make a hole smaller than the discs of metal we cut out. My photos don’t reflect this, but for the final knobs I wrapped a hammer in a piece of felt (affixed with a rubber band or tape) to prevent the hammer from marring the surface too much.
I set the larger disc into the hole and started hammering lightly. Once it was slightly cupped, I set the smaller piece of metal inside and, from then on, hammered them together so they’d nest nicely.
Then it was a matter of blind faith in this DIY, as I gently hammered and formed the discs into little flower-shaped cups. It takes a little practise and I messed up quite a few…
When I was finally satisfied with the shape, I drilled holes in the center of both discs and used a thin metal file to smooth the edges of the holes.
I grabbed some leftover matte black spray paint (optional) and spray painted the back of the larger disc, to tie it into the black frame of my DIY nightstand. Once the spray paint dried, here’s where this project becomes really budget, lol. I grabbed an old tire we had and cut a small circle of rubber for the back of the knob, in lieu of wasting money on a rubber washer. This washer gives the knob some”grip” so it doesn’t spin at all with I use it. You can’t see it:
I used a Chicago screw to affix the DIY knob made from scrap metal to the walnut front drawers of the new nightstand and, ta da!
Anthropologie, who? I saved $50 (USD!) plus shipping. But if I didn’t have all the tools already, these DIY furniture knobs would have cost, like, $300.
Here’s how the knobs looks on the nightstand – click here to see how to build a nightstand with drawers.
P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!