Salvage Style: Knob Wall


When we moved into our current home it was filled with relics from decades gone by.  No pull or knob had the modern, contemporary feel that we enjoy.  We took several weeks updating before we moved in.  One of the casualties was the kitchen cabinets.  Replacing them was not in the budget so we removed all of the very traditional doors and painted the outside white and the inside a contrasting color.  The drawers and lower cabinet doors had to stay.  We changed out their pulls and knobs with new brushed nickel hardware.  What resulted was a pile of old white porcelain knobs.

I saved them for some time and recently stumbled upon them (I probably save more than I should).  I decided it was time to put them to use.  I went to the home improvement store and bought a screw/bolt combination.  Next I planned my grid on the wall and marked my spots.

What I got was a very interesting use of the knobs which looks like art on its own.  I sometimes leave it blank, but for this post I have shown one use for them.  I have wired many things to the knobs including flowers, greeting cards, antique baking tools (it's in the kitchen), and valentine hearts.  It has only been up for a few months, but the general setup makes it easy for me to come up with ideas.

You may have knobs kicking around in your garage already.  If not, check your area for an architectural salvage store.  I have even seen these in my local Goodwill Stores.  Still another place to check is a builder's surplus store.  These stores have begun popping up all over the place.  Builders sell the extra materials they have or gently used discard from remodels,etc. to the shop owner and they pass the savings on to you.  If you want this project to take on a very modern feel, purchase new sleek knobs.  The cost will be higher, but it may yield results that are more pleasing to you.

This installation is likely to have more impact on a larger scale, but if you are not as committed to that, try it on a smaller scale in a guest bath or 1/2 bath, for example.  There could be many creative uses for it there.  Please send photos of your results to share.  Good luck.  Until then...


... creative re-use. 

Knob Grid

Before you start:

Take your knob and/or existing screw to the home improvement store with you.

Use pencil and make sure you are happy with the layout before you start punching holes.  Erasing pencil marks is much easier than drywall repair. 

What you will need:



Screw/bolt combination.  This is a screw at one end and a bolt at the other (see picture). 


Hammer or mallet.


The instructions:

  1. Draw a grid on paper with dots to represent the knobs.
  2. Determine the number of knobs needed based on your grid.  I made mine 5x7; so 35 knobs.
  3. Determine the overall amount of space you will need.  I placed 6 inches between the hole for each screw; overall space was 24x36.
  4. Determine the center of your art space (this will most likely be right at eye level).
  5. Mark the center with a pencil.  This will be the spot for the very center knob.
  6. Using a level and the center mark as your guide, mark the vertical center line with appropriate space in between each mark.
  7. Next, create the horizontal center line in the same manner.
  8. Mark the rest of the dots with the level using the dots you have made as the guides.
  9. With an awl and mallet, make starter holes at each of the spots you marked. 
  10. Clean knobs; remove any paint.
  11. Screw bolt end of screw/bolt into back of knobs.
  12. Screw the knobs into the wall.  If you are concerned about the weight of the objects you will display, you may wish to place drywall anchors in holes first.