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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

DIY hack: how to fake antique brass for a DIY hanging rail

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Knowing how to fake antique brass might not be top of everyone's weekend projects list, but if it's on yours then we need to be friends! I’m a big fan of hanging rails in kitchens, particularly the dreamy antique brass kind. They make a lovely feature and are great for styling, ok so that one might not be top of everyone’s list, BUT they are also super handy for keeping things up off the worktop, which makes cleaning much quicker and easier. The only issue I found when looking for a lovely hanging rail to run the length of my kitchen worktop was that they tend to come in standard sizes and get REALLY expensive for long ones and even more so for bespoke sizing. Regular readers will know I don’t ‘do’ really expensive (!), so it was time to improvise and create a DIY brass hanging rail on a budget.

Claire Douglas' kitchen with brass hanging rail

The solution might surprise you, but bear with me - it’s worth it!

After searching through various different metal poles, I found the most cost-effective way to create the hanging rails was to use wooden dowels and spray them with metal effect paint. I sourced the cheapest brackets and hanging hooks that I could find, which were a mixture of metals, and then I gave them the same treatment as the wooden dowels.

How to fake antique brass?

The process was surprisingly simple to create the faux brass hanging rails and only required the following materials

You will need

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Prep the rail

a brass curtain rail and a wooden dowel

Measure the length of the hanging rail required and cut your dowel to size with a saw. Check where the end brackets will be positioned and allow for their width when measuring rail length. With wooden dowels, it’s worth checking beforehand that the wood is in perfect condition, as any missing chunks will spoil the finished look. Also, check that the dowels are perfectly straight, as a bent rail won’t look as effective.

hand holding wooden dowel under kitchen shelf

Prep the brackets and hooks

brass end brackets

Chrome hanging hooks

If you use the same type of brackets as I did, you will need brackets at each end to secure the hanging rail and for longer rails, it is advisable to add an additional bracket in the middle for support. Measure and mark exactly where you want them. Drill tiny pilot holes into the surface you are attaching your rail to, just deep enough to get the self-tapping screw started. The DIY store only had a couple of the brass-coloured brackets in stock (pictured) so I also picked up a load of chrome ones. It didn't matter that they were different colours/finishes because they were all getting sprayed to look consistent anyway.

Apply the brass base coat spray

Gold enamel spray

When spraying, wear a mask and take the dowel, brackets and hooks outside as the fumes are quite unpleasant. Follow the instructions on the can, but the key points are to apply evenly and ensure the whole rail is covered.

Spray the oil-rubbed bronze

oil rubbed bronze paint spray

Also, complete this application outside and take note of the wind direction to avoid the spray coming back in your face (I learnt that one the hard way!) I wanted an antique/aged appearance so the trick with this spray was to apply it UNEVENLY and only very lightly so as not to completely cover the rail. Just a few light patches will give the aged look.

brass hanging rail in kitchen diy

Top Tip: I pressed the hooks and brackets into some polystyrene packaging to hold them in an upright position to help get an even coat whilst spraying. Make sure you allow each cost to dry fully before moving as this can affect the quality of the finish.

Attach brackets (end and middle)

Antique hanging rail under kitchen shelf

Position the end bracket and screw into place, do the same for the middle bracket, but don’t attach the final end bracket at this stage because you won’t be able to fit the pole through if you do! If for any reason you can't screw the brackets on then a good grab adhesive should work as long as the surface it's applied to is really clean, dry and sound.

Fit rail and end bracket

Slide the wooden rail through the middle bracket and into the end one. If you have a central support bracket, you'll need to decide how many hooks you want either side and attach them before fixing the rail into the end brackets. Attach the end bracket to the wall with screws or glue as mentioned above. If using glue, allow plenty of time to dry before adding any items to the rail.

antique brass hanging rail in kitchen sink area

Once complete, add any items you like to the rail and style up a storm. Oh and get ready for lots of compliments on your DIY 'antique' brass(ish) hanging rail!

Thanks for reading, I've got over a hundred blog posts covering DIY projects, room makeovers, styling tips, upcycles and more, so feel free to have a nose via the main menu.

Shout if there's anything you can't find, I'm always happy to help. I've recently set up a shopping page which is packed with recommended products and sale bargains, so check that out and don't forget to look into my online courses if you fancy learning DIY and home styling in a bit more detail.


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