A few months ago I wrote about refinishing my late Aunt’s dresser from the 1960s. However, in the move we lost one of the original knobs and haven’t had any luck finding it. Since she passed in November it seems even more important to make a replacement knob.
I certainly didn’t want to go with all new knobs for sentimental reasons, so I decided to do some research on making DIY drawer knobs with Plaster of Paris from a mold. It turns out that it can be done! After gathering supplies from my local arts and crafts store I decided to give it a try.
I started with some plain modeling clay from Walmart of all places. I bought it in the kids arts and crafts section and it was less than $5.00. Much cheaper than the stuff at both Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Using one of the existing knobs I pressed it firmly into my mound of modeling clay. This would serve as my mold. I did this several times to make sure I got all the detail and that the image wasn’t distorted as I pulled the clay off the knob.
Next, I mixed up a tiny amount of plaster of paris according to their directions. Since the knob was so small I used 3 teaspoons of plaster and 2 teaspoons of water. I carefully spooned it into my mold and tapped the mold on the counter to help release any air bubbles. I also smoothed out the top of the plaster and waited about an hour and a half before carefully peeling off the mold. I let it dry for another 12 hours before doing anything else.
After it dried, I carefully peeled off the mold and this is the result:
Since this mold didn’t have a place for a screw I decided a threaded screw and a nut would have to do the trick. I used liquid nails to affix the screw head to the plaster and then put a tiny section of 1/4″ PVC around the screw to mimic the original knob. I wanted to be sure the knob looked similar from the sides, as well as, the front.
After the liquid nails dried I spray painted it with Rustoleum Flat Black spray paint.
To achieve the copper finish of the original knobs, I used DecoArt’s Rich Espresso finish and brushed it on with a soft artist’s brush.
After it dried, it was surprised at how close it looked to the original. I thought for sure, I’d have to layer another color, but I decided not to mess with it, because I would certainly mess it up trying to make it “perfect”.
The final step was paining a couple coats of clear Minwax Polycrylic. I figured that this would give the knob some added durability and keep the paint from chipping.
Unless I get up close and personal and compare each knob, I really can’t tell which one is the replacement. Saving the original knobs was extremely important to me and making a replacement was as close as I could get. I think my Aunt would be really pleased with the result.