DIY Industrial Towel Bar

Jump to recipe!

We’re slowly but surely moving forward with updating the decor in our kitchen, I built the kitchen island awhile ago and it has really added to the functionality of the kitchen, and this weekend I’ll finally get around to installing the new Delta Touch2O faucet to the kitchen sink. The biggest problem we have right now is corralling all the hand towels while we’re cooking and baking. At any one time there can be 3 to 4 towels floating around the kitchen and inevitably there is never one around when you need one. After much discussion I finally managed to convince Liz that a towel bar with an industrial feel would fit the style of the island. Here’s how I assembled the Industrial Towel Bar.

Even though you wouldn’t think of pipes and fittings looking good along side the antiques, it really looks pretty cool! We bought all the supplies for less than $20…score!

Let’s gather our supplies…

Industrial Towel Bar Supplies

  • 1/2 inch Black Pipe – 12 inches in length, you can use a different length to fit your situation
  • 2 – 1/2 inch 90 degree Elbows
  • 2 – 1/2 inch Close Nipples
  • 2 – 1/2 inch Floor Plates

Step 1

  • Use two 8 inch pipe wrenches or slip-joint pliers and attach the elbows to the ends of your pipe. Cover the jaws of the the pipe wrenches or pliers with a heavy shop rag to lessen the chance of gouging the pipe and fittings.

Step 2

  • Now thread the close nipples into the elbows, do not tighten at this time.

Step 3

  • Attach the floor plates to the close nipples and tighten by hand only, you don’t need to have these connections super tight you’re not using it to hold water so just snug it up.
  • Make any adjustments to the towel bar to get both floor plates to align up flush on the surface you will be mounting the bar too.
  • Apply a protective coating using a clear polyacrylic, this will prevent the pipe and fitting from rusting. We used Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss Polycrylic.


  • Mount the bar using 12 x 1″ stainless steel wood screws. Be sure to pre-drill your holes so you don’t split the wood

This project was quick and easy, in less than an hour, including drying time, the Industrial Towel Bar was up and ready to use. Follow along with our Kitchen remodeling projects and learn how to build your own Kitchen Island!

Linking to…Made By You MondaySaturday Night Special Sundae Scoop Party


  1. April Adcock says:

    What kind of coating did you apply? I didn’t see this step.

  2. Do these pipes come threaded or does it have to be done at the hardware store? I have never seen any black pipes, only the steel colored ones.

    1. Douglas Latham says:

      Yes, these pipes come threaded. I purchased these at our local Ace Hardware store. But I have also seen them at the Big Box Hardware Stores like Lowes.

    2. Hi I was wondering what store you purchased the plumbing pipe and can you get different material, or galvanized, hammered, acid wash?

      1. Hi Sherry, hardware stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s or Ace Hardware will have the plumbing pipes and you can get them in different finishes.

  3. Does the clear coat also protect the towel from the pipe grease or did you wash and get the grease off as well?

    1. Douglas Latham says:

      Chris I washed the pipe and fittings before I assembled them to clean off any oil residue so the clear coat would stick. Hope that answers your question for you.

  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have made a few towel bars now and a toilet paper holder for our remodeled bathroom and they look amazing and were very easy to find the supplies and put together. But I was curious if you sanded the pipe in between each coat of polycrylic like it says to do on the can or if you skipped this step? And if you did sand what grit did you use and how long did you allow each coat to dry before reapplying?

    1. Douglas Latham says:


      I did not sand in between coats. If I had chosen to do that I would recommend using 00 steel wool or 220 grit sandpaper.

  5. I am making one and attached it to the bottom of a shelf so I can hang up my clothes when I take them out of the dryer. This is going to look so awesome!

  6. Did you also paint the bar before applying the clear coat? It looks more black in the finished picture. Is this just the result after applying the polycrylic? Love it!!

    1. Hi Caraline, there was no additional paint on the pipe, it was from the poly applied to it.

      1. Thank you for the prompt reply! I’m making one today for my bathroom – awesome idea!

  7. Gerald Sim says:

    Hi, I love the idea for this industrial looking towel bar. The problem is, I am unable to get these parts in my region. Could you share with me if you know of any online websites that sells and ships these items to Asia region?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Gerald, you can find the items on Amazon.

      1. Awesome. Thanks for the instructions and advice.

  8. Love your idea for a simple and functional towel bar in the kitchen!
    Might I suggest to you, to add instructions to make sure each end of the black pipe is threaded for 1/2″ also… It would be frustrating if someone had to delay their project to go back out and have this done.. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *