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DIY Wooden Café Rail

The biggest issue I’ve had with my ledge shelf over my board and batten in my mudroom was that things would slide off of it! 

To fix this issue I crafted up a plan to use the same method I did for my DIY Wooden Door Pulls to make a Café Rail that would better hold décor on my ledge shelf. 


  • Two 48 inch 5/8 inch dowel rod (depending on length)
  • 1/2 inch copper T fitting
  • Four Brad hole T-nuts (or more depending on size)
  • Glue (liquid nails or gorilla glue)
  • 220-Grit Sandpaper
  • Rub and Buff or Spray Paint (optional)
  • Pre-stain Wood Conditioner
  • Stain or Paint
  • Top Coat


  • Miter Saw
  • Drill

To make this café rail, I followed the same steps I did for the DIY Wooden Door Pulls.

The only difference from my door pulls is that instead of gluing a 1/2 inch piece of dowel in the backside of the copper T’s I glued brad hole T-nuts into the backside.  The T-nuts have a circular base with 3 holes that I used to attach the café rail to the ledge shelf. 

Step One: Glue T-Nuts to Copper Ts

To create a way to attach the cafe rail to my ledge shelf I started by gluing the T-nuts into the base of the copper T’s.  I used gorilla glue to hold the T-nuts in place.

Step Two: Finish the T’s

My T-nuts were silver and not copper.  This was not an issue for me because I planned to spray paint them.  If you do not want to paint or finish your T’s then you will need to be sure to find copper T-nuts.

Once the glue had dried, I spray painted my T-units in a flat black spray paint. 

Step Three: Finish the Wood Dowels

Prior to glue all the parts of the pull together, I decided to finishing each piece individually.  

I started by lightly sanding the dowel pieces with 220-grit sand paper.  Then wiped them down with denatured alcohol. 

Then applied a pre-stain wood conditioner and let that to dry for about an hour. 

Once the conditioner was dry, I then applied my stain.  I used General Finishes Antique Walnut.  Then I used General Finished Flat Out top coat.  I love the look of the Flat Out top coat, there is no sheen at all but creates a nice protective layer over the stain finish.

The great part about these dowels is they take stain great, but if you wanted to paint them instead they would look great painted! 

Tip: Wear a glove and use a sock pulled over your hand to stain the dowels.

Step Four: Glue Rail Together

With the dowels finished, I glued all the parts together with the gorilla glue.

Tip: If you are placing this between two walls (like I did) I would recommend assembling in place so that you can create a tight fit. 

Step Five: Attach to the Shelf

To attach the shelf to the shelf, I used 1/2 inch screws and made sure to drill them into the shelf very slowly since my shelf is only 3/4 inch deep.  I wanted to be careful to not drill through the shelf itselfl

Links to Create a Wooden Cafe Rail

DIY Wooden Cafe Rail

Prep Time 1 hour
Build Time 3 hours
Dry Time 8 hours


  • Miter Saw or Miter Box
  • Drill


  • 5/8 inch Dowel I used two 48 inch dowels.
  • 1/2 inch Copper T Fitting I used 4.
  • Brad Hole T-nuts I used 4.
  • Gorilla Glue (clear)
  • Spray Paint (or Rub and Buff)
  • Pre-stain Wood Conditioner (If staining the dowels)
  • Stain or Paint
  • Top Coat (If staining the dowels)


  • Glue the T-nuts to the base of the copper T fitting.
  • Finish the T-units.
  • Finish the wood dowels.
  • Glue the rail parts together.
  • Attach to the shelf.

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