Have you ever wondered how to make cabinet pull backplates? I have. They are great for covering old holes or to upgrade simple cabinet pulls. I’m doing a mini-glow up for our kitchen and these are the cabinet backplates I’ve been dreaming about. Skip ahead to the tutorial.
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But at $44 a pop I needed a better alternative…because I need 25. Plus, I already had these handles.
When Mike and I built the light over our island, I became aware of the world of metal. I saw these 1 1/4″ flat bars and realized I could easily make my own kitchen cabinet backplates. Now, I can teach you how.
Supplies you will need:
- 1 1/4″ x 1/8″ thick aluminum flat bar – you can buy longer lengths of this at a metal supply house near you or online and at a better price. However, I used this one for my first try because they were easy to find. They also have 1 1/2″ wide bars if you want a beefier backplate.
- Acetone – this is for cleaning the metal and getting it ready to accept paint
- Sandpaper – 60 or 80 grit, 320 for sanding before primer and between paint coats
- Clean metal primer
- Spray paint – mine is gold
- Optional: Rub n’ Buff – this added a little lived in patina to the backplate – I used the color “Gold Leaf”
- Grinder or hack saw or sawzall, you need something that can cut metal blades. In a pinch I’ve used my miter saw, but I wouldn’t recommend this without getting a blade that can cut metal.
- Sander, your random orbital will work – I have and used a bench top sander
- Drill or drill press
- Metal or Metal and Wood Drill bit – 3/16″ – 1/8″
- Clamps – I used two
- Measuring tape
- Speed square (optional but definitely helps)
- Sharpie or pencil for marking cuts
Step 1: Measure your handles. Decide how far you want your backplates to project on either side of the handles. Mine are 3/4″ wider on either side. I added 1 1/2″ to the length of my pulls and marked that on my metal bar.
A speed square helped me make a quick, straight line as a guide to cut.
Step 2: Clamp bar on solid surface and cut bar on the mark using your hacksaw, grinder or other cutting tool. If your cuts are perfectly square, now is a good time to get them squared up with the sander.
Step 3: Measure how far apart your mounting holes are on your handles, measure from the center of one hole to the center of the other. Example: mine are 12 3/8″ apart. Make marks on your cut metal centered on the bar exactly where the mounting holes should go on the backplate so that when the drawer pulls are attached the mounting screws can be aligned. The speed square can also help you keep those hole marks centered along the bar.
Helpful tips: just before drilling these, take your handles and make sure the holes line up. If you are making multiple backplates, drill one first, then use it as your template for all the others to mark the holes.
Step 4: Using your drill or drill press and clamps, drill holes through the metal bar.
Step 5: While the bars are clamped, sand all the rough edges. If your cut didn’t end up perfectly square, you can use the sander to straighten out your cut. I slightly rounded all four corners of my backplates.
Note: If you want half-circle ends, you could use a grinder and continue to shape the backplates. Just be sure you use a sharpie or pencil to mark your shape.
Step 6: Once you are satisfied with the shape, clean your backplate with acetone and lightly hand sand the surface and edges with 320 grit.
Use a rag or shop towel to wipe off the dust.
Step 7: Prime with clean metal primer.
Step 8: lightly sand with 320 grit sandpaper and finish with the spray paint of your choice, sanding lightly between coats.
I painted very light coats – about 5, waiting 5-10 minutes between coats.
Optional Step: I let them cure over night and to add a little patina I rubbed Rub n' Buff in Gold leaf on the backplates the next day.
Step 9: Mount to your drawers with the screws provided to mount the handles, sandwiching your new backplate between the handles and the drawer front.
That’s how you make backplates for your kitchen cabinet pulls
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and see how easy and inexpensive it is to make your own backplates. This post is part of a series where I teach how I completely transformed my Ikea kitchen cabinet island into something amazing.
I refaced the island trim and cabinets with mahogany veneer, converted my stainless steel dishwasher into a paneled dishwasher – without replacing it with a panel ready version, built new door and drawer fronts. If you want to learn how I did all that, sign up for my updates so you don’t miss a post.