cabinet knob finial

Makeover old curtain rods with DIY finials

Cabinet knobs make great finials for old curtain rods

When it comes to curtain rods, it’s all about the finials. They add style and flair to what would otherwise be an ordinary pole.

But what if you can’t afford to replace your old curtain rods. Even just buying new finials can be expensive.

So I have a quick and cheap trick for giving a glam new look to old curtain rods. You’ll be saving money and recycling at the same time.

Get creative and save money

When you’re decorating on a budget, you have to get creative. I have quite a few of those basic cafe curtain rods, you know, the kind you get at discount stores. My kitchen is being renovated and those tired old rods don’t fit with my artistic vision. But after shopping for new ones I realized they were actually going to cost more than my new curtains. So then I thought, are those rods really that bad? Maybe I can figure something out.

Basic curtain rod from discount store

cheap curtain rod with brass finial

Quick and cheap solution to update old cafe rods

And here’s what I came up with, a simple, fast and cheap curtain rod makeover. I decided to replace those small ugly brass finials with a cabinet knob. They’re a lot cheaper than finials and there are many to choose from at your local hardware store.

cabinet knob for finial

These are the ones I selected. They were $2.50 apiece and I needed four of them. That’s a total of $10 for “new” rods.

I think they’re going to look fantastic with my new retro modern chandelier. The round silver cabinet knobs echo the design of the chandelier.

How to replace finials on plain cafe rods

There are two ways to replace the finials. You can either remove the old finial or leave it on and use it as a base for the new finial. The method you choose depends on the size of the knob you’re using and how well the base will fit into the rod.

The best scenario is to choose knobs that will fit inside the rod pretty snugly. In that case you need to remove the old finial as outlined in Method 1.

For knobs that will be either too large or too small to fit inside the old rod, please refer to Method 2.

Method 1: remove the old finial

removing old curtain finial

I discovered that brass finials are just clamped onto the end of the rod. The rod extends all the way inside the finial. With a bit of effort you could actually pull them off but you risk twisting and warping the rod.

The best and fastest way to remove the old finial is to cut it. Find the seam in the rod, take a utility knife and start cutting through the finial.

Cut a slit into the bottom of the finial

removing old curtain rod finial

Keep cutting until you can get the utility knife in to pry up an edge.

Peel back the edge with needlenose pliers

removing old finial

This is similar to opening a sardine can.

Pull off old finial

pulling off old finial

After you’ve peeled a bit of the metal back, the old finial will just come right off. The whole process takes about five minutes.

Now it’s time to insert the new cabinet knob finials


The knobs I chose are a pretty close fit.

Glue the finials for added security

gluing new finials to curtain rod

Put a little E-6000 inside the rod, a good glue for nonporous surfaces. This step ensures the finials will not pop out.

Put more glue around the base of the knob

glue cabinet knob finial

 Insert the knob into the curtain rod

new finial on old curtain rod

You can see some of the paint is gone near the end of the rod. If that bothers you it can be touched up with some enamel paint. Let it dry and cure per the instructions on the product.

I’ve decided not to do that because the curtain will completely cover up that spot.

Make sure to push the knob down as far as you can

new finial on old curtain rod

Let the knobs dry overnight by standing the rods up in a corner. Any excess glue that oozes out will go down inside the knob.

Before and after

old and new curtain rod finials

The new finials have a lot more impact.

Method 2: use the old finial as a base for the cabinet knob

When the base of your cabinet knob is either too large or too small to fit snugly inside the rod

You may find knobs that are too narrow at the base to make a tight connection inside the rod. In that case you can make an appropriately sized hole in the old finial for the knob to fit into.

This will also work in situations where the base is much bigger around than the rod. Take the screw that comes with the knob and screw it into the bottom. Then make a hole in the finial to fit the size of the screw.

Begin by punching a hole in the top of the finial

punching hole in old finial

The metal is thin so this is easy to do.

Enlarge the hole with a bigger instrument

putting hole in finial

A can opener can create an even larger opening

putting hole in finial

Finish by gluing the knob to the old finial

Then you would take the new knob and put glue around the base (or the screw if that’s being used as a post). Insert new knob into the old finial. Let dry overnight.

Bonus tip: paint the old finial

old finial with glittery paint

Here’s an even easier way to change the look of an old cafe rod with paint and glitter.

I painted the brass finial with silver metallic paint and while it was wet dipped it into microfine silver glitter (‘cuz that’s how I roll). After the glitter dried I brushed on two coats of Delta satin varnish, drying in between coats.

And there you have it, curtain rod glam makeover complete!

curtain on new madeover rod

I’m really happy with the look. Now I just need to get my new curtains.

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