How to Convert a Door Knob to a Tie Back

Written by tal boldo
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How to Convert a Door Knob to a Tie Back
Antique door knobs can be easily converted into chic curtain tie backs. (antique doorknob image by John Keith from

You can create unique window treatments by converting an antique door knob into a curtain tie back. Typically accompanied by large matching back plates, the hardware on antique doors contains charming elements like brass keyholes or profiled edges. Taking old door hardware apart is easy, and glass or ornate vintage door knobs and back plates can be converted into a protruding mount that will hold curtain folds away from a window. Such curtain tie backs have a striking appearance that costs little to fashion and require nothing more than glue to assemble.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Old door knobs
  • Back plates
  • Profiled wood plaque
  • Metal pipe or wood dowel
  • Drill
  • Glue
  • Screws
  • Thin paint brush
  • Metallic spray paint

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  1. 1

    Look for a set of vintage door knobs and matching back plates to create two or more curtain tie backs on each side of the window. Find cheap vintage door hardware at garage sales or estate sales. Roam the homes of old relatives or friends and offer to replace their ancient door knobs with new ones. Look for vintage door knobs and matching back plates in online auctions. Or, search for replica vintage door hardware which will cost far less than original ones.

    How to Convert a Door Knob to a Tie Back
    Look for antique or worn door knobs in garage sales or old homes of family and friends. (Door Knob image by Edward B. from
  2. 2

    Set aside the door lock mechanism as you will not need it to convert the door knob to a tie back. Slip the door knob through the hole in the matching back plate and spread strong glue on the opposite side to fasten the door knob in place, just like gluing a pipe in a hole. Rest the door knob on a flat surface as the glue dries to create a flush finish for the back of your tie back.

    How to Convert a Door Knob to a Tie Back
    Glue the door knob or antique door handle to the back plate. (türschloss image by diogenes from
  3. 3

    Create a matching back plate for your door knob if you cannot find an original. Buy a profiled wood plaque from a craft store and drill a hole at its centre to match the diameter of the bottom of the door knob. Paint the plaque with spray paint to match the style of the door knob, or use crackled finish paint for an antique look. Spread glue inside the hole and slip the door knob in place.

    How to Convert a Door Knob to a Tie Back
    To create an ornate back plate, look for a profiled or carved wood plaque at craft stores. (door image by Dozet from
  4. 4

    Extend the knob for fuller curtains. Buy a metal pipe at the plumbing section of a home improvement store. Take the door knob with you and slip the pipe through its end to make sure the diameter of the pipe fits the diameter of the hole in the door knob. Use a 4- to 6-inch long pipe, depending on your preference and use a metal-cutting hand saw or steel cutting saw blade in an electric saw. Alternatively, buy a wood dowel in the correct diameter and use a wood cutting saw. Spray paint the pipe or dowel with a metallic colour to match the door knob and back plate. Spread glue inside the bottom of the door knob and slip the extension rod in, then glue its other end through the hole in the back plate.

    How to Convert a Door Knob to a Tie Back
    To festoon a full curtain away from the window, add a protruding extension to the tie back. (luxury curtain image by Andrejs Pidjass from
  5. 5

    Attach the door knob tie backs to the wall using the predrilled holes in the back plates which previously attached the hardware to a door. Use the screws that came with the doorknob or replace them with screws that fit well inside the predrilled holes. Drill holes on either side of the back plates if you created them from wood, fitting the diameter of the hole to the size of the screws you select for attaching the tie back to the wall. To add uniformity, use a thin paint brush to dab matching paint over the screw heads once the tie backs are mounted.

    How to Convert a Door Knob to a Tie Back
    Drape the curtains over the tie backs for an elegant window treatment. (tall window image by John Sfondilias from

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