A dowel is a solid, cylindrical rod that can be made using metal, plastic or wood. It is known as a dowel rod while in its original, manufactured form but can be cut into shorter versions known as dowel pins. Wooden dowels are the most popular and they can even be painted to create color coded dowels. Dowels can be used for many purposes including:

  • Support for wedding cake tiers
  • Furniture shelves support
  • Wrap for cable or textiles
  • Reinforcing cabinets
  • Support for hanging items like picture frames

color coded hardwood squares

How to Make Color Coded Dowels made From Wood

Dowels are typically made by industrial dowel machines because of the volumes. Color coded dowels can be made by painting the ready-made dowels. However, if you want to make your own wooden or color coded dowels at home, it is not an impossible task. You will need a router table, a table saw and of course enough wood. It is also advisable to spare ample time for this process and take safety precautions because you are dealing with power tools.

Here are the steps in making your own color coded dowels.

  • Using a miter saw, make a 40 inch piece of wood. It can be longer or shorter but this is a good size.
  • Set the fence on the table saw to the dowel size you need.
  • Rotate the wood as you cut so as to end up with a square piece.
  • On the router table, set the roundover router bit and adjust the fence so that it is even with the router bit. However, you must leave the complete radius of the bit exposed.
  • Ensure the bit is well set by passing scrap wood through the router table.
  • Mark 2 inches from both ends of the dowel material. Pass the wood through the dowel table, stopping at the 2 inch mark and cutting it.
  • Run the wood through the router again after rotating 90 degree and repeat for the remaining sides.
  • Use the miter saw to cut the ends of the dowel rod where it is not round.
  • Sand the dowel lightly for a good finish.

color coded wooden dowel

Once the dowels are finished, you can either paint or stain them. Painting may be the easier option if you need quick results and if you don’t have the dye. This process is pretty simple. Just paint your dowel with the color you desire but rubbing it before with sand paper may make the wood surface easier to paint. If you are going to paint, invest in a quality brush preferably with synthetic bristle to avoid leaving ugly brush strokes on the painted dowel. Optionally, you can just spray the paint but do it in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask if possible. Color coded dowels are not only useful but cute to look at and can be used creatively as décor for your home or office. Why not go ahead and get yourself one of these dowels anytime?