DIY Before & Afters DIY Projects - All Kitchen Kitchen DIY Projects

From Kitchen Drawer To Hidden Paper Towel Holder

Well, if you liked my pony walls, you’re going to be blown away by this project!  😀

Okay, just kidding.  This took me all of 30 minutes to do, but I was so ridiculously proud of myself.  Why?  Because it’s kind of an organization project, and let’s just say that organization is not where my talent lies.  And that’s an understatement.  I stink at organization.

But in my kitchen, I needed a place for my paper towels.  Yep, paper towels.  You see, I hate seeing paper towel rolls out on the counter or anywhere visible, no matter how pretty the holder is.  And since the main thing I use paper towels for is food (like when I make plantain chips and take them out of the oil and let them drain on plate lined with paper towels), putting them under the sink where the trash can and household cleaners are simply isn’t an option.

So I decided to reconfigure my dishtowel drawer so that the front part is a hidden paper towel holder.  Yes, indeed.  Prepare to be blown away…

In-drawer paper towel holder - 9

Impressive, right?!  Right??!!  I mean, forget pony walls and such.  This is sheer engineering genius right here, folks!  😀

It all started with a 1-inch dowel rod.  In one end, I screwed a magnet onto it.  This is one of those suuuuper strong neodymium magnets, and I found some that had a hole in the middle just the right size for a screw to fit through.  I found these at Home Depot.

In-drawer paper towel holder - 1

Then on the other end, I screwed on two washers  — a larger one to keep the smaller one from going through the hole in the side of the drawer, and the smaller one so that I could use a screw to hold them on.  (The center hole on the larger washer was way too big for a screw to hold it on.)

In-drawer paper towel holder - 2

Then I measured and marked for placement of the dowel (just using a full roll of paper towels to gauge where it needed to go), and using my 1 1/8-inch spade bit, I drilled a hole in each side of the drawer.

In-drawer paper towel holder - 3

You can see the holes on each side here…

In-drawer paper towel holder - 4

And taaa daaa!!  Here’s my new hidden paper towel holder…

In-drawer paper towel holder - 5

The end with the two washers screwed into it keeps the dowel from sliding through the hole.

In-drawer paper towel holder - 6

And to secure it on the other end, I hot glued two washers together, and then stuck them to the end of the dowel that has the super strong neodymium magnet attached to it.

In-drawer paper towel holder - 7

It worked!  And it’s wonderful.  And it only took me 30 minutes to complete this engineering marvel.

In-drawer paper towel holder - 8

But most importantly, my paper towels can now be hidden away out of sight, and they don’t have to live under the sink with the garbage can.  And my dishtowel drawer is large enough that there’s still plenty of room in there for my dishtowels.  Huzzah!!

😀



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63 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lynne
    January 15, 2015 at 8:55 am

    OMIGAWD you are a GENIUS!! I have been trying to think of where to store my paper towels for SO long and presto you have solved that problem!! BRILLIANT! Am stealing your idea toute suite!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Bonnie
    January 15, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Your pony walls are very impressive. But this? Downright clever!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sandra
    January 15, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Yep…..Blown Away!!! How did this idea come to you??

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

      In a dream! I just remember that there were angels, and a staircase to heaven…

      😀

      Okay, maybe not. 😀 I was standing in my kitchen with the drawer open, and the paper towel roll was sitting right there on the countertop. I noticed that it would be a perfect fit, and an idea was born!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Sandra
        January 16, 2015 at 8:50 am

        I love your stream of consciousness!!! As a fellow musician, I appreciate following that method of inspiration!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Bridget
    January 15, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Why stop at paper towels? You could have a whole drawer for aluminum foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, etc.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

      You have just blown my mind. More things added to my “to do” list!! 😀

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Phoebe
        January 15, 2015 at 3:15 pm

        Could you also screw the washers outside the drawer? So that you could pull the magnet off without chasing them? Or is it impossible to make a hole on them?

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          Holly C
          January 15, 2015 at 4:57 pm

          Okay NOW I am blown away! The paper towel part was pure genius, but the thought of a drawer for foil/plastic wrap/parchment paper takes it to an entirely other level of WIN.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Elizabeth A
      January 15, 2015 at 10:57 am

      You just made me a happy girl. The fam need paper towels where they can see them but using this for all the other necessities is awesome.

      Keep the great ideas coming Kristi.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Sue
      January 15, 2015 at 11:14 am

      I have never seen anything like this but its GENIUS! Love it and agree that you could put all your ‘rolled’ items in a drawer like this. Easy Peasy!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Janet L
    January 15, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Who knew? That is a great idea!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tammy
    January 15, 2015 at 9:41 am

    NICE..See it’s the little things that makes us happy..!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Fay
    January 15, 2015 at 9:46 am

    “Off the top of your head” you just found yet another solution to a nagging problem – and it wasn’t even on your 2015 “things to accomplish list”. I always thought I was creative but you take the Genius Wonder Woman award!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susan Tofteland
    January 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Great idea! I just wish I had more than three drawers and that they were deep enough to do this!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    1725parker
    January 15, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Neat! I was thinking you were going to create a slot in the front of the drawer and thread the towels through so you didn’t have to open the drawer to get at the paper towels, but that would require cutting the front of your beautiful drawer …

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Darlene
      January 15, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Just thread paper towels over the fromt of the drawer and leave the drawer slightly open – no cutting or sawing on the drawer needed !!!! andddddddd when you have the amount of paper towels you want, push the drawer shut and tear them off!!! This idea could go on an on for making your life easier!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Alta
    January 15, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Another innovative solution to a pesky problem! “and all it took was 30 minutes”. Isn’t organization fun????

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brenda
    January 15, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Is there no limit to your amazingness?? I sure hope not, because I just love reading and seeing pics of what you are doing!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 10:17 am

      There actually is a limit, but thank goodness I’m rationing it so that I’m not scheduled to run out until November 12, 2025. So I’ll be around quite a while longer. 😀

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brenda Pawloski
    January 15, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Kristi, protect yourself from someone stealing this idea for production! It is genius.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    janpartist
    January 15, 2015 at 10:09 am

    The idea its self is clever but the way you installed it is beyond clever!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Linda J
    January 15, 2015 at 10:09 am

    You’re right! Sheer genius. I am really impressed and fully intend to steal this idea. I might even take all the credit for thinking of it, however, I don’t think a darn soul would believe me! lol

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Frances Malone
    January 15, 2015 at 10:10 am

    I came up with this idea 5 or so years ago but I use a pvc pipe with corks to hold it in place. This has been such a great addition to my kitchen.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Hmmm…I can’t envision it. If you want to send me a pic, I’ll include it on the post. People might prefer your design over mine!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Paige
    January 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Do you think it would have worked to put the strong magnet on the inside of the drawer and a washer on the end of the rod for the one side and then the washer/hole combo for the other? I would like to drill less holes in my drawer and would probably not line them up straight! I think those magnets are strong enough to hold the weight of the dowel and the paper towels . . . Just a thought. Thanks for another great idea!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      I would suggest using about four of the magnets on each side if you go that route. They’re super strong, but you’d want it REALLY strong since they would be the only thing holding the dowel in place.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Anne Looby
    January 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I was going to ask the same thing Paige. I don’t want to drill holes, can we just glue the magnets to the drawer walls and to the end of the dowel? Krisii what size dowel did you use? What exactly are these magnets called and what department are they in? I hate going to HD and having people look at me like I am the villiage idiot on the loose when I say “but Kristi said”…..so give us exact instructions!!!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      I used a 1-inch dowel rod. The magnets are called neodymium magnets. They’re the only ones they have that are silver in color. The regular magnets are black. I found them on the aisle that has all of the screws, nails, nuts, washers, bolts, etc. Just ask where the magnets are, and you should find them there.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Maggie
    January 15, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Absolutely brilliant! I also like the idea of adding foil,clear wrap etc.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Matthew
      January 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      The only problem with adding foil or plastic wrap is that you will need to find a way to cut them.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    angela jones
    January 15, 2015 at 11:34 am

    “Changing the paper towel roll is now a 10 minute process”. Perhaps you can use this guide to divide up the rest of the drawers! http://www.kevinandamanda.com/whatsnew/house-and-home/diy-kitchen-utensil-drawer-organizer-easy-and-cheap.html

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      It just takes about 10 seconds. 🙂 Nothing has to be unscrewed to change the paper towel roll.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Margo
        January 27, 2015 at 4:56 pm

        OK….I’m the one dummy that can’t figure out how you change out the paper towels just by looking at your picture. Please help!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Guerrina
    January 15, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Love it! My drawer is not deep enough for a paper towel roll and the 4 y/o needs to see it, BUT I love the ideas for the foil, plastic wrap, wax paper. Seems I would have to install one of the “cutters” from one of those boxes somewhere usable on the drawer…hmmm.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sheila
    January 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

    GREAT IDEA! Love it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    JeanieP
    January 15, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    This is brilliant! I love the way your mind works, Kristi! You have given me something to add to my ‘to-do-list’, heck, might not even make it to the list, thirty minutes?? Hey, I can do that today. Keep the short and simple projects coming (along with your great BIG projects and tutorials). Love them all! big or small.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    barb
    January 15, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Shut. Up.

    THAT is brilliant. I just shared with the entire office crew 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jamie
    January 15, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    But how do you change out the roll? Do you have to unscrew everything?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sukina Johnson
    January 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Hello Ms. Genius!! Make this idea pinable! Pintrest needs some fresh updates! Lol Love this!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sarah
    January 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I love this. I don’t like paper towels on the counter.
    For a no drill option,..I wonder if there are any tension rods that are short enough to fit in a drawer? HMMM…

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Linda
      January 15, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Yes and even if you had to cut a little off it, you can still make the spring work 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Maggie
    January 15, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    O.K. I am stilled stumped. If the magnet is screwed onto the dowel how do you pop it off to change out the roll?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      The dowel with the magnet on the end goes through the hole in the side of the drawer. On the outside (left side) of the drawer, two washers (glued together) stick to the magnet to hold the dowel in place. To change the towel roll, just pop off the washers (which stick to the magnet), and slide the dowel out to the right. Nothing needs to be unscrewed to change the paper towel roll.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sarah
    January 15, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Not nearly as finished looking as yours, but a no drill option
    http://www.alejandra.tv/blog/2012/05/creative-paper-towel-storage/

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Andrea
    January 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    I know you say organizing is not your thing but this is what “organization junkies” like me live for. I don’t mind papertowels on the counter but I can’t stand the ugly designs on them. Somehow, I will make this work!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Heather
    January 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Well, I love it. Coincidentally, I have just been thinking about how tired I am of seeing our paper towels on the counter. I will have to hunt my kitchen for an appropriate drawer!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Elisabeth
    January 15, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Brilliant! I’m just so relieved to hear you’re no good at organising stuff! Good grief! She’s actually no good at something! Ha ha ha. Phew! 🙂 Well, pat yourself on the back, maybe you ARE good at organising after all!
    Well done Kristi!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Len Williams Carver
    January 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Brilliant ! Genius! Bravo Bravo!!! you never cease to amaze me, great invention. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Connie
    January 15, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Oh, I love it! I also hate the look of paper towel out and I have never found a holder that really works well when you try to pull off a sheet with one hand. I only wish I had a drawer near the sink that is the correct size. But… I will certainly glue the idea to the front of my memory to use when we add an island with a prep sink. Such a clever idea.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    SheilaG @ Plum Doodles
    January 15, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Ok, I need to call our cabinet guy and add one more thing to the list. Yes, we have a cabinet guy for our new house, ’cause I’m not Kristi. 😀 Actually, I could probably at least do this little project myself once the cabs are installed, couldn’t I?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Janice Dinse
    January 15, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    So how do you put a new roll in when that one is empty?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Just pop off the washers from the left side (the ones that are being held on by a magnet only), and slide the dowel rod to the right.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    MarillaAnne
    January 15, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Ok I just showed this to my husband and …..

    I said, “At some point I want this in one of our homes.”

    He said: But how do they come out? Is there a slot in the bottom?

    I said: No, you can just open the drawer… Or leave the drawer cracked open a bit and let it peep out.

    He said: No, it needs to have a slot in the bottom. Then we can say, “Yes, our drawer is very tired. Its tongue is hanging out.” Come on. We don’t want any of this Alpha stuff with it sticking out on top.

    At which point I died laughing and started pecking out this reply and he promptly went to sleep.

    I enjoy your posts. You bring back many good memories. I grew up in Texas in a home that was under constant reconstruction. When an architect assistant marries a construction helper turned machinist, the result is never a remodeling.

    Enjoy have fun ☺

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)
    January 20, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Kristi, I love this! Also love the idea someone mentioned of storing aluminum foil etc… that way, too. Here’s another neat way…would love to do this in a kitchen one day. http://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/decorating/kitchen-organization/kitchen-finishing-touches-paper-towel-cubby

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Coni
    October 31, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Really cool invention…Thank you! My motto is, “If it ain’t pretty, it doesn’t belong on my counters.” I’d love to implement your design in my kitchen but hesitate to drill holes in my drawer. Do you suppose using closet rod end holders to secure the dowel might work instead?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      November 1, 2015 at 1:50 am

      I do think it would work as long as you install the end holder so that the opening is going the opposite direction from the direction you pull the paper towels. Otherwise, you’ll pull the rod out of the holder each time you pull off a paper towel, and that would be incredibly frustrating.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Coni
        November 1, 2015 at 11:24 am

        Thanks much for your reply and the additional tip. Yep, it’s on my To Do List, for sure.

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