Missing Hardware? Here’s a fix

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I bought this great dresser a while back. I loved the curviness of it….the details….so very pretty.

But it was missing a handle.

Not too big of a deal but replacing hardware can get pricey….and trying to match it was not gonna happen.

So….I bought it anyway. I loved it and decided it needed to come home with me.

I’d figure out what to do about the handles later. Here’s a hint. πŸ˜‰

Missing Handle - Here's a fix - Make one to match

Okay, that’s a little more than a hint. But let’s continue….

Typically, I don’t buy pieces that have missing hardware unless:

  1. I really, really  like it and the price is right.
  2.  I’m planning on changing out the hardware anyway, which sometimes I do.
  3.  I get distracted and don’t notice. Has been known to happen.

Once home I went through my stash of knobs and pulls hoping to find a way to make it work.
(change out just a couple, move them around, etc)


Actually, I liked the hardware  that was on there and didn’t really want to switch any out.

So……I did what any other crafty, creative girl would do. –>I decided I’d make one to match!

Surely somehow I can mold one of the others and make one.

Somehow, right?

So off to the craft store I went and I found this…… {affiliate link}*Sculpey Clay .

Sculpey clay - artsychicksrule.com #diy #hardware #missinghandle

Ok,  I must give credit to the store manager who knows me as I am a regular AND he was also my cell phone rep before he came to this store.
Things you didn’t need to know, I know, but just funny to me.

So I tell him what I am trying to do and asked which product would be best.

We worked through it a bit and agreed on what I should use and how I should do it.

Thanks so much Mr. Mobile Phone Rep turned Craft Store Manager friend!

Here’s how I did it…..

  • First I made a mold of one of the handles using the clay.
  • I then baked it in the oven to harden it. I used an old tile I had laying around to bake it on (as shown above).
  • After the mold cooled I squished more clay down into it really well. (Be sure to sprinkle the mold with some powder so you can get it back out. I figured that out the hard way. I used a small paint brush to get the powder down into the crevices well.)
  • Next, I cut two small pieces of wire to put in the ends. (to hopefully add some strength & stability) I just put it in the ends where it would hook but I’m sure if you bent it to shape you could put it through the whole handle. After I did that I took a sharp knife and shaved off the excess clay. (try to do this as even as you can. I ended up making two because the first one was kinda bumpy and I didn’t like it)
  • Slowly and gently I pulled the soft clay out of the mold. I laid it out onto the tile, and using the real handle as a guide, made sure it was the same shape as the original. (it’s soft and can get a bit out of shape so just hold the real handle over the top to be sure it’s right before you bake it)

After it cooled, I took some fine sandpaper and rubbed away any rough edges.

Voila! New matching handle!

Pictured below, on the left, is the clay mold I made. The finished “new” handle I made from the mold is far right with the real handle in the middle.

Missing Hardware

Note: Another option for this would be a resin type of material. That’s a bit pricier alternative however.

I sanded the edges to smooth them and then sprayed it, along with the rest of the hardware, with Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.
(LOVE this stuff…you can see all the things I’ve painted with it (–>transformed) in this post –>here.)

I decided to add just a touch of gold antiquing to the edges of each piece after spraying.

To see the complete re-do of this dresser–> look here.

Here is the finished handle up close and personal.

Missing hardware - here's a fix - make one to match - artsychicksrule.com #diy #hardware #missinghandle


How about that??

Now I am not certain how well this will hold up over time but I know for my purposes it is perfect.
This dresser is in my study and the handle will not be pulled on often.

Or ever really.

So my suggestion is that this be used for those pieces that won’t get much use.

I suspect it is more for looks and not as sturdy as a regular metal handle.
This is a great fix for those pieces that have lovely old antique hardware and no matches can be found, etc.

Or as in my case, furniture with hardware you like (and only one missing).

Aubusson Blue Dresser Plus Missing Handle I Made to Match - artsychicksrule.com #diy #hardware #missinghandle

What do you think? Would you ever guess it’s a “fake”?

Think this is something you might try the next time you have missing hardware?


Follow along here! –> Instagram ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest 

You might also like this:

Many Uses of Oil Rubbed Bronze

Oil Rubbed Bronze - artsychicksrule.com #orb #oilrubbedbronze

UPDATE: Apartment Therapy featured this post on their site—>You can see it here.

Sharing with:

*This post contains an affiliate link (for the Sculpey Clay I used) and is noted by an asterisk. See here for full disclosure.

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  1. says

    OMG! I am SOOooooo impressed! What a FANTASTIC job you made of this project. You should be really proud of yourself.

    I only just found your blog, and have already set up to follow by email, as you seem like my kind a girl friend!

    Judi in the UK

  2. says

    What a fantastic fix for a missing handle! I was checking out a chest in my garage two days ago so I could get it ready for painting and discovered that it is missing one part of a drop handle. I think the husband got rid of it accidentally when he cleaned out the garage a few weeks ago. Anyway, your project will be the perfect solution for me to replace the missing parts. Thanks so much! Sue

  3. Ani says

    Can you describe the last step of the gold antiquing? Is it as simple as a dry brush of gold paint? It looks so pretty!! Thanks!

    • Nancy says

      Hi Ani,
      Oh, this was very simple really. I just dipped my finger in and wiped lightly onto a paper towel…then I rubbed lightly over the edges of the handles. Very light hand with a tiny bit of product works well! Hope this helps. :)

  4. says

    WOW!!! I was just browsing through your blog and I’m really impressed with your talent and creativity!!! This is just genius… I’d love to hear how they’re holding up! Since its in your own home, do y’all just try not to use that one? I’m seriously in awe!!!! Yay you!!!

    • Nancy says

      Thanks so much Pia! :) Yes, it is a dresser I have in my study. It’s not opened and closed often…at all. So yes, mostly for looks. I do open the drawer on occasion but am mindful of it. I honestly can’t say how it would hold up to daily opening and closing but for my purposes it has worked perfectly!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. says

    Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long)
    so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for inexperienced blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.
    birthday party themes for kids recently posted…birthday party themes for kidsMy Profile

    • hausfrauchelsea says

      This is exactly how you’d replace a missing piece on an antique frame. I bought a frame from a yard sale and the lady was a frame repairer. She said she gets a bit of sculpey, makes an impression to make a mold, then repeats the process in reverse, then glues it on/in. It wouldn’t really hold up well for a dresser with kids or daily use, but for decorative pieces, it’s the PERFECT solution.

      • Nancy says

        Oh yes, I am sure you can use it for quite a lot! I also use wood filler for smaller areas of repair work. (that aren’t as intricate as a frame, etc would be!) You are correct, the handle I made is mostly for decorative purposes! I do use it but I am gentle when doing so (and yes, not likely kid friendly! πŸ˜‰ )
        thank you!!
        Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    • Nancy says

      Ha, Thanks so much!! :) My mind always finds a work around…even if they don’t always work!! πŸ˜‰ This one just did!


  6. Lou says

    Can’t wait to try this on a piece that I broke the hardware while taking it off to refinish! Been searching flea markets and antique stores for two years for a replacement so that the piece would look balanced. Thanks for the great idea!

  7. says

    Awesome!!!!! I am very impressed! I could not believe you could actually make one to match, but you did it!! And I will definately try it when I need to do the same!!

    • Nancy says

      Thanks Laura! :)
      Yes, that’s how my crazy brain works!! Although, sometimes what’s in my brain and what actually transpires doesn’t always work out as well as this one!! lol

  8. Cheryl says

    I’m a bit late to this party, but WOW that handle is incredible! You did an amazing job. The dresser is beautiful!

    • Nancy says

      Hi Cheryl!
      Never too late! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much!! It was a fun little “experiment” lol…and it worked, so all the better!! πŸ˜‰


    • Nancy says

      Thanks Beth!! lol….sometimes things that come through this brain of mine work…and sometimes they don’t!! πŸ˜‰ This one did surprisingly!

    • Nancy says

      Thanks Heather! Yep, it surprised me that it worked so well. But I am kind of stubborn and determined like that! πŸ˜‰
      Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. Peggie says

    Love it. Can’t tell tell the difference between the original and the sculpey one. :) Love the color of the dresser.
    Do you know how I can fix a dresser leg that has piece missing? Is there some way I can make a mold and fill it in?
    Thank you.

    • Nancy says

      Thanks Peggie! Oh yes, that dresser is actually my favorite piece of furniture in my home. The color is gorgeous (and also a favorite!)
      It’s hard to say without seeing a photo of the leg. I have filled in big chunks of missing pieces with wood filler and “molding” them to the shape they need to be. Is the entire leg missing or just part of it. Is it sturdy and just cosmetic? If you’d like to send me a photo of it I would be able to help a bit more. You can send it to my email (linked at the top of the page).

    • Nancy says

      Aw thanks Sharon! Determination is right!! Just ask my husband how determined I can be!! πŸ˜‰ (stubborn might be a better word? lol)
      Hope you have a great weekend!

  10. says

    Good idea for those missing pieces of hardware that don’t get much use. For those pieces that will be pulled on, I was thinking that metal clay might work, but only because after seeing your post, my mind turned to something I’d seen recently at the craft store.

    • Nancy says

      Thanks Paulette!
      Oh metal clay could work too. I didn’t realize they had that at the craft store. (I’ve seen it for jewelry making)


  11. Lisa says

    I would have just replaced the hardware, but you are so incredibly talented and resourceful! This idea is genius! Love your blog!

  12. Charlotte Samples says

    OMG! You are a genius! I have two matching armoires – French Regency – and there has been a circle drop ornament missing from the handle since I bought them 40 years ago!! At one time I checked into having a new brass piece made, but it was using the lost wax process and was just prohibitively expensive. I’m starting a new board on Pinterest for me called “Best Ideas Ever!!” and you are the first post!. Thanks.

  13. says

    Hey there! I saw this a while back and knew I had a piece of hardware on my dresser that needed replaced. I decided to give it a go. I won’t lie. I’ve never used baking clay, ever. It took me a couple of times to get it right.
    However, when I finally got it…it looks identical! I am just amazed and thankful to you for me not having to go buy all new hardware for our bedroom! Thanks so much!

    • Nancy says

      Oh yay, that is so great to hear Sonja!! So glad it worked for you. Thanks so much for letting me know! :)

  14. says

    Thanks so much for all these great ideas here. I need to try spray painting my frames with the Rustoleum. I had used the Rustoleum brown hammered finish on my metal patio furniture and it was amazing how expensive they looked after spray painting them. I can understand how you got on a role painting so many things. It’s addicting! I live in a nice rental but there were these shabby looking metal pipes for hand rails at the entry steps and the stairway to the property. With my landlady’s permission, I spray painted them with the same hammered finish and now the whole entry has a totally new feel to it. Funny how simple things like that can give you a different attitude about a property or a piece of furniture.

    • Nancy says

      Hi Janet!
      Oh yes, you can spray it all!! πŸ˜‰ It really is addicting..but honestly so much of it is!
      I agree…it is truly amazing how a little paint can completely transform something!

    • Nancy says

      No, not for daily use. I mentioned in the post I don’t use this dresser as a “dresser” so it doesn’t get opened and closed much. It’s a great solution for those pieces with old, unique or antique hardware that you can no longer find. AND pieces that won’t be handled much. I do open the drawer but am just mindful that it is a decorative piece only. :)

  15. Gary W. says

    At the danger of exposing myself as an old male nerd, let me mention a stronger version. Steel wire along the body of the handle, with a second piece next to that in the center portion. (one is for compression the other for tension forces, kinda like a beam). Then use an epoxy and metal powder epoxy called “JB Weld”, from the hardware store or auto supply. this makes a much stronger assembly.

    I tried to use Sculpy for a somewhat structural connector for a tripod. It broke almost immediatly. I was not impressed. Don’t try this at home, but I swear you could chew the darn stuff. πŸ˜‰

    • Nancy says

      Hey Gary!!

      I welcome any and all ideas…or improvements on this! I did it almost 3 years ago now so I may even do it a little differently, with a little more research, if I were doing now.
      I must say though, it’s been over 3 years since I did it and it’s holding up great! But like I mentioned in the post, it’s not a drawer I open often, mostly decorative.
      Handles used often I would not recommended this for. I like your idea and will keep it in mind next go round though!
      Thanks !

  16. says

    to make a functional handle, I wonder if you could find thinner plain handle, then place it in the molde and press the clay around it? The metal handle would provide the internal strength, and the clay would hide it and provide the decoration.

    • Nancy says

      Aw thanks! My mind just works weird!! πŸ˜‰ I somehow come up with a workaround for just about anything.
      (sometimes it works…and sometimes it doesn’t!lol)

  17. says

    Great Job!
    I might be a little concerned about spray painting Sculpey though! I recently read that it breaks down the polymer over time. The article said that acrylic paint is the only one to use…Best of luck!

    • Nancy says

      Thanks Daniel! :)
      Oh I have not heard that about the spray. Good to know for future reference.
      Well, so far so good, still looks like day one! It’s been over 2 years now since I made this one!
      I still have the mold I made so if for some reason I’d need to, I’d be able to recreate it!

  18. Mom W says

    You can melt soldering wire down in one of those tiny cast iron skillets and pour that into your mold to get a silver handle. I got that idea from an old “Make Toy Soldiers” set for boys that I had (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_soldier ). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solder for background information to make the best decisions on the metal and then Google that or go to a hardware store or plumbers supply shop. Of course do not use lead.

    • Nancy says

      That is a great idea! I may have to try that out. I’ll be sure to post about it if I do! :)
      Thanks for the tip!

      • Sharon says

        I have these handles and knobs that I took off a 60’s provincial style chest of drawers I bought at a thrift store for $35 So I just added cabinets to my laundry room and I decided I could use them on my upper cabinets and they look lovely Great job making your own replacements

  19. Sue Sanders says

    What a good idea. But now I’m wondering if there is a harder medium out there to put in the mold.

    • Nancy says

      Thanks Sue! And yes, there are but for my purposes (and ease!) this worked great! :)
      (you can use resin, which is pretty hard)

  20. Christine says

    Hi! Found you via Hometalk.
    I just bought antique pulls and WILL (don’t try to talk me out of it!) make more handles. I was wondering if you actually had the photos to which you refer, but aren’t there? The tile, the wire, things like that.
    I’m heading to MIchael’s after work. :)

    Thanks for your time and work!

    • Nancy says

      Hi Christine! :)
      OH fun! No, unfortunately I didn’t take those. I was pretty new to blogging and had no idea how popular that post would be! I need to do another, with more details and photos, on another handle.
      Keep in mind that I wouldn’t make these for handles I needed to use on a daily basis. The wire does give strength to them but I can’t say if they’d hold up to daily use. :)

  21. Christine L. says

    I have an old dresser set in this style and it has been missing the handle for more than 20 yrs. Neat Idea and I will try to match using this method. Can you please tell me the color you used on the dresser? That is very pretty as well. Thanks for the ideas and keep on decorating on a budget!!!

    • Nancy says

      Hi Christine,
      Oh yes, do! What a great fix for an old dresser. Just keep in mind this is more of a “looks only..or mostly” type of fix. I can’t say how well the handle will hold up to daily use.
      The color is Annie Sloan’s Aubusson Blue, a favorite of mine.
      Would love to see your handle when you finish if you’d like to share!

    • Nancy says

      Hi Amelia,
      Oh yes, absolutely you can share. I only ask that you not list the full tutorial on your page, just the link and please send them here for the tutorial. :)
      Thanks so much for asking!

      • says

        Great! Thank you. That was what I was planning on doing. This is such a neat idea, I love your blog! I am only just starting mine (I am looking into new camera’s and such, I am currently working on older material that I wanted to get out before though!)
        Feel free to take a look around!
        AmeliA recently posted…Pretty in Paint!My Profile

  22. Liz says

    Hi! First of all, let me just say that this is an amazing idea. I was browsing for antique hardware on pinterest and your site popped up. I hope your handle is holding up well! While searching I did come across this listing on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-5-Bail-Dresser-Drawer-Pulls-Kitchen-Handle-Antique-Bronze-Vintage-Look-140-mm-/251987455669?hash=item3aab9f6eb5 It looked so much like yours that I thought I’d share it! Just in case you needed a more sturdy one. Best of luck! Love your ideas!

    • Nancy says

      Thank you Liz!! :)
      And thanks so much for sharing the link with me! The middle section is identical!! I may have to get one! (not sure about the size, will have to measure but wow!)
      Thanks again!!

jossandmain.com online furniture


  1. […] #9- Change out the hardware. Since the hardware (vintage) styles have come back around we decided to leave it. If your hardware is outdated try to find unique and complimentary handles and pulls. If you are just missing a piece or have a broken handle you can actually fix it! I saw this tutorial this morning on Pinterest and thought it was genius. Click here if you need to make or replace a handle. […]

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