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Making custom scroll bars for my frame

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Scroll bar frame with original 18″ bars


I bought my scroll bar frame about a month ago, and I love it so far. Right now the piece I’m working on will take a few months to do, but looking into the future I’m thinking I may end up designing even larger pieces. The length of my current scroll bars are 18″, which limits me to about a 16″ wide piece at the biggest to allow for a border. Since I’m staying with family at the moment and have access to a workshop with materials and tools, I thought it would be interesting to make a longer set of scroll bars rather than buy them later.

24″ bars I made


Luckily the workshop had all the materials I needed – a 48″ long piece of 3/4″ dowling, some long screws (4″ #8), and some scrap canvas. I first cut the dowl in half and sanded the edges down. I then tried to figure out what size screw would work to thread the black plastic end nuts onto the dowl, but none of the screws had the same thread type. I considered installing thin bolts (ready rods) into the dowl like the bought ones have, but I couldn’t find any lying around that would have worked. Instead I found that #8 screws fit into the plastic nuts without damaging their threads, and I decided to use those instead. So now when I use the longer bars I won’t be able to adjust the tension on the fabric by loosening the nuts without slightly unscrewing the screws with a screwdriver, but that’s ok as I don’t adjust my current ones that often anyway. The screw heads are wide enough to hold the nuts firmly onto the dowl, and the screws are long enough to go through the nuts and the wooden side bars and still bite deeply enough into the dowl to hold everything together firmly. I drilled some pilot holes into the end of each dowl to prevent the screws from potentially splitting the dowl. Then I cut the strips of canvas to length and stapled them to the dowl (the needlepoint fabric is sewn to the canvas to allow it to roll up as you work on each section).

New 24″ bars with a plastic nut


So all in all, the project took me about an hour, and a lot of that was figuring out where tools were and what would be the best way to do things. I saved myself about $30 that a new set of scroll bars would have cost, and got to custom make another little project.

Follow Dana Batho:

Artist and Designer

I am an artist, veteran, analyst, and mommy to the sweetest dog ever. I am constantly thinking of ways to use my creativity in everything I touch despite my physical limitations, and I love encouraging others to do the same.

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