How to use a pipe cutter for home decor

February 27, 2015

Today I’m also sharing one of my favorite tools of all time – it’s such a random one but I use it quite often for random projects.

I knew when I created the little planked area next to the soon-to-be microwave shelf that it would be a perfect spot for a towel rod:

microwave in island

I have to tell you – I’ve wanted to hang a towel from our island for years. It’s such a small, silly thing but it’s one of those little details I’d see in pictures and I fell in love with the idea. It just never really made sense on our old island – the only spot for it was this end and with our table and chairs there it was to tight to add anything. It was just a bad spot for it overall.

This spot is perfect. In the short time we’ve had the larger island I’ve found myself wanting to have one right there…so I was able to make it happen.

A couple weekends ago my hubby was out of town so the kiddo and I made a last minute trip to Cincinnati to visit the museums (for him) and IKEA (for me). OK, actually both spots were for both of us…I love museums and the Bub admits he kind of loves IKEA too. ;)

Anyway, I actually did pretty good this time – I kept the purchases to a minimum (we went in with a list and that helps). One thing I did grab was the Fintorp bar – it’s really for hanging their organizational things like baskets and stuff. I thought it would be a cute (and inexpensive) towel bar instead.

The problem was it was too long – but I knew I could fix that. Enter the pipe cutter. The coolest tool EVAH. I figured out the length I needed:

cutting metal pipe

And then you clamp the tool on the pipe like so:

pipe cutter tool

Mine tightens at the bottom. You tighten it a bit, spin it around the metal a few times, tighten a bit more, spin it around…keep going. I had to use a gripper on this bar because it was slipping out of my hands so much:

cutting down metal rods

As you can see with each tighten it bites into the metal even more. It took about a minute and quite a few turns around the bar but it broke off cleanly:

IKEA fintorp

You’ve got yourself a perfectly sized bar after that! IKEA Fintorp for towels

You can use it for so many things – over the years I’ve used it a ton to cut down my curtain rods (I used to cut down one into numerous smaller rods for non-functioning drapes that I didn’t need to close). It’s impossible to find shorter curtain rods so it worked great for that. You can use it on anything metal that’s round – even plastic, pvc, whatever. Love it!

I had a lot of rough edges to cover after I planked everything and the simple lattice trim that I told you about here hides all of that stuff. That and caulk. Wondrous things:

planks on island

I didn’t plank the front of the columns or the insides of them because I was afraid it would get too busy with planks all over the whole thing: IMG_1591I like the simpler look on the columns and – and less work! Score.

The only place I could find longer butcher block (at least locally) was Northwest Lumber. I’ll update you soon on the finish they put on there, so far I love it!:

butcher block on island

That’s an earlier pic. ;)

I really wanted to go wider instead of longer at first, so the stools would be tucked all the way inside. IKEA used to sell the wider block but they discontinued it. They still had it online though, not sure why. In the end I’m so glad we went longer instead of wider!

A few asked about painting the cabinets and it wasn’t bad at all since I’ve already painted them before. I shared how to do that years back here. I used a wide angled brush for the first coat this time, then remembered my little square brush. It worked SO well to get into the grooves of the cabinets:

painting cabinets

I got it on clearance at Lowe’s months back but I can’t find it there anymore. I did find them on Amazon:

square paint brush

I LOVE this thing, it brushes the paint on so smoothly. The bristles are super soft, like buttah. They also have a corner one that would work great too.

I think I’ve covered everything? If I haven’t let me know! I’m so proud of this project and couldn’t be happier with it:

large gray kitchen island

OH! I was going to give you a rough estimate of cost to extend it – I spent about $160. I had some scrap wood I used but that cost includes most of the wood, trim, planking, baseboards and paint.

Here’s a full recap of posts for this project:

I shared my plans (that I adjusted just slightly) here.
The wine rack here.
The end cabinet and more about the butcher block here.
More about the lights and how I built the columns here.
And finally, details on the stools and how I cut them down here.

Here here here. :) So glad this is done!! Have a great weekend my friends!

Affiliate links may be included for your convenience.

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. Looks GREAT! Love the paint colour, I just did a vanity in a similar colour, and the planks/lattice make it look so custom and expensive!

  2. I wish I had known you were at "my" IKEA. I live 15 minutes away. :)

    We have IKEA bars at the ends of our island as well. We also have two boys and wood floors. The floors underneath are ruined because everyone (except me, I'm sure) drips puddles of water when drying their hands. Your kitchen is so pretty, I hope you have better luck!

  3. Your island turned out beautifully! I would also have to agree with you that caulk really is the best thing ever!

  4. I am seriously fighting with getting this comment to post, but third time's a charm, right? Hopefully this won't show up 3 times!
    I love how your new space is turning out! Your island is beautiful and functional! I don't tend to follow the trends, but every time I see your stools I think that they would look so nice with a little bit of silver on the bottom to tie in with the nail head trim. Kind of like this?
    I can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve!

  5. It's pretty amazing that you did all this for $160. Seriously thrifty!

    The pipe cutter brings back memories of my dad cutting pipes in the garage with his. He would put it in the vice and go to town.

    As for the towel rack - great idea! To be honest I never would have thought of putting one in the kitchen but it totally makes sense! We use the handle on the front of our dishwasher for towels.

  6. Again beautiful work, and that metal tool SO COOL! I've seen them before and it's pretty sweet, and kind of fool proof which is good for someone like myself where tools and me don't mix well...yet

    That's a STEAL! That island would've cost hundreds maybe even thousands if you went into a kitchen renovation store and got them to custom make it. Great job! You should be so proud!! Girls & Tools rock, keep it up!

    P.s love love love the towel rack & I want those towels

    Lauren | LB Designs

  7. Seriously LOVE your planking! Would you recommend it for a backsplash? I have a really wide kitchen window, so water would not be an issue.

    1. I've actually seen it done! I just wouldn't put a lot of space between the planks (or I would make sure to get paint and/or some kind of caulk or sealant in there) because of the potential for water getting behind them at the sink. Otherwise I think it would be great. (And make sure to paint them with a semi gloss or gloss so they can be wiped easily.)

  8. You did a great job on that. Thanks for sharing the details.

  9. Your island is super functional! Nice job.

  10. The Island is absolutely beautiful. You did a great job. I have a butcher block island and I love it. I don't actually chop on it, I always use a cutting board but it looks beautiful and I love it. I am having an electrician come in to put pendant lights over the island. I bought the red ones at IKEA. Hope mine looks half as good as yours.

  11. Beautiful! I love the colour choice too with the wood floors. Looks gorgeous.

  12. You are one very ambitious and talented lady. My heavens, is there any thing you can't do? Love your island. You have customized it so beautifully. Every time I've been on your blog I see more and more breath taking projects you've tackled on your own, you're one incredible gal. Love color of your island. Your stools go so nicely with it.
    I want things to be nice but not have to do all the work. Getting long in tooth anymore, my ambition has taken a vacation for good I think.
    We have a portable island that is quite handy. Our kitchen is lots smaller than yours but our island does the job when needed. I tend to use island for craft projects, painting things, you name it. I would so love to have butcher block put on for our counters. We have Lumber liquidators in Grand Junction, would love to stop in some time to get idea of how much it would be for our counters. Maybe that would inspire us to paint cabinets. I'd be willing to be able to buy some footage at a time as long as we could get it. No interested in granite in our single wide mfg. home. too much for this place but butcher block would be a huge improvement over what we have. Your floors are so pretty, we have ceramic tile, ugh. They're so cold in winter.
    Enjoy all your very hard earned work on your home. I live vicariously thru you, hoping to have things fixed up. Happy weekend

  13. Such a gorgeous island redo!! Have you thought about maybe staining the top the same color as the cabinets? Lovely either way!!! Happy weekend !


    1. The cabinets will be painted eventually. :) I thought about staining it darker but I like it as is (for now at least).

  14. You are an inspiration! I love self projects and creating new things. I completely agree -- the right tool makes a job much easier. I have my own drill, favorite paint brush (angle), paint supplies, saw -- we could be twins! Love the paint color too.

  15. This is such great inspiration, as I'm adding a microwave shelf to the end of our island and trying to figure out how to design it so it looks great. Your island is fabulous (both the color and the design)! It's funny that you hung a towel bar in that spot on your island because I've had a towel ring in mind for mine - I thought I was the only crazy one who wasn't happy with how her towel never had a good home :)

  16. It looks beautiful. I recently painted my base cabinets a dark grey, not quite as dark as yours, & I love it. I hung sturdy iron hooks on the back of my bar to hang my iron skillets, my favorite thing about my bar.

  17. Love it! It came out beautiful! Anyway, we can see more pics of the whole island from different views/angles?

    1. Thank you Lisa! If you click on the link at the top of the post it will take you to a post about the island. :)

    2. Oh ok, I had forgotten about that post, sorry! :) BTW - I'm in SE MI and I'm so glad we have a break in the weather as well! Everybody I've spoken to is so over the winter already! Come on spring!

  18. Have you sold the butcher block from your old island? I would love to buy, depending on dimensions and I live on the northeast side of Indy.

    1. Hey Julie, I would but it's a perfect fit for the craft table in our loft! I'm getting rid of the old laminate top but that's it.


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!