The true beauty of any
design is in the details. After transforming my bland
hallway from the white walls, white doors, and white
trim to an area popping with color and texture, I
realized that the outdated antique brass finished
knobs looked ridiculously out of place. I found cobalt
blue glass pressed glass switchplates some time ago,
which looked terrific on the color washed walls, and
all of the picture frames on the walls had a nickel
finish. For the utility room, where I may be carrying
large baskets of clothes or a ladder for the attic,
I didn't want the glass knobs that are abundant in
other areas of my house. So, I found a set of new
nickel finished knobs at the hardware store for less
than $10. Aside from having to chisel out a recessed
area for the locking mechanism, that installation
was straight forward as the knobs had built in rosettes
that fit the hole already in the door. But for the
two bedrooms off of this hallway, I wanted something
really special. I found some beautiful reproduction
cobalt blue cut to clear glass knobs while shopping
online and had to have them. The knobs arrived with
two glass bulbs on a shaft. The shaft had two settings
to accommodate the width of a door, and unfortunately
neither of them fit my doors exactly. Plus, I needed
a rosette (i.e., a doughnut shape piece of metal that
rests between the knob and the door) to cover the
locking mechanisms. There are some beautiful vintage
brass rosettes out there specifically made for this
purpose, see Figure 1. However, they are hard to find
and could actually be more expensive than the glass
knobs that they are meant to accent.
1: Rosette Hardware from the Late 1800s
So, I developed a process to make my
own using scraps of the sculpted wallpaper used on
the lower portion of the walls
in this area, see Figure 2. These steps are designed
to teach you the simple process for creating decorative
rosettes in an afternoon.
2: The Decorative Rosettes In Progress
cutting mat or old magazine
rosettes (sold in packages of 2)
paper (fine grit)
glass beads or pearls
glue (or any clear drying glue that works on paper
2 1/4 inch plumbing flange (quantity varies depending
on thickness of doors and length of doorknob shaft)
Screwdriver (flat head)
To keep costs down, I went
to the hardware store and got the basic rosette
hardware that is commonly available, see Figure
3. A set of two costs less than $5.
3: The Basic Rosette Hardware
Before covering the brass finish
with the sculpted vinyl wallpaper, tape off
the screw holes, see Figure 4. When the doorknob
fits snugly to the door, there is no reason
to screw it in place. Taping off the holes aids
in reinforcing the wallpaper, so a hole is not
pushed through the wet paper when working out
the seams later.
4: Reinforce the Wallpaper by Masking Off Screw
Begin by cutting as many pieces of the sculpted
wallpaper into a 3x3-inch squares as needed
for the project. Place the rosette on the wallpaper
square and trace around the circumference of
the rosette. Trim the wallpaper in a circle
just inside the line traced with the scissors.
In this particular pattern of wallpaper, the
center of each tile had a floral center that
was the exact size of the hole in the hardware.
Working on the back of an old magazine, I used
the utility knife to trim out the center part
of the wallpaper. Repeat for each rosette.
Once the edges are trimmed, take the doughnut-shaped
pieces of wallpaper to the sink and run them
under warm water. Book the prepasted sides together
to allow the wallpaper to shrink and activate
Apply the wallpaper doughnut to the metal rosette
and press firmly. Since the paper is flat and
the rosette is domed, massage the wet paper
and smooth out any air bubbles and creases.
Repeat for each rosette and allow at least an
hour for drying time.
Since the shiny metal may repel the wallpaper
adhesive, it is best to secure the molded wallpaper
shell to the hardware with a clear drying glue
like Weldbond. Especially concentrate on gluing
down the seams between the metal and the paper
on the inside and outside circles. Repeat for
each rosette and allow at least half an hour
for drying time.
Lightly sand any rough edges of the covered
rosette and wipe the surface clean, see Figure
5. For the sake of time, I used a white gloss
spray paint to coat the rosettes since white
is not too hard to match. You may want to use
a foam brush and paint the rosettes the exact
color of the door or trim.
Give each rosette two to three even coats of
paint covering all paper and exposed metal.
Allow at least half an hour for drying time
between coats of paint.
5: The Covered Rosette
Finishing Details to the Rosettes
In order to hide any uneven edges
and add a bit of sparkle, a string of beads
around the rosette adds the finishing touch.
I chose clear faceted acrylic beads for this
Start by lining the work area
with a plastic bag. Place the rosettes on the
plastic and space them out so there is plenty
of room to play. Pick up a rosette and line
the edge of the painted rosette with the clear
drying glue used earlier to affix the wallpaper
and place it back down on the plastic. Gently
position each bead or pearl in the glue and
press it firmly against the edge of the rosette.
Ensure that the holes in the beads or pearls
are facing in toward the rosette and out away
from the project. The holes should not be visible
when the rosette is flat, see Figure 6.
6: The Beaded Edge of the Rosette
Work bead by bead until the entire rim of the
rosette is trimmed with the decorative edge.
Repeat for each rosette and allow them to dry
overnight. Gently peel the rosettes off of the
plastic and pull off any loose glue.
Installing the Doorknobs
Disassemble the doorknob by removing the screw
on the outside edge of the base of one of the
knobs with a flathead screwdriver. Pull off
that end of the knob and insert that end of
the shaft through the rosette, then through
the hole in the locking mechanism of the door.
This is usually a square-shaped shaft with a
square-shaped hole, so twist the knob until
the shaft passes through the door. Place the
second rosette on the opposite side of the door
and replace the knob. Reinsert the screw into
the base of the knob and tighten with the screwdriver.
Twist the knob to ensure that the lock is functioning
before shutting the door and locking yourself
in our out of the room.
Occasionally, the rosettes are not thick enough
and the knob has too much "play" even
when the shaft of the knob is inserted through
a rosette on each side of the door. In this
case, there was a significant gap that I filled
using a chrome plumbing plate between the rosette
and the door. I left it shiny silver for Figures
7 and 8, so it is clear what role this additional
piece plays in the installation. It can be painted
the same color as the rosette or a contrasting
color for accent.
7: A Close-up of the Doorknob
8: The Finished Project, As Always the Hound
Now that I have demonstrated how I completed my project,
here is a summary of the steps involved in this decorative
rosette for doorknobs. Give it a try and let me know
To Make This Decorative Rosette:
- Tape off the screw holes on the rosette.
- Cut a piece of the sculpted wallpaper into a 3x3-inch
- Place the rosette on the wallpaper and trace around
the circumference of the rosette.
- Trim the wallpaper in a circle just inside the
line traced with the scissors.
- Cut out the center part of the wallpaper swatch
to expose the center ring of the rosette hardware.
- Take the doughnut-shaped pieces of wallpaper to
the sink and run them under warm water.
- Book the prepasted sides together to allow the
wallpaper to shrink and activate the adhesive.
- Apply the wallpaper doughnut to the metal rosette
and press firmly.
- Massage the wet paper and smooth out any air bubbles
and creases and let the paper dry.
- Secure the wallpaper doughnut to the hardware
with a clear drying glue concentrating on edges
and let the glue dry.
- Lightly sand any rough edges of the covered rosette
and wipe the surface clean.
- Paint the entire rosette with two or three even
coats of paint and let the paint dry.
- Line the work area with a plastic bag.
- Place the rosettes on the plastic and space them
out so there is plenty of room to play.
- Line the edge of the painted rosette with the
clear drying glue.
- Place each bead or pearl in the glue and press
it firmly against the edge of the rosette. Ensure
that the holes in the beads or pearls are facing
in toward the rosette and out away from the project.
- Work bead by bead until the entire rim of the
rosette is trimmed with the decorative edge and
allow them to dry overnight.
- Gently peel the rosettes off of the plastic and
pull off any loose glue.
- Install the doorknob using the rosettes to hide
the locking mechanism within the door.
- Stand back and admire your work. :^)
Illustrations and text used in this
tutorial are © 2002 The Fifth Choir Designs by
Melanie Parker unless otherwise noted. All rights
contact me if you would like to reproduce parts of
this tutorial or need advice on your decorative doorknob