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Dowel Fruit Holder

Keep fresh fruit handy for a healthy snack by storing it on this eye-catching rack. Dowels and a board are all you need to make this countertop holder.

Dowel fruit holder

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 day

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Drill and 1/4-in bit
  • Miter saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Hammer


  • 4 - 1/4 x 36 oak dowels, #19416
  • 1/2 x 3 x 48 poplar board, #1332
  • Valspar Signature paint, 8 ounces, Vivid Orange (#2011-3)
  • Minwax semigloss spray polyurethane

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources


Step 1

From the four dowels, cut 12 pieces 9 inches long. Sand lightly with 180-grit sandpaper and set them aside.

Step 2

Fruit holder sides taped together

From the 1/2 x 3 poplar, cut two 12-inch-long pieces for the sides. Tape the two sides together with the ends flush. Print out a copy of the Dowel Fruit Rack Drilling Guide, tape the halves together, and tape the guide to the top piece of poplar. With a nail or awl, start the holes where shown on the drilling guide.

Good to Know

If you don’t own a drill press, one way to ensure 90-degree holes is to make a simple drilling guide. From a 1 x 1 square dowel or scrap 2 x 2, cut a 4-inch-long piece and a 3-inch-long piece. Glue the pieces edge to edge with one of the ends flush to create an inside corner that’s 90 degrees. With your bit in position, press the inside corner of the guide against the bit until it touches from top to bottom. Start the hole and remove the guide before the drill chuck touches it.

Step 3

Drill holes through both sides

Place the stacked pieces of wood on a piece of scrap wood and drill 90 degrees through both pieces. Then separate the pieces and remove the guide.

Step 4

Sand the faces, edges, and ends of the two 1/2 x 3 sides; wipe clean and apply three coats of paint, Avoid getting paint inside the holes.

Step 5

Drill a dozen 1/4-inch holes about 1/4-inch deep about 2 inches apart in a scrap board. Temporarily stand the dowels in the shallow holes and apply a coat of spray polyurethane on all sides. After the finish dries, remove the dowels from the scrap board.

Step 6

Lay sheets of protective kraft paper on your work surface. Place a dowel into one hole on the side and gently tap the end flush with the face on the opposite side. Use a scrap block and small hammer to avoid damaging the other end of the dowel. Repeat for the remaining dowels.

Step 7

Lay the side with the dowels on edge on a flat surface and, one by one, guide the other ends of the dowels into holes in the opposite side. (You just need to get them started so the holder sides won’t twist while resting on the countertop.) Stand the assembly on end and use a small hammer and a piece of scrap wood to protect the finish while you tap the side onto the dowels.

Good to Know

Work slowly when adding the second side. Sink dowels a little bit with each tap and work side to side until the dowel ends are flush with the side.