Not even gonna lie, that’s what I say to this handrail each time it greets me.
I dare you not to say the same thing.
And you know what, Grunt and I DIY’ed this lucite handrail ourselves. You know what else? It was so damn easy.
Needless to say, it’s much prettier than a plain old wood handrail too.
DIY Lucite Handrail
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- 2″ Acrylic Rod cut to the length of your current handrail (don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through this in just a minute.)
- Two or more 2″ Brass Flush Center Posts (Depending on how long your rod is, you may need more than two. You can also get these in other finishes and widths if you don’t want to go with the 2″ acrylic rod. Also, do a google search for these. I found that it seems the various suppliers change the prices on these often, so there might be a better price elsewhere.)
- Sugru Moldable Glue
- Stud Finder
- Heavy Duty Drywall Anchors (If you can’t find studs.)
First you’re going to need to order your acrylic rod cut to the length of your current handrail. I ordered my rod through Nationwide Plastics. All you do is go here (yes, it does say curtain rods on that page, but it’s the same thing), fill out the quote form and they will send you an email with a price and order information. It’s really simple.
My handrail is a 2″ diameter cell cast acrylic rod cut to a length of 80″. The rods come in 96″ lengths and you do have to pay for the whole rod even if you have it cut down, so the cost for my rod was $123.00. You can have them throw in the extra portion you had cut off for a craft project in the future. Also, unless you are going to cover the ends of the rail in some way, you’ll want to have each end of your rod polished so that it’s clear and not opaque. This is an additional $15, I believe.
Order the center posts in the diameter of your rod. Since I got a 2″ diameter rod, I ordered 2″ center posts. I only needed two mounts for my handrail. If you have a handrail that’s longer than mine, you may need three or more mounts.
Mount the center posts to the wall. To do this, locate studs in your wall first using a stud finder. Hopefully you will have a stud near the top and bottom of your handrail to mount the posts into like I did. If you don’t, you’ll want to use anchors first and then mount the posts to those.
Mount the posts approximately 32″ up from each step and angled the same or as close as you can get to the same angle as your steps. Figuring out the angle is best done with another person. To do this, I put the lucite rod through the posts, placed it against the wall at my 32″ up mark, then had Bill hold it in place and angle it as needed until I found the right angle for the handrail. When I did find the right angle, I used a pencil and marked inside the holes on the post where the screws would go then we took the handrail down, removed it from the posts, then mounted the posts to the wall right where I had made those marks. Make sense?
Now, please note this: I had enough room between walls where I was able to remove the rod from the posts, install the posts and then slide the rod back through the posts. If you don’t have enough room to do this, then you will want to keep your rod in place while you screw the posts to the wall. See the alternate instructions after step 4 for more detailed instructions on this method.
After we got our brackets in place and slid the rod into place, the rod would slide out because of the angle it was at. This may not be a problem for you – your stairs might not be as angled as mine were. However, if this is a problem for you, there is a simple solution. After you mount your posts to the wall and before sliding in the rod, cover the inside of the posts with Sugru.
Sugru is this moldable glue. It’s kind of like play-doh when you get it out of the package, but creates a strong bond to whatever its holding together when it dries.
You can see the Sugru inside the post here. Follow the package instructions for application and rub it thinly around in the post all the way around. Immediately after doing this, slide your lucite rod into the posts. Some of the Sugru will be pushed out, simply wipe it off with toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper – that’s what it suggests on the package. Be sure to clean any excess away right then though because if it dries, it’s there forever.
To keep the handrail from sliding out while the Sugru dries, come up with some form of redneck engineering to hold it in place.
Ours was a scrap piece of wood standing up vertically at the end of the handrail with the old school sewing machine keeping the scrap wood in place. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried, ya’ll.
The Sugru will dry overnight and then you can remove whatever method of redneck engineering you used. I am a firm believer in the Sugru after doing this project. This baby hasn’t budged once.
Now, let’s back up for just a second. Let’s say you don’t have enough space between walls where you are installing the lucite handrail to mount the posts first, then slide the rod in like I did. Here’s what I would do in that situation.
Order your rod to the length needed as I told you about above. Order your posts in the diameter needed as noted above.
Before mounting anything to the wall, go ahead and secure your rod to the posts with Sugru. Just apply the Sugru like I said above, slide the rod through and move your posts as needed to make them evenly spaced on the rod. Wipe off the excess Sugru. Place the rod somewhere that it can’t get kicked over (it will most likely stand up by itself on the posts) and let the Sugru harden overnight.
Mount your posts to the wall at the height and angle noted above. Have someone hold the rod in place while you determine the correct angle, then drill those posts into the wall. If there isn’t a stud where you need to mount the posts then mark the spots on the wall first, install drywall anchors, then mount the posts.
After mounting the posts you should be good to go.
I know that sounds like a lot, but really it’s an easy project. Just having someone to help you hold the rod and get the angles right is the hardest part.
Here’s a shot from the bottom end of the staircase. It was difficult to photograph it from this angle, but you get the idea.
If you have any questions at all, please leave them for me in the comments! I’m happy to answer whatever I can to the best of my ability!