How to Build a Newel Post



Today, I want to show you how we built our on newel post for our new staircase.


how to build a newel post

If you have followed my blog for long, you know that I love to add old house character and charm to our newer home.

old house character and charm

We have been building a two story addition to our  home over the past few years, and I knew that I wanted a thick, chunky newel post for our new staircase.

Like this one…

newel post

I would have loved to have scored an antique newel post, but I couldn’t find one in our budget.  So I showed some pictures of ones that I liked to my husband, Cy, and he built one for me!  Smile

how to build a newel post


Here are the steps he took to build it.

He started with a 4×4 post that we already had in our barn. {As you can see, he cut into the first step to build the newel post.  I would describe how to do that, but every set of steps is different, and you may or may not want your newel post coming out of your first step.}

how to build a newel post

He added a 2×4 to one side {although he said you wouldn’t have to do that.}

how to build a newel post


Next, he wrapped the 4×4 with 1×8 pieces of poplar board.  Make sure the pieces are level.


how to build a newel post

Here is what it looked like before he added the final 1×8 poplar board…


how to build a newel post




how to build a newel post


Next we added a lot of trim work to get the look we wanted.  You can take  a lot of liberty in how much trim you use, what type of trim you use, and where you use it.

It is a preference thing.

We trimmed the middle of the newel post with 1/4 inch by 2 inch poplar trim pieces.  Then we added a trim piece on top of that.  Next, we placed a square 1/2 inch piece of birch plywood to the top and trimmed it with round trim.


how to build a newel post

Cy always added wood glue to the trim pieces before he nailed them with a finish nailer.

how to build a newel post

For the top, we bought a fence post cap from Lowe’s.

how to build a newel post


We originally planned to use the whole cap, but it looked a little weird when we placed it on top of our newel post.  So Cy took the bottom of the fence post cap off {see above} and just used the top for our newel post.

I liked it much better that way.

how to build a newel post


The bottom of the newel post is made of 1×12 pine boards and some decorative trim.

Before painting, we made sure to fill all the nail holes with wood filler and sand them smooth.

We also filled any gaps between each wood piece with white paintable caulk.  This is a VERY important step to give it that finished look.

I noticed when looking at this next picture, that we added another piece of small trim underneath the square piece of wood.  As we were building it, we could tell something was missing.  That extra piece of trim really finished it off.

how to build a newel post


Here is a view of the top…

how to build a newel post

The bottom…

how to build a newel post


I love my new “old” newel post!  It’s exactly what I was wanting.

how to build a newel post

We still have a few other things to do to our steps before they are completely finished.  Just detail stuff.


how to build a newel post

I’ve always loved the look of a staircase in a home.  Won’t it be fun to decorate next Christmas?! Smile

If you like this project, I would love for you to share it.  Thanks!

how to build a newel post


I’m linking to…

Home Stories A2Z


Two of my sweet blog friends, Sandra from Sawdust Girl and Cassity from Remodelaholic, have also built their own newel posts.  To see each of their projects, click on the pictures below.


Sawdust Girl




If you like this post, you may also like to check out these…

how to build a butcher block vanity


fireplace mantle headboard




  1. I love this! I just realized last night that our post won’t match once we install darker hard wood floors, but this will look so much better than just painting the post that is there now!!

  2. Great Job!!! At first I thought I could never do that to my stairs in my house because mine are not open like yours. And then you showed the example from “Sawdust Girl” and that is exactly how my staircase ends. It is enclosed. When you come in our front door, that is where our stairs are. That would look so great on our stairs and we could do it on both sides. I am going to save this example in my house project book. Since we are going to stay where we are for now we have decided to do some improvements around here. I really like this idea!!

    BUT…….CAN I BORROW CY??????? I’ll feed him! LOL!

    Have a great week!!

    Marilyn C.

    1. That’s awesome, Marilyn! I am so glad you might be able to do a project like this. :)
      I sure do wish you could borrow Cy. I would come with him, so you would have to feed me too.
      How far are we from each other?

  3. What a beautiful job he did!!!
    You are blessed to have such a handy husband!
    By the way, how is his new business going?

    1. Hey Shirley!
      His business is going well, but he is SUPER busy and tired every day. :)
      But we are thankful for all the work he is getting. It’s better to be busy than not, right?
      Thanks for asking!

  4. Traci, your staircase looks beautiful. I noticed that the stain got on your walls when the treads were finished, did you have to do something special to the walls for the paint to turn out so nice
    in that area? I about drive myself crazy when painting trying to trim without getting paint where it shouldn’t be so any tips you have would be helpful!

    1. Carol,
      We just put painter’s tape on the stairs before we painted the wall, and it gave us a crisp line. Frog tape is my favorite painter’s tape.
      Hope that helps. :)

  5. The stairs and that post looks awesome! What a great job you did. Thanks for sharing the instructions. I can ask my husband to do the same and he can follow your instructions. Thanks!

  6. I am trying this out, but I have a question about the box construction. Is it a square or a rectangle? From the way that your husband has it “boxed” the length of the box is longer than the width. The way I calculated it, seemed to indicate that the sides of the box were 8 3/4″ by 7 1/4″ Did he rip some of the 1×8 shorter to compensate for the length? Does that make sense?

  7. Hello, this is perfect. I’m inspried to try this myself. My question is how much you spent on material to build it compared to buying a solid newel. Thank you

  8. This is great! Thank you for your simple explanation on how to get it done! You are truly inspirational!
    PS, what kind of floor is in the room the stairs are in?Can you tell me the stain? Is it hardwood or engineered wood?

  9. Do you have an estimate on how much $ it cost you to build this post? Thanks for the tutorial, I think it is exactly what we need!

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