This previous summer I absentmindedly left my office balcony door open on a windy day. The wind tore down the cheap curtain rods the previous tenant left behind. So I pinned up my curtains with push pins until I decided on a better solution.
I also had a bit of lumber leftover from some stools I am working on and decided to put it to good use. So I designed some curtain rod holders.
I decided I wanted something reminiscent of civil engineering features, like a bridge truss or something. I settled on making arms out of 1x2" strips and attaching them to leftover 1x4" planks. Here's the result:
The main issue was getting the planks flush to the wall. I didn't want to do a french cleat like I had in previous projects because then the rod holders would project too far out from the wall. I really wanted to do a keyhole, but I don't have a router or the $20 bit to cut keyholes.
After a trip to the hardware store I settled on attaching 1/4" strips to the 1x4 plank and using a drip bit to cut a keyhole.
To create a void behind the keyhole, I use a half inch chisel to cut a channel in the 1x4 plank. The screws are used to mount the arms. I really wanted to do dovetails (even bought a Japanese pull-saw that I love), but they were far too difficult and would have required inverting the way pins and tails are cut, which broke in my hands when I made a test piece.
I attached the arms with glue first, then screws. I pre-drilled pilot holes into the 1x4 first using a drill bit of the same diameter as the screws. This keeps the threads from gripping the 1x4, which pulls the 1x2 to the 1x4 instead of pushing them apart.
Once I had the arms attached, I drilled holes for the rod, which is just two 5/8" dowel rods. I used a paddle bit to drill the holes, coming in from each side to minimize damage to the wood when the bit emerges.
I also drilled 13/64" holes through the arms of the right and left supports. These are for the screw inserts that will act as grips for the curtain rod.
After that I glued the 1/4" strips to the back. I also secured them with some leftover screws and trimmed off the excess stripping with my pull saw.
Then I drilled holes for the keyholes over the void I made with a chisel.
Then I used the chisel to cut between the holes, creating a poor man's keyhole. They look like dongs.
After that, I gave the pieces a good sanding and then I simply stained the pieces and coated them in polyurethane (I suck at this; lint everywhere). I installed the screw insets to grip the rod and prevent slipping. To mount I just put six nails in the studs that support the balcony door and slid the keyholes over them. I may need to redo that left one, it's crooked...