Make Your Own Barn Door for Less than Pre-Made Kits!
I mentioned in my first post about my craft room transformation that the pocket door on the closet in the craft room was broken to the point that it would have required removing the wall to fix it. The closet door is 40 inches wide. When I started looking at barn door kits (finished door plus hardware) for a door that wide, they were running between $500 and $700! And, they looked like a barn door with that diagonal beam on them. I wanted something more contemporary for my craft room so we decided to make it ourselves.
Materials and Supplies
After some discussion and planning, we came up with a plan to make our own barn door for far less money. Here is the breakdown of what we spent making this barn door for the craft room closet.
(This post contains affiliate links to one or more of the items I used in this project – which means, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. There is no added cost to you!)
|Item/Component||Cost in Dollars|
|36″ x 80″ Hollow Core Door (this is not an affiliate link)||33.00|
|Three 8-foot premium grade 2x4s||12.00|
|Modern Stainless Steel Barn Door Hardware||80.00|
|6″ x 5/32″Drill bit (because we didn’t already have this)||3.50|
- Fleur-de-lis Corner Pieces ($23.40)
- Cork Tiles ($13.52)
Additional Items Used
- Six 3″ wood screws (we already these as leftovers from building a deck)
- Wood Glue (we already had this on hand)
- Primer and Paint (used the same paint as the craft room paints)
- Circular saw
- Sanding block and sand paper
- Screw driver
- Saw horses
To make our own barn door, we decided that we could take a pre-made unfinished hollow-core slab door and frame it with 2x4s. That would result in a door the correct size to cover the closet door opening. Using the hollow-core door would also be light weight versus a solid door. I could paint it to match the rest of the craft room and add things to the door to help with organization and project planning. I also found a modern-looking brushed stainless steel barn door hardware set that would be perfect!
Step 1 – Cutting the Frame
We went out of our way to go to a quality lumber yard and bought premium grade 2x4s for the frame. This gave us the best chance at having wood that was straight and free of deep/large knots in the wood.
- We cut the top and bottom frame pieces from a single 2×4, cutting each piece to 43 inches in length – the finished width of the door.
- The left and right frame pieces were cut to 80 inches each – the height of the door slab. We cut these after attaching them to the door slab.
Step 2 – Attach Side Frame Pieces to Door
To attach the frame pieces to the door slab, we chose to use both wood glue and dowel pins. We started with the left and right side vertical frame pieces.
Placing them in the sawhorse slots, we marked the positions for the dowel pins. We marked six (6) evenly spaced positions for the dowel pins.
To be sure we drilled only half the length of the dowel pin, we wrapped tape around the drill bit so we would know when to stop drilling.
We drilled the six (6) evenly-spaced holes for the dowel pins along the length of the left and right side frame pieces, stopping when we got to the tape on the drill bit.
After drilling the holes for the dowel pins along the vertical frame pieces, we drilled the matching holes in the door slab by carefully measuring to be sure they would align to the holes in the frame pieces.
We put a little wood glue into each hole in the 2×4 frame pieces, inserted the dowel pins, and tapped them in with a mallet.
We then attached the side frame pieces to the door by first running a bead of wood glue along the edge of the 2x4s then aligning the dowel pins to the holes in the door. Using very long clamps, we let the glue set overnight.
Step 3 – Bottom Frame Piece
The bottom frame section needed a groove for the barn door hardware that keeps the bottom of the door from swinging away from the door opening. It needed a track.
We don’t have a table saw. That would have been far more convenient. So, we improvised. Using the circular saw, we set the cutting depth just deeper than the track pins. We then attached a wood block to the circular saw with clamps to act as a guide to make sure we created straight and parallel cuts, moving the block for each successive cut.
We moved the guide for three parallel cuts that would allow the door to move easily over the guide.
Once all three cuts were made, we used a screwdriver to break out the two sections. A narrow chisel would have been easier but this still worked.
The bottom frame piece was attached to the bottom of the barn door using the same method we used for the sides. We used dowel pins and wood glue.
Step 4 – The Top Frame Piece
For the top frame piece, we did a combination of dowel pins and screws. The top frame piece will carry the weight of the whole door so we wanted to make sure it was screwed to the side frame pieces and to the door slab.
Using only the wood screws we had on hand from building a deck last summer, the screws would have to be inside the top frame. Using the 6″ x 5/32″Drill bit, we drilled a small pilot hole all the way through the 2×4. We then drilled again into the same hole with a bigger drill bit but only drilling half way so the screw head would stop at that half-way point. The result is that half of the wood screw would be in the top frame and other half would be in the side frame pieces and the door slab.
We also used the dowel pins and wood glue along the top frame piece. Once the top frame piece was in place using the dowel pins, we attached the top frame piece to the door with the wood screws and clamped in place over night.
Step 5 – Corner Decorations
The fleur de lis shape is a “thing” for me and I have several throughout the house. I was so excited to find these corner pieces and knew they just had to be part of my barn door.
Using a small paint brush to get down into the grooves, I painted them with primer. I tried spraying one but it just didn’t get down into the grooves well enough.
Applying wood glue to the back of the corner decorations, I attached them to the barn door frame, clamping them in place until dry. I used a pad between the clamp and the design so I would not press the clamp into the design.
The rest of the door needed to be primed, which was fast and easy. But, once that was finished, I moved on to doing the decorative painting of the barn door corner pieces.
I started with the same color as the wall paint and darkened it a little with a little bit of blue artist acrylics and a little bit of purple so that there would be greater contrast between this blue and the white than I have between the blue walls and the white trim. Again, using a small paint brush, I hand-painted down into the grooves of the fleur-de-lis designs.
The blue paint got two coats. Once they were dry, I went back to the flat surface with two coats of white gloss paint (the same paint I used on the trim in the room).
Step 6 – Paint the Barn Door
After the corner decorative pieces were finished, I painted the overall barn door. The center portion of the barn door is painted the same as the walls in two coats and the frame is painted white.
Step 7 – Cork Board
To make the barn door more than just a door, I added cork tiles to the top portion of the door. This is where we can tack up drawings of current projects. I had considered a white board but a cork board allows us to take a paper down and set it next to a project as we are working on it, especially if it’s being worked on in another room.
I bought a set of 1-foot by 1-foot by 1/4-inch Cork Tiles. They came with double-sided foam sticky tabs but I didn’t use them. I opted for double-sided carpet tape. The tape is thinner and I wanted to be sure to get more surface area of the cork to adhere to the door.
I laid the tiles out on the door without the tape first to be sure they would fit correctly, and they did. But, I decided to trim about an eight of an inch off of the far right and far left tiles. I used an X-Acto knife and a metal ruler. That gave the cork some room for swelling in humid weather.
Using a pencil, I lightly marked the bottom edge of the tiles. As I removed the tiles from the door, I marked their outlines. This was to help me place the carpet tape.
The tape along the bottom is placed just shy of the pencil mark. Then apply tape along the top edge of the door inside the frame. The horizontal strip of tape across the middle straddles the pencil mark. The pencil mark will be through the center of that piece of tape. Both the left and right pieces of tape will go right up against the frame. The other vertical pieces of tape will straddle the pencil marks.
Cork tiles can be a little crumbly so brush them off a bit as you work with them. Start in a corner and lay the first tile into corner. Start lightly. Do not press the tile into the tape just yet.
Add all the rest of the tiles. Since you are just laying them on the tape and not pressing them, it is easy to lift them if you need to shift them a little. Once they are all in place, press them into the tape.
With all the cork tiles on the door, the door is ready to hang!
Step 8 – Hang the Barn Door
I will not step through the hanging instructions because each door hardware will have its own instructions. But, you will likely be instructed to position the hangars that support the track bar along the top then attach the bar.
Then attach the rollers to the door and attach the guide in the floor. Once these are done, you can hang the barn door on the rod, make any adjustments, and enjoy your new barn door!
I have more plans for this barn door and will write a new blog post about that soon. There will be some DIY organizers attached to the barn door that will be far less expensive than ones I found in the stores. I am excited about making them and teaching you how to make them, too. Sign up for my mailing list to stay informed!
Thank you for reading along as I continue on my Craft Room Transformation project. It is my hope that walking you through some of these steps helps you in your next project.
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