Since sharing the Studio’s before and after transformation, one of the most frequently requested posts has been to show you how to build a barn door on a budget. After all, we transformed a closet into a pantry, and we needed to close the space.
My dad and Eric built the barn doors. I’ve asked them for some input, and together, we’ve put together a guide on how to take on the build. This post will give you a step-by-step plan including links to all the materials you’ll need.
You should know that there are a lot of barn door styles and this one, in particular, is considered a British Brace Barn Door. Its simplicity was my favorite, and I knew it was perfect for the kitchen space.
Building a barn door is a simple project. After all the materials are on site, the total time for this project is about one day to build and one day to paint, for both doors. If you are only making one door, you could get it done in a day.
From the start, I knew I wanted to build something fun and vibrant in the kitchen space to add color since most of the area is monochromatic. Whenever you walk into the studio, the barn doors make a statement.
When I looked into getting custom barn doors built, the asking cost was close to $1200 for two doors– not including hardware. The biggest reason for the steeper price is because my opening was not standard. We had repurposed an old closet into a pantry, so we had to work with the dimensions.
And, you’re not going to believe it, but these barn doors only cost us $100. Yes, for both doors!
Depending on the type of hardware you select, that will add another $100-$200 to the total cost. The ones you see here were built on a tight budget with $100 hardware and $20 handles (for both).
Here are the materials we used:
- 3/4″ plywood for the back of the doors
- 1″x6″ boards for the top and bottom trims
- 1″x4″ boards for remaining trim
- 10ft barn door track kit (listing has other sizes)
- 10-inch black steel door handle. The ones we used and the ones I wish we had purchased.
- Paint. HGTV for Sherwin Williams Amalfi
Before you order the hardware and buy your materials, it’s essential to measure the opening you want to cover. Our pantry opening measured a total width of 60-3/8” so we chose to build the doors 1” wider than the opening to cover the frame of the pantry on each side. Therefore, our total width of the doors was 62-3/8”. Builder’s note: add 1-inch to your door to cover the opening.
We purchased the plywood for the back of the doors from Home Depot and had them cut the plywood for us. Since we had two doors to build, we cut each piece of plywood to 31-3/16”.
The reason we chose a 1” overhang on each side of the pantry opening was for any measurement and cut errors. The person that cut our plywood could not guarantee it would be an exact measurement (it was pretty close, about 1/16” off). Builder’s note: add 1-inch to your door to cover the opening and account for cutting errors.
Next, based on the instructions of the hardware the doors will hang from, you need to determine the height of the doors. Before measuring the height of the doors, we installed the rail the doors will hang from above the opening. Builder’s note: check the hardware instructions for height adjustments.
Our doors hang 3/4” above the highest point of the ground and 5/8” below the hardware, giving a total height of 82”. Using a large square, we marked and cut the plywood to match the height of the door.
PRO-TIP: Even the highest quality plywood often has an uneven and unsightly finish on its sides. To achieve a smooth and uniform look, a little bit of edging can bring a sleek, cohesive look to the finished product. Just consider the width of edging before you cut the wood. Our edging is 1/16″ thick, so I cut the door 1/8″ shorter horizontally. Later on, iron on the edging and you’re all set! This is what veneer edging looks like. Make sure you purchase the type that matches your type of wood. It’s also easy to paint and stain.
Once you’ve cut the plywood to size, measure the width of the plywood to cut the top and bottom 1”x6” trim boards.
Place wood glue (we used Titebond interior wood glue) between the trim piece and the plywood using clamps to hold the trim board in place. Wipe off any excess glue then screw each board in from the plywood side. We used #8 x 1-1/4” construction screws.
When you top and bottom trim pieces are in place, measure and cut the vertical side trim pieces. Repeat the directions above using glue and screws to attach the trim pieces to the plywood.
Next measure the distance between the vertical trim pieces to determine the length of the middle horizontal trim piece. Repeat the directions above using glue and screws to attach the trim pieces to the plywood.
Finally, if you want to add diagonal trim boards to the door, you must first find the longest distance of each diagonal board. Cut the trim board to match that length, then find the center of each end and line them up to the corners where they will go.
To determine the exact angles of each side, use a large square. We used spare pieces of wood to lay on top of the vertical and horizontal pieces and laid the square over all the boards matching the corners.
Once the board was marked to cut for each corner, we used a miter saw to match the angles. Repeat the directions above using glue and screws to attach the trim pieces to the plywood.
When the doors are built entirely, use a paintable wood putty to fill in any gaps (we used Dap painter’s latex caulk). Now you are ready to paint or stain the doors. Of course, I had to give these a “hang” test prior to painting, in case additional sanding was needed. This is not necessary.
When the doors are dry from painting and ready to be hung, the rollers must be installed on the doors. Following directions from the hardware and using the recommended size drill bit, drill the holes and install the rollers on the doors.
Finally, install the handles based on the manufactures directions. You’ll find mine in the supplies list above, but note that I made a note of the ones I’d buy should I have to build the doors again.
One of the reasons I would not purchase my handles again is because they were not meant to be barn door handles and therefore; they don’t feel heavy and the screws included were much shorter. They measured for cabinet drawer/door width, so we had to buy longer screws. Once they are on, you can’t tell… so there’s that.
In the end, I’m in love with the barn doors. What do you think?