Every home has a problem area. My problem area is the laundry room and hallway. There is a lot of doors, in a small space, and to get all the way to the laundry room you have to close the door. Awkward. I needed some space savings solutions, and no amount of organization would help. My laundry room door was the issue. I decided to solve this by creating a barn door. It would solve my problems and add some style to my hallway.
Materials needed for a DIY barn door:
- One large piece of plywood
- Seven 7 ft long 3×1 boards
- Two 7ft long 1×1 boards
- Barn door hardware kit
- Table saw
- Air nailer
- Glass cutter
- Jig saw
The plan was to make it 7 ft tall, and 3 ft wide door. This allows the door to cover the doorway and the door trim. So, slightly larger than a standard door. There is no window in my hallway or laundry room, so I wanted to add a window to the top of the door. I also am going to continue the detailing on the door that is running down my hallway, a board and batten wood detail across the door. With those plans in mind it was time to get my supplies.
One ready-made barn door hardware kit purchased from eBay. They can be purchased at many online retailers.
How to build a sliding barn door:
Step 1: Cut the plywood down to size
The first step is cutting the plywood down to size. I used a table saw, measured the sides and cut it to my desired length and width.
Step 2: Cut the boards to size
Next was using the long 3 inch wide and 1 inch thick boards. These are going to be on the left and right sides of the front and back. Cutting 4 down to the length of the plywood.
Step 3: Glue and nail the boards onto the plywood
Once they were cut, I set them in their spot to make sure it was the correct length. I did this with all of the cuts I did. Before anything was attached double-check to confirm all is right with size. When I saw they are cut correctly, I used some wood glue. Using enough to make a line of glue along where the board will lay.
Pressing down for a few seconds to make it stick. Then I have an air nailer I used in a few spots, Just to make sure all is secure.
Step 4: Add the detailing to the top and bottom
The next step is to add the detailing for the bottom and the top of the door. I wanted the bottom to be a little bulkier, so that piece was cut larger using plywood. This gives a visual layered look to the door. All of this is up to personal preference, do what will work for your home and your space. I set the plywood down, measured and cut the size I wanted. Gluing it down and securing it the same way.
Step 5: Measure and cut the glass
There was one portion of this project I was nervous about, cutting the glass I had purchased. I got a glass cutter from the local home improvement store I purchased the glass from. I drew a line using a white board marker, to create the cut line. This way once it is cut I can wipe away the marker line.
Taking a tool oil and smearing it over the line written. This allows the cutter to slide along the glass without breaking it. Then run the glass cutter along the line. Putting enough pressure to make an indentation.
Once that had been outlined. I used a tile cutter press. Setting a towel down under the glass and then the glass on the press. This is to protect the glass. Using the press, lining it up with the cut line. This allowed the cleanest cut. You can snap it by setting one edge of the glass off of the counter and then pressing down. Either way should get the job done.
Step 6: Cut out a hole for the window
With the glass cut I now have a template to measure and cut out the door hole for the window.
Using a jigsaw, cutting along the drawn-out lines. Be sure to keep the surface secure otherwise the saw can slip. There was some sanding needed on the edges, it all needs to be as clean and smooth as possible for the window to go in.
Step 7: Make a frame for the window
In order to make the window as secure as possible, I needed to make a frame the glass could sit in. I have three small kids who will slam and abuse this door on a daily basis. I purchased 1 inch by 1-inch sized boards. Measuring the length of the glass and cutting them to fit that length.
Then with the newly cut boards, I needed to make a small cut-out line to have the glass set in. Being able to wedge the glass within the four boards.
I achieved this by using my table saw but lowering the blade. Making sure the blade does not go through the size of the board. Once the saw was in place it was as simple as running the board through the saw.
Step 8: Paint the window frame
After they were cut I decided to paint them before the glass was in them. This made my life easier by not having to tape up the window once everything was put together. I was careful not to get any paint in the sawed-out line.
Step 9: Add the boards at the top and bottom of the window
Now that I had the hole and glass cut, I needed to add the boards that will sit on the top and bottom of the window on each side of the door. These boards are what the window frame will be attached to.
Measuring and cutting the boards was really simple and straightforward. I cut them and then used wood glue and some nails to secure them in place.
Step 10: Secure the window
Once those were in place on both sides. It was time to secure the window. First securing the glass into the frame. With the glass being wedged in, there was no need to nail the frame together. It is all going to be secured by the other boards already attached to the door. Pushing and nudging the frame into place little by little. It was a snug fit, which is what was needed.
Then laying a folded towel under the glass and one on the top of the glass. This is to prevent vibrations while nailing it that could possibly shatter the glass. Probably not necessary, but I was not going to do all of this work to then have the glass break. Using my trusty air nailer I nailed the inside of the frame putting in nails to the outer frame.
Step 11: Drill the holes for the sliding door hardware
With it all done I need to drill in the holes that the sliding hardware will go into. Using the instructions from the hardware I purchased. I measured the holes 150mm in, then one hole 40mm and the other 90mm down. Be sure to check and double-check this. These are the things that will hold your door up. With the hardware already with holes it is important to have them aligned properly.
Step 12: Paint the door
Then, the barn door is built! It is time to paint it. I decided to go with a standard white, to match the trim and board and batten in my hallway already. I laid the barn door down and then painted two coats of paint, both sides. Be sure to not glop on too much paint. With all of the details, there can be a lot of drips and gathered paint in the corners. So be sure to take your time and not slather on the paint too thick.
Step 13: Install the wall-mounted board
This door is built and painted, it is time to make it become a sliding barn door. I cut and painted a small board left over from the framing of the window. This will be set on the wall, and the long piece of metal for the door will connect to this.
This board is needed because the metal bar the door slides on has pre cut hole in it. The holes do not line up to any studs in my wall. With my sturdy door, this is going to be needed to hold a lot of weight. And just nailing the hardware into the drywall will not hold it. So either you got lucky and the pre cut holes match up to the studs in the wall. Or you will have to do what I did.
I found where the studs were by using a stud finder and running it across the wall. Then marking when the stud finder goes off. The instructions for the hardware stated for the board to be 100mm from the bottom hole that was drilled into the door. So by careful measurements, I knew where to screw it in. Before attaching anything also check it with a leveler to confirm it is straight from one side to the other.
Step 14: Install the metal bar
With the board up, I marked with a pencil where the metal bar has its holes. Using a drill and drilling in holes into the board and the wall.
Then taking the spacers given for the hardware, set it in front of the hole. This is where a helping hand is needed, bring in an assistant with muscles. The metal bar is heavy and needs to be steady. Setting the bar and specific hole over the spacer. Screw the bar and spacer together. Attaching the metal bar to the spacer and wall. The metal bar should be sitting about 1 inch out of the wall with the spacers separating the bar from the wall.
Step 15: Install the sliding roller
The sliding roller needs to be attached to the barn door. Almost done! Holding the roller in place and then screwing the roller into the hole. The rollers has specific screws that were just long enough to be a snug fit.
Step 16: Put the door in place
Then simply place the rollers on the metal bar. Hold your breath, let go and see if it stays up. Mine did! I was so excited and relieved. I had visions of the wall being torn down and the door falling and breaking. But, none of that happened. So go me!
The door hardware I had provided door stops to go on either side of the ends. Moving the door back and forth to see where the stoppers needed to be then screaming them in. This can be changed if necessary.
Step 17: Add the handles
The final step is putting on the handles. I purchased two matching handles that have screw holes to the front. Making it as easy to attach as possible. Setting the handle and marking it with a pencil through the holes. Just to make sure you keep it even while securing it all.
Once that was all done, I officially have a barn door!
I achieved my goal of adding some much-needed space to my problem area in my home. And some style, using the white paint and dark barn door hardware makes this stand out so much. I could have made this more contemporary or got super country with it. Really any style works great.
There are a few ways to simplify this process and still get a barn door. Using an existing door, an old door, or not putting in a window. Any of those could greatly simplify your barn door endeavor, making it possible for anyone to do.
I should also mention that if you purchase ready-made hardware (which I recommend) follow those specific instructions, not mine. I broke it down for the people who are looking to create their own hardware or seeing what it is all about. There were a few complicated parts to it, some of my own doing. However the idea of a sliding barn door is stylish, modern, and an amazing space saver.