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DIY built-in barn doors {tutorial}

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How about a “mini” barn door built-in tutorial for an existing bookcase? I had a few emails from people commenting on the island built in bookcase in our recent Family Room makeover  so I thought I would share with you how I made easy DIY doors. The area under the island is what I enclosed. 

diy built in barn door tutorial

Here is the final product that was featured in the This Old House Magazine.

DIY barn doors for built in cabinet

bookcase before

Adding smaller doors using existing cabinetry was the easiest and least expensive solution I could come up with. I used two random kitchen cabinet doors we had left over from a previous project. Home Depot and Lowes also, on occasion, will have random doors in their scrap area. You could also use pine or even plywood. I actually used the “back” side of the door to cover with my bead board because it was much smoother . The recessed part of a front door  can be difficult to get a flat finish.

kitchen cabinet-1
Flip your cabinet door over and cut a piece of bead board to fit directly on top of the cabinet (or whatever you are using as a base). I used wood glue and reinforced with 1” finish nails. NOTE: nail from the backside if possible so you don’t have nail holes showing in the front and make sure you use a nail size that won’t puncture through the opposite side.
kitchen cabinet door-1
I used 3/8 x 3 x 36” MDF craft board as my trim. You can buy this in the craft wood area of Lowes. These doors are on the smaller side so MDF craft wood will work but if your doors are larger, you may want to use a trim that is more substantial like pine. Similar to what I used in our previous larger DIY barn {closet} door project.
I measured my length pieces first and adhered to the bead board with wood glue and reinforced with larger finish nails (1 1/4- 1 1/2”). Once your length pieces are nailed, measure the width part and voila , you have a cute little barn door!
kitchen cabinet door 2
I used white paintable caulking to fill in all the gaps and spackle to fill any nail holes. If you have a large gap that isn’t able to be filled with caulking you can buy the paintable wood veneer strips to fill the edges. I got lucky and the caulking did the trick .
mini barn doors tutorial 2
The hinges and door pulls are oil rubbed bronze by gatehouse from Lowes. I added some shelves in the middle where baskets house my sewing stuff as well as shelves behind the doors where my sewing machine and larger craft items are stored. I did add some pine to the existing island to “beef” it up a bit and coordinate with the planks I added to the wall in the rest of the room. Be sure to check out our other DIY barn {closet} door tutorials and creative DIY sliding door solutions.

10 diy built in ideas BHG inspiration

Built-in Ideas


This project was featured in the This Old House Magazine’s October 2012 issue.

This old house magazine feature


About The Author

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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  1. These look great and your DIY description is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yea!! Thank you! We are probably going to start our doors this weekend. Can't wait. :o)

  3. Jessica Bruno says:

    Good luck! 🙂

  4. Im A Silly Mami says:

    Looks awesome Jess! Love the room

  5. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication says:

    Genious! I'm definitely saving this for future inspiration!

  6. Not only is this tutorial an inspiration, but your whole room, house and story as well!

  7. Jessica Bruno says:

    Thank you! I hope you get this b/c your email wasn't showing so I couldn't send you back a reply. Have a great day 🙂

  8. Olah Momma! says:

    You did a good job! Never thought of doing this until I visited your lovely website:)

    Hopping by and followed your FB, twitter, G+, SU and Pinterest.

    Also inviting you to join our meatless recipe blog hop/showcase at http://olahmomma.com/momlounge.

    Hope to see ya there! Have a great day:)

    The Quiet Mom at http://olahmomma.com

  9. Fairfield House says:


    You did a wonderful job transforming these cabinet doors. What a creative and clever way to add some cottage charm!


  10. THIS IS AWESOME!!! I can’t tell you how long I’ve tried to find something like this! Thanks so much for sharing! You are a favorite of mine on pinterest 🙂

  11. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS IDEA. I am finding so many wonderful ideas on your site and some amazing inspiration for my home. I live in the country and I am really wanting to keep that country feel but with a very modern and chic twist and this hits the nail on the head completely. Thanks so much for sharing. Time to try my hand it this 😉