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How To Build Unique Pantry Doors That Add Character & Charm To Your Home

After I finished my kitchen renovation, things continued to spiral. I would look at nearby areas like the coffee bar for example and realize that it was fading into the background because of the kitchen.

Same goes for our whole garage entryway! So I decided to give it a little makeover and let the space shine on its own.

But once the coffee bar and entryway were done, there was one little space left that didn’t seem to fit… our pantry doors.

We had already updated our pantry on the inside (click here to see what we did!), but the doors were builder-grade double closet doors that didn’t add anything at all to the space.

So it was time for an upgrade!

I knew I didn’t want to spend a fortune on doors, so I decided to build my own – for less than $100 total!

Let me show you how!

HOW TO BUILD UNIQUE PANTRY DOORS THAT ADD CHARACTER & CHARM TO YOUR HOME

STEP 1: MEASURE & GATHER YOUR MATERIALS

Of course first things first, you need to measure! If you want to truly replace your current doors with a new door that adds character, use your current door(s) as a template!

If not, determine the size door or doors you need to fill your space.

I simply measured my current doors and recreated doors that were the same size.

In hindsight, I would have made them just 1/2″ more narrow than my current doors as I had some adjusting to do at the end to make them fit the frame perfectly.

I drew out a design that I had in mind and marked down which pieces would be which type of wood. Then I made my list and all but ran to the store.

Here’s what I used…

And here are the tools you need…

Once you have your measurements, design plan, and materials, it’s time to get to work!

STEP 2: CUT DOWN YOUR MDF & SECURE THE PIECES TOGETHER

According to your measurements, use your miter saw to cut down your MDF boards.

It’s super important to make sure your cuts are exact in order for your door to be square, especially if you’re creating more than one door!

Always remember when cutting down wood – it’s better to cut a piece too long than too short! You can always cut it down more, but you can’t add wood back.

When you have all your pieces of wood for your frame, it’s time to lay them out!

For these doors, I needed them to be thicker than a single MDF board, so I created 2 IDENTICAL FRAMES for EACH DOOR (4 total frames).

That way I could secure them together to create a pretty front and back and make sure the door itself was thick enough to fit the door frame. More on this in a bit!

Here’s how I laid out my boards…

I did this first so I could figure out all my spacing prior to securing all the boards together! This helped me get a good visual.

I cut my vertical MDF boards the full length and make sure to cut all my horizontal boards to use to connect the two.

Once you know exactly how you want all your boards spaced, Flip them over to the backs and grab your Kreg pocket hole jig!

On the backs of all your horizontal pieces, add 2 pocket holes on each side.

Make sure you set your jig to the width of your boards first!

Lay out your door frame based on your measurements again, and use a square tool to make sure everything is perfectly spaced and aligned. You don’t want any uneven lines!

Then secure your horizontal boards to your vertical boards using pocket hole screws. I used 1 1/4″ screws.

Once you have 4 identical frames all secured with pocket hole screws, it’s time to move on to the next step!

STEP 3: FILL YOUR LOWER PANELS WITH PLYWOOD

Grab the two frames you want to be the fronts of your doors. Then measure inside the lower two cut outs.

Grab some plywood and your jigsaw and cut it down to fit those two cutouts on each door!

Cut the plywood so you have to wedge it into the frame, wood glue around the edges, and set the plywood pieces to the back edge of the frame.

Once the glue around the edges is dry, caulk around all the edges on both sides to help secure it into place.

Make sure you have the smooth side of your plywood facing up! Once the caulk is dry, go ahead and prime your plywood on both sides to seal it!

STEP 4: ADD CANING!

For the top portion of the doors, I had cane webbing in mind! I soaked the caning in warm water for about 30 minutes, cut it down to size, and simply used a staple gun to secure it into place on the backs of the front door frames.

You want to work with caning while it’s wet, because as it dries, it tightens up to give you a perfect finish!

STEP 5: SECURE YOUR BACK FRAMES TO THE FRONT FRAMES

Flip the 2 frames you built out as your door fronts over and fit the back frames on top of them to sandwich the caning in and give the back side a finished look.

Using wood glue, glue around all the edges and clamp your door frames together to dry. Clamp them tightly as to close the gaps around the edges.

Then secure with a few short finish nails. Fill any holes with plastic wood, then make sure everything is dry and secure before moving on to the next step.

STEP 6: PAINT!

Once your doors are assembled, give them a couple coats of paint! I just used brushes and my cabinet paint to do this, but you can use whatever color you want here!

Let it dry, then it’s time to work on getting them up!

STEP 7: INSTALL YOUR DOORS

Installing doors can be tricky! I needed to determine exactly how my doors were going to fit on the hinges (I just used the existing hinges from my old doors).

Then I measured exactly where the hinges needed to go on my new pantry doors.

I grabbed my router and Hingemate template and cored out spaces for the hinges to sit on my new doors. It was pretty easy to use.

You simply secure the template on the edge of your door with a couple screws, use the router bit that comes with the template and set your router depth according to the hinges you’re using, and let the router do it’s thing!

Attach your hinges when you’re done, and hang them up!

I had an issue at this point where my doors weren’t closing all the way (the top portion of the doors were overlapping). Someone told me that normal doors in your home are beveled slightly – who knew!

So I had to adjust my hinges and sand down the top edges of my doors ever so slightly to make them fit. This is why next time, I would just make them a little more narrow to be safe!

Once I figured out that issue, I installed the latching hardware at the top of my doors that was in the old doors. There are lots of options here depending on how and where you’re installing your own doors!

Then I installed my handles.

I waited until the doors were up to install the handles so I could make sure I lined them up correctly! You could also do this before you install them too.

STEP 8: STEP BACK AND ADMIRE YOUR FINISHED DOORS!

Would I do this again? Absolutely I would! I love how they turned out, and they were honestly really easy to put together! I didn’t have any issues until the install, and those were just opportunities to learn!

What do you think? Would you ever try to build your own doors? Let me know!