There had been one major DIY on my mind for months now. I had been plotting it. Trying to figure out exactly where it should go and how it should look.
And that is a custom barn door.
Ever since we moved into this home 6 months ago, I’ve been paying close attention to each and every door to try to figure out the best place to add a barn door to our home.
I just love the look of them! So bold and detailed. Such a gorgeous design element!
There were a lot of obvious places that simply wouldn’t work with the space like our laundry room and playroom.
But then I studied our closet door. And I figured out that there was just enough space to make it happen!
So of course I got to work right away… and here’s exactly what I did!
BUILD YOUR OWN CUSTOM BARN DOOR (AND SAVE HUNDREDS IN THE PROCESS)
First things first, determine your measurements, and gather your materials!
STEP 1: MEASURE & GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
I’m not a pro by any means when it comes to measuring and figuring out if you have the right amount of space, but I wanted to make sure that my door covered up my door frame by about 1-2 inches on each side (and the top).
That’s how I came up with my initial measurements for the door (mine is 85.5″ tall and 37.5″ wide).
I then made sure there was enough wall space on one side of my door frame for my door to slide over without being in the way of anything. For that, I basically took my door measurements and determined that I had enough space on the lefthand side to make it work.
From there, I grabbed my materials.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED
I’ll share the exact materials I used, but keep in mind your quantities may change depending on the size of your door!
- 1 sheet of sanded plywood (4′ x 8′ x 3/4″) – the thickness matters here!
- 10 primed 1 x 4 MDF boards
- 3 (1 x 2 x 8) select pine boards
- 1 (1 x 4 x 8) select pine board
- Plastic Wood
- Paint – I used Gatherings by Magnolia
- Sliding barn door hardware
- Door handle
- Barn door floor guide
STEP 2: CUT DOWN & PREP YOUR BASE
After you’ve gathered your materials and have your measurements, it’s time to get to work!
Grab your sheet of plywood and cut it down for the base of your door based on your measurements. Keep in mind that you will also add 1×2 boards as a frame which will add about 1.5″ to your height and width.
I cut my plywood sheet down to be 3 feet wide and 7 feet tall using my jigsaw, but a circular saw or table saw would work here too. You can maybe even ask if your hardware store will do this for you! A lot of the time, they’re willing!
Now, go ahead and take your primer and your roller, and prime your plywood! This will make your life way easier as you move forward.
Once you have your sheet cut down and primed, measure and find the exact middle and draw a line in pencil width-wise across your door. This will be a guide for your design boards in the next step.
STEP 3: ADD YOUR MDF BOARDS TO YOUR DOOR
In order to create the same design I did, you’ll want to take your first MDF board and cut the end of it at a 45-degree angle.
All of your cuts will be 45-degree cuts for this.
Place that angled end on the center line you just drew on your plywood, and mark where it meets the edge with a pencil line. Extend that pencil line a bit so you know which angle to cut.
Cut where you marked at a 45-degree angle again, then place it back on your plywood so one end is exactly at your center line and the other end is flush with the edge of your plywood board.
Wood glue it down and clamp it into place.
Figure out how much space you want in between each board, and grab a spacer. I used a 1/4″ plywood scrap board I had on hand, but anything close to a quarter inch will work here!
Using your spacer and another board, determine where you need to cut your next board. Make your mark. Cut. Glue. Repeat!
I finished the entire top half first before I moved on to the bottom half, using the scrap pieces of the boards I was cutting down whenever the length allowed! I ended up using around 4.5 total MDF boards per side for reference.
Once you’re finished with the top half, reverse the direction of your diagonals on the bottom half and continue until your design is complete.
STEP 4: FRAME IT UP
Now, grab your 1x2s and miter them to frame out your door.
Here, you just want to take your 1×2 and make sure it is longer than the length of your door. Make marks where your 1×2 is at the ends of the door, then miter those cuts at 45-degree angles outward so they meet up with the other boards to form a frame.
Do this for all 4 sides, then wood glue and clamp them into place so they can dry! I also used my brad nailer on the corners to hold the frame in place.
Now, caulk around the frame edges and fill your gaps at the center line with some plastic wood to make it look a little prettier before you paint!
STEP 5: PAINT
Now that your board is assembled, it’s time to paint! I used my paint sprayer to get into all the gaps easily and would highly recommend this method.
I gave it two good coats and took a roller to the edges to make sure there were no drips. Then I let it dry completely.
STEP 6: PREP FOR INSTALLATION
Now that your door is built, it’s time to install!
First things first, if you have a door where your barn door will go, remove it from the hinges and remove all other door hardware.
You can choose to leave your existing door frame or reframe your door (I reframed mine with select pine boards that were the same size as my old door frame). The simple and easy option is to leave your door frame be!
Because of the door frame and how it extends from the wall a little bit, I decided to install my sliding hardware on a 1×4 select pine board so my door would clear the frame and the baseboards without any issue.
I grabbed all my hardware, my extra board, and brought the door inside to prep for installation.
STEP 7: INSTALL YOUR DOOR HANDLE
First things first, go ahead and install your barn door handle!
It’s nice and simple. I just eyeballed where I wanted it to go and measured to make sure it was straight and in the center of the door! Then I used my drill and a large bit to drill my holes and install the handle.
STEP 8: INSTALL YOUR SLIDING HARDWARE
Now, it’s time to install your sliding door hardware! The best piece of advice I can give you here is to follow the instructions that come with your hardware!
Our instructions were incredibly detailed in terms of measurements for installing the brackets, how high to hang the hardware, where to drill holes, etc.
It took some time, but the directions were very easy to follow.
I cut my 1×4 board down to 7′ long and made marks on my board where each screw would go for the sliding door hardware before I put it on the wall.
My hardware required 5 screws spaced 16″ apart, so I made my first mark 10″ in on my 1×4 board and made 5 total marks spaced 16″ apart. Then I pre-drilled those holes.
My instructions told me exactly where the first screw needed to go, so I lined up my board with that mark on my wall, leveled it out, and secured my board into place with some drywall screws to make it easier to work with.
Then, I added my sliding hardware to the board, making sure my screws were going into studs. This is VERY important! The door is heavy and needs to be secured in the studs.
If your screws don’t line up with studs, make sure to secure your board into the studs of your wall before installing your hardware.
Continue following the instructions to make sure everything is measured out and lined up how it should be, then hang your door on the railing!
Lastly, install a floor guide to your door to make sure it doesn’t pull away from the wall and/or fall. This is a safety measure that should not be overlooked! Especially if you have small children in your home like I do!
STEP 9: STEP BACK AND ADMIRE YOUR MASTERPIECE!
And that’s it! It sounds like a lot, but the hardest part was just making sure all the measurements were correct for the installation!
All in all, this project cost me around $165 to build and install myself, and I would build this again in a heartbeat!
But I also know that building isn’t for everyone! Want the barn door look for a little less effort? Check out this similar Arrow Barn Door from White Shanty!
What do you think? Would you consider building your own barn door, or are you more likely to buy one? Let me know in the comments!