When I was in the middle of creating a beautiful feature wall for our guest bedroom, I had an idea. I looked over to the cramped closet door in the corner that always seemed to want to open into the bed and take up too much space and thought, “I should build a barn door.”
Not only would it be beautiful, but it would slide. Making it so we could center the bed more and not have to worry about folding up the rug every time we needed to access the closet.
So as soon as the wall was finished, I set my sights on building that door with the leftover wood I had from the wall. Talk about a win-win!
HOW I BUILT AND INSTALLED A SLIDING BARN DOOR (& HOW YOU CAN TOO)
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 83.5″ tall and 35″ 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 and placement of your door!
- 1 Melamine White Panel (4′ x 8′ x 3/4″) – the thickness matters here!
- Board Wash boards from WoodStock Walls – enough to cover about 25 square feet
- 3 (1 x 2 x 8) select pine boards
- 1 (1 x 4 x 8) select pine board
- Plastic Wood
- Sliding barn door hardware
- Door handle
- Barn door floor guide
- Drywall screws
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 panel board 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 a total of 1.5″ to your height and width.
I cut my board down 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! Occasionally, they’re willing!
Once you have your board cut down, 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 BOARDS TO YOUR DOOR
In order to create the same design I did, you’ll want to take your first board wash board and cut the end of it at a 45-degree angle.
All of your diagonal boards will require 45-degree cuts.
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 direction 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 panel board.
Wood glue it down, then add a few brad nails to secure it into place.
Continue until you have all your diagonal boards on the panel board, switching the direction of the diagonal boards on the lower half of the door for a design like mine. I didn’t use a spacer here, I simply allowed each board to sit closely together! I liked the rustic look of these boards on the door!
Once my diagonals were done, I planned to add horizontal boards to finish out the design of the door. I cut the end that met up with the diagonals at a 45 degree angle, then placed it on the board and drew my line where it met the edge of the panel board. I cut the straight edges at 0 degrees with my miter saw and continued until my entire panel board was covered in the boards!
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 use your finish nailer to secure them into place, making sure that the edges are flush with the front of your door! I flipped my door over to makes sure my frame was flush with the front!
Use natural wood filler to fill all your nail holes on the frame!
STEP 5: 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 left mine for now!
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 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 to the room to prep for installation.
STEP 6: 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 the template, my drill, and a large bit to drill my holes and install the handle. Your handle should give you more instructions if needed!
STEP 7: 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. But it’s hard for me to tell you exactly how to do it without knowing the measurements of your door!
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. I did end up needing to cut off a few inches of the right side of my board to allow it to fit where it needed to in our cramped space.
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 8: 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!
Based on what I’ve seen, barn doors range from $300-$1000+! Building one yourself can saved you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars! Since I used leftover boards for this, I only spent a little over $100 on this door! Totall worth it if you ask me!
I would build this again in a heartbeat!
What do you think? Would you consider building your own barn door? Let me know in the comments!