This beginner- friendly tutorial is a for two sided barn door with rustic decorative trim on both sides. Use wood boards from the big box store and birch plywood for a budget friendly project. This project lays out the steps to build a door of any size while still keeping the 1- 3/4″ door width required by standard sliding barn door hardware.
I’m so happy to finally be sitting down to write this tutorial. This project has been in the works for a long time. If you’ve been wondering whether or not you can build a barn door with beginner woodworking skills, let me tell you. You. Absolutely. Can.
This tiny laundry room has been getting a makeover one project at a time. The faux wainscoating was one of the first things I did over a year ago. I knew back then that a sliding door would be perfect for this small space, but I was nervous about building something bigger than me, so I procrastinated for a while.
Eventually, I got brave enough to do it. I measured and drew it out, then took Duane to the big box store to help me haul the wood into my Jeep. And in two days, I freakin’ built a door. I did! And you can, too.
Building this door doesn’t necessarily have to take you two days, but I’m slow at building and I need a lot of Popcorn and Coke Zero breaks 🙂
The door isn’t perfect, but I’m still SO proud of it! It serves its purpose well and looks good. Best of all, I love not having a door swinging into my laundry room, getting in my way when I’m carrying laundry in and out, or trying to iron. (ok….I don’t really iron that much, but when I do….I like having space).
Side note: If you like the ironing board holder, it’s a quick scrap wood project. You can find the plans for it here!
A couple of things I did that made process easier: 1. I did not remove the door trim on either side, and 2. I installed the hardware before I built the door.
Hands down, the best part of this build is the two-sided design. This beauty looks good no matter which side you look at it from! I was worried about it looking weird from the opposite side because ya know…the hardware is a big part of what makes a barn door beautiful. And I was concerned I would never want to slide it shut. But, friends I was wrong! It looks just as good from the kitchen side.
The two-sided design was a bit tricky to figure out because the door had to be no thicker than 1- 3/4″ (standard barn door hardware does not allow for thicker doors). So, the decorative trim could not add too much bulk, which is why I chose 1/2″ birch plywood.
Are you ready to get started???! Let’s do this!
How to Build a Two Sided Barn Door
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|Materials Needed (36″x 84″door)|
|(5) 1″x 8″ straight wood boards
(1) sheet of 1/2″ birch plywood ripped into 6″ planks (I had mine ripped at the store)
(50-60) 3/4″ wood screws (I went to a specialty hardware store and got the fattest ones they carried because I wanted them to be chunky and show as part of the design)
Miter Saw (only if you want the angled cross pieces)
Finish of Choice (See Step 5 for details. This is the stain I used)
Step 1: Install the Hardware (click here for the tutorial)
This may sound strange, but installing the hardware first helped to get a more accurate idea of the size I needed to build the door. Once the hardware was up, I simply measured the length from the bar to the floor, leaving a little room for floor clearance. My door ended up being 84″ long. I followed the same procedure when I built the sliding window shutter in my son’s room and it worked well also.
Step 2: Cut and Glue the 1x5s
Step 3: Add Plywood Trim
Like I said before, the trim is made from 1/2″ birch plywood ripped into 6″ planks. Using 1/2″ helped to keep the door from going over the 1- 3/4″ width.
Add the vertical plywood pieces first, then measure and cut the three horizontal pieces. My horizontal pieces were 24- 1/2″ long. Adhere with wood glue and reinforce with 3/4″ wood screws. Turn the door over and repeat the process on the other side.
Step 4: Mark and Cut the Diagonal Trim
To figure out the angled cuts, place one of the plywood pieces across and mark your cut. Using a square helps to keep the line straight.
Once you have your line drawn, take the piece to the miter saw and set the miter angle to line up with your mark, and cut. If you don’t have a miter saw, or want to keep this project simple, you can leave out the diagonal pieces.
Done and exactly 1- 3/4″. Phew!
Step 5: Sand and Stain
Now that the door is built, it’s time to prepare the surface for the finish. The edges of the plywood can be pretty rough, so using a cat sander worked well to get into the small spaces.
Once the door surface is smooth, apply the finish of your choice. I find staining is easier and more forgiving than paint, so I went with this stain for a rustic look. Because I was using 2 types of wood, you may notice that the trim stained darker than the body of the door. Thankfully, I didn’t mind the look!
Confession: I initially covered the screws with wood filler and it was a mess! You can see the spots on this photo. That’s when I headed to the specialty hardware store and bought some fat and chunky short screws and painted them black. I then chipped the wood filler off and replaced the screws with the fat/chunky ones.
I gave the door 2 coats of stain and 3 coats of top coat. I love this top coat the best because it’s water based and doesn’t leave a shine or yellow tint like other top coats do.
Step 6: Attach hardware to the door
This part was pretty scary because I was so afraid of ruining my beautiful masterpiece! But I took my time and it turned out well. Be sure and check out my tutorial for installing barn door hardware.
Step 7: Install Finger Pull (if needed) and door handle
Because this is a two-sided barn door, it needed hardware on both sides. I installed a finger pull on the kitchen side. In hindsight, I wish the finger pull was bigger, but it looks alright. It was my first time using a chisel and it was nice not to chip away a large space to fit the pull.
The door handle is from Lowes and you can find it here!.It was super easy to install. I did it when the door was up to make sure the placement made sense.
Step 8: Install the Floor Guide
This is super important, so please don’t skip this step. The door needs to have floor guide to be safe. The hardware came with a small floor guide, which required cutting a groove at the bottom of the door using a router. It also required drilling holes on the floor. No thanks.
So, my solution was to buy this floor guide on Amazon. It was super easy to install on the wall (I put mine right on the baseboard). No need to drill on the floor or use a router. The knobs are adjustable to the width of your door and allow the door to glide easily in between. Please DO NOT let your door “just hang” without a floor guide. It is super dangerous!. This was actually the second floor guide I bought. The first one was a royal pain! Beware of cheaper models and flawed designs.
You can see the floor guide on the picture below. So much better than having to drill on the floor! Excuse my messy memo board. I’m working on a solution for that mess as we speak, so stay tuned!
All in all, I am super happy with how this door turned out. It gave my laundry room a rustic touch and so much better flow and function!.
I also love how the stain color ties in with the hardwood floors and barstools on the kitchen side. After painting my cabinets last year, this door provided a wood element the space needed.
If you have questions about this project, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments! And if you like beginner-friendly wood projects and budget-friendly home ideas, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on new projects. As a subscriber, you have access to free plans and printables from my resource library. Are you in?
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Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to “dare to try”. Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.