How to Make Glass Cabinet Doors With Wood Frames


Traditional cabinet doors are usually made of a solid wood sheet construction. While they do a perfect job of keeping the contents of the cabinet contained, they also conceal them from view. If you’d rather have the contents easily seen while continuing to keep them safely put away, you’ll need to change the solid wood cabinet doors to doors of glass. Modifying the existing doors is possible, but usually not worth the time and effort. Instead, you can create your own framed glass cabinet doors, sized to fit your cabinets perfectly, with only a few required tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • 1-by-3-inch hardwood strips
  • Compound miter saw
  • Sliding compound miter saw
  • Router with rail
  • Yellow wood glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Brad nailer
  • Interior wood paint or wood stain
  • 1/8-inch thick glass sheets
  • 1/8-inch thick keeper strip
  • Small brads
  • Brad pusher
  • Cabinet hinges
  • Wood screws
  • Empty out all items from the cabinet to avoid damaging them during the cabinet door replacement process.

  • Remove the screws from the hinges holding the existing cabinet doors in place with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Pull the doors from the front of the cabinet and then set them aside onto a flat surface. Measure the dimensions of the cabinet doors with a tape measure, taking both the length and width of the cabinet doors.

  • Set the work-stop block on the saw rail to the measured length of the cabinet doors. Place the plank onto the saw rail, and then cut through the board with the saw blade. Cut two length boards for each cabinet door. Cut two width boards using the same cutting process for the width measurement of the cabinet.

  • Create lap joints on the end of each of the cut boards using a router set to cut into the face of the board, half of the board’s thickness. Set a rail on top of the boards as a guide for the router, setting the rail onto the face of the board spaced the exact measured width of the board, from the board’s end. This will give you a cut on the board that’s half the board’s depth while being the width of the other board overlapping the cut.

  • Brush yellow wood glue over the routed cuts with a paintbrush. Press the cut on a width board over the cut on a length board to create an overlap where the corners of the joint are 90-degrees, and the overlapped area is the same height as the rest of the board. Repeat the process for the other three joints of the cabinet doorframe to create a frame that’s the same size as the original cabinet door. Place brad nails through the overlapping board sections to secure the frame as the glue dries.

  • Replace the bit in the router with a round-over bit. Set the bit depth to about 1/4-inch, and then run the router over the edges on the front of the board to round them out for a more attractive look.

  • Change to a rabbet bit in the router, and then flip the board over so that you can cut along the rear. Set the bit depth to about 1/4-inch and then cut a small rabbit ledge on the inside edge of the frame to hold the glass in place. Remove the corner material left by the rabbit bit with a hammer and chisel to create 90-degree angles for the rabbit ledge. Create a rabbet on the outside of the rear frame as well, to allow for proper fitting of the cabinet door within the cabinet opening.

  • Paint or stain the frame the color desired, applying the paint or wood stain with a paintbrush.

  • Measure the space between opposing rabbet edges on the interior of the frame, and have a 1/8-inch thick sheet of glass cut to match the measurement. Place the glass into the frame along the ledge.

  • Place a 1/8-inch thick keeper strip the same width as your rabbet ledge between the glass surface and the bottom surface of the frame behind the glass, and push it to the edge of the frame. Nail the strip in place by pushing small brad nails through the edge of the strip and into the frame with a brad pusher every 6-inches, from the side of the strip facing the glass.

  • Screw the hinges onto the new glass cabinet door, and then screw the cabinet door handles onto the fronts. Place the door onto the cabinet and screw the hinges to the cabinet frame to complete the installation of the new glass cabinet door.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rent the saw from a home improvement store or equipment rental shop.

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