DIY How to Make a Door for a Shelf


A shelf that is part of a case can easily be turned into a cabinet by adding a simple door. Cabinet doors can be single pieces of wood cut to size or a frame-style door that employs an insert panel and four rail pieces. The frame-style cabinet door is much more complicated but can create a more intricate appearance than the single panel door. Adding a door to shelves effectively changes the decor and ambiance of a room.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Lumber
  • Table saw
  • Router
  • Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Hinges
  • Handle
  • Measure the length and width of the shelf and its walls. Use a single sheet of wood for your shelf door or a frame-style door. If you choose the latter, measure the rails of the frame with an extra 2 inches to accommodate interlocking together. Measure insert panels for frame-style door to extend 1 inch longer and wider than the actual measurement.

  • Ask the lumberyard to cut your lumber per your requirements. Alternatively, cut your wood to specifics on your own table saw.

  • Cut the ends of the frame rails to interlock with the adjoining rail using the router. Cut a lengthwise line into the inner profile of each rail for the insert panel.

  • Interlock each piece to test. If pieces fit, put glue in the routed areas and then interlock with the adjoining piece.

  • Sand the edges and surface of the door to desired smoothness.

  • Paint the door. Allow to dry for a day or two.

  • Chisel a small mortise on the shelf for the door hinge using the bevel side of the chisel. Smooth the mortise down using the opposite side of the chisel.

  • Place the hinges on the mortise. Drill holes for the screws through the screw holes on the hinges. Place the hinges on the inside of the door. Drill holes through the screw holes on the hinges. Alternatively, mark the holes for the drill and remove the hinges for easier drilling. Screw the hinges onto the shelf and the door.

  • Attach a handle to the door with a screwdriver where desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint outside and use low VOC paint whenever possible.

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