How to Make a Dutch Door With a Top Shelf

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A Dutch door with a shelf is suitable for a nursery or kitchen door where you want the option of a closed door blocking traffic with an opening for seeing or talking to someone in the adjoining room. The shelf is nice for placing small items without opening the door. Use an existing wooden door and add sliding bolt latch so both parts securely close.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Chisel
  • Screw
  • Marker
  • Hinges
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • 1/2-inch thick shelf
  • L-brackets
  • Wood glue
  • Handle
  • Sliding bolt
  • Remove the wooden door from its hinges by tapping out the hinge pins with a hammer and screwdriver. Place the door on a sturdy work surface. Remove the middle hinge and move it higher on the door. Use a chisel for marking an indent for the hinge plate. Screw the hinge in place. Add another hinge about 10 inches above the bottom hinge using the same procedure.

  • Place the door back into position on the wall. Mark the placement of the two new hinges. Chisel out the openings and install the other halves of the hinges. Remove the door from the hinges and take it back to the work area.

  • Measure from the bottom of the door to 2 inches above the existing doorknob. Mark the door with a pencil, and then transfer the same measurement to the other side of the door’s inside. Draw a straight line horizontally across the door. Cut the door in half using a circular saw along the line.

  • Remove another one-half inch from the door’s bottom section, making space for the shelf.

  • Cut a one-half inch thick shelving section as long as the door’s width minus 2 inches for the doorframe opening and between 6 and 8 inches wide. Mark the position of two or three L-brackets under the shelf on the bottom door’s outside. Remove the shelf and invert on the work surface. Screw the L-brackets in place on the shelf’s bottom.

  • Place a bead of wood glue along the top edge of the bottom section door and set the shelf on top. Center it between the sides. Line up the inside edge and leave the shelf extension on the outside of the door. Screw the bottom part of the L-brackets into the door.

  • Screw a handle vertically into the Dutch door’s top section about 3 inches from the bottom.

  • Set the door back on its hinges, one section at a time. Close the door and lay a sliding-bolt hinge vertically across the two door sections on the inside. Position the hinge at the door’s midpoint or beyond with the bolt sliding downwards. Screw the bolt into place with the included wood screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • For an exterior door, use a bolt lock in the top section.

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