How to Make Cabinet Doors With Glass Panels


To make cabinet doors with glass panels, follow the guidelines for making raised-panel cabinet doors. The measurements needed for an overlay door are 1 inch larger than the opening. The overlay door is the simplest to make and gives glass panels more support. The door also allows more options for dressing up the edges of the door frame. You will want to pay close attention to measurements for the glass panel because if it fits loosely, there is a chance of breaking it. However, it won't fit at all if it is too large.

Glass in wood frame
(Illustrations by Michael Straessle)

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • Lumber measuring 1-by-10-by-30 inches
  • Wood glue
  • Bar clamps
  • Router (optional)
  • Router bits (optional)
  • Glass panels
Step 1

Set the fence of the table saw to 2 inches. Cut four pieces from the 1-by-10-by-30-inch lumber. Cut two of them to 27½ inches and two at 13 inches. These are the sides and the rails for two 16-inch doors that fit a door opening of 15-by-26½ inches.

Cutting the Groove
Step 2

Set the fence of the table saw at 3/16 of an inch and the blade height at 1/2 inch. Place the 2-inch pieces of lumber on their long edges and cut one groove in each piece.

Step 3

Turn the pieces around and cut another groove on the same edge. This will result in creating a groove in the center of the pieces that measures 3/8-by-1/2 inches. This groove is for the rails and the glass panels.

Step 4

Set the fence of the table saw at 1/2 inch to the left side of the blade and the height of the blade at 3/16 inches. Cut each end of the 13-inch pieces, turn them over and cut them again. Do this only on the 13-inch pieces (rails). Set the fence of the table saw on 3/16 inches over the blade and raise the height to 1/2 inch. Stand the pieces on their ends and cut both sides and both ends of each 13-inch piece.

Step 5

Fit the tongues of one of the rails created in Step 4 into the ends. Measure the inside of the door frame and add 1 inch in both directions. Cut a glass panel to that measurement.

Step 6

Remove one of the rails and slip in the glass panel. Replace the rail to check the fit of the glass panel. Remove the glass panel and separate the frame pieces. Apply glue to the tongues of the rails. Slip one rail into the ends, insert the glass panel and slip the remaining rail in place. Clamp the door together across the rails at the top and the bottom of the cabinet door. Let the glue dry as instructed on the label of the glue container.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Protect the glass panel with painter's tape while applying a finish to the door.
  • It is best to rout the pieces of the frame before cutting the grooves in them.
  • Clean up excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.
  • Do not raise the blade of the table saw any higher than necessary to make the cut.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
  • Do not paint or stain the cabinet doors without proper ventilation.


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