How to Make a Flat Interior Door Look Like a Six-Panel Door

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A flat door can be transformed to look like a decorative six-panel door with the application of molding. A six-panel door consists of six panels spaced evenly down the door in three rows of two panels each. On a standard 36-by-80-inch door, the panels can be spaced 6 inches apart on all sides and measure 9-by-20-inches. Molding comes in a variety of profiles. Select a profile that complements the shape or other details in your existing woodwork.

Things You'll Need

  • 36-by-80-inch flat panel door
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 4 molding strips, 96 inches long
  • Miter saw
  • Box, finish nails
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper, fine-grit
  • Primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint
  • Place a flat door on a work surface with the side you want to look paneled facing up.

  • Measure 6 inches in from the sides, top and bottom and mark those points with a pencil. Make two marks on each side, which should enable you to draw straight lines for the rectangles in Step 3.

  • Using a pencil, draw 9-inch-wide by 20-inch-long rectangles on the door, spaced evenly in three rows of two and starting 6 inches from the outside edges. This is the guide for the molding.

  • Measure, mark and cut 12 20-inch-long sections of molding and 12 9-inch-long sections of molding using a miter saw. Cut the ends at a 45-degree angle so that the molding fits at the corners like a vertical picture frame with sides that are 20 inches long and tops and bottoms that are 9 inches long.

  • Lay out the molding sections on the door over each marked molding guide, to form rectangles. The mitered ends should fit together snugly and the outside edge of the molding should just cover the pencil lines.

  • Drive nails through the molding into the door with a hammer; space the nails evenly every 2 to 3 inches.

  • Set the nails approximately 1/16 inch below the surface of the molding with a nail set.

  • Fill the nail holes with wood filler using a putty knife. Allow the filler to dry 24 hours and sand it flush with fine-grit sandpaper.

  • Prime and paint the door. Allow at least four hours between the primer and top coat of paint. Do not handle the door for at least 24 hours and avoid heavy use for at least 72 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint the inside of the molding rectangles with a contrasting color to accent the paneled appearance.
  • Wear eye protection when working on wood projects.

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