How to Build a Closet Door

A simple closet door can be put together from a couple of sheets of luan (that’s very thin ¼ inch plywood) and some pieces of 2-by-2 pine or fir. These materials are fairly easy to come by, and they are attractive as well. The door needs to be lightweight so that it can swing easily back and forth. If you have an unusually sized opening, this may be a better option than purchasing a custom-made door to fit your odd sized opening.

Things You'll Need

  • Circular saw
  • Sawhorses
  • 2 sheets of ¼ inch Luan (4 X 8 feet)
  • Carpenter’s glue
  • 2-by-2’s
  • 4 Jorgensen wood clamps
  • Orbital sander
  • Medium sandpaper
  • 4' 1-by-4 boards
  • Safety glasses

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Determine the size of your door. If the opening is already framed in, then you must be sure to allow for the thickness of the door jamb and as well as a small gap (about ¼ inch) on each side of the door so that it can swing freely.

Lay a sheet of luan (also called Lauan plywood) on the sawhorses, and then cut the plywood to size. Luan is a name used for a type of thin plywood that usually has an attractive looking veneer. It is also reasonably priced. Once the luan is cut, sand all rough edges, and then set one sheet aside.

Cut two pieces of 2-by-2 to fit across the top and bottom edges of the thin plywood. They will be the exact same length as the width of the plywood. Set these in place, and then cut the two pieces that run along the vertical edge of the plywood. The two vertical pieces will run between the top and bottom piece, so measure carefully. Lightly sand the four freshly cut pieces.

Apply glue to one side of the 2-by-2’s (four total), set each one in place around the edge of the sheet of luan, and then clamp each corner with a Jorgensen clamp or a pair of C clamps. While the glue dries, you can cut the rest of 2-by-2’s for the center bracing.

Cut a center strip from a 2-by-2 and set it in place. Just make a simple measurement between the two vertical strips and cut a piece with two square ends, so that it fits snugly in between. Next, cut two diagonal pieces, one to go above the center piece and one to go below it. To do this, you can simply set the 2-by-2 in place and mark the top and bottom pieces with a pencil. Then make your cuts.

Wait until the glue dries. Then, cover the bottom surface of the center strip and two diagonals with glue and set them in place. Clamp the ends of these pieces with clamps as best you can. It may help to place a flat board (like a 1-by-4) on top and also below and then clamp.

Wait until the glue dries. Then, cover the top side of the 2-by-2 frame with glue and set the second sheet of luan on top. Then place 1-by-4 boards across the bottom, middle and top of the door and then tighten down with clamps. Remove the clamps and boards after the glue is dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can substitute ¼ inch or 3/8 inch plywood for the exotic luan.
  • A smooth, thin, evenly applied coat of glue is all that you need. Follow the drying times that are suggested by the manufacturer of the glue.
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