How to Build a Barn Door

Barn doors are extremely popular right now.  It’s easy to see why.  They are very functional, look great, and you can customize them to your needs.  The best part is you can make them yourself for a fraction of what a contractor would charge, or the price you would pay in the store.  We recently built one for our son’s bedroom closet.  It came out great and was surprisingly easy to build.  The closet opening was an odd size, so a barn door was a perfect idea.

Tools you will need

  1. Tape measure
  2. Clamps
  3. Saw horses
  4. Drill
  5. Circular saw
  6. Kreg Jig
  7. Chop saw (optional)
  8. Table saw (optional)

Materials you will need

  1. Tongue and grove boards
  2. 1×4 pine boards
  3. Wood Glue
  4. Kreg screws
  5. Barn Door Hardware
  6. Sandpaper
  7. Pre-Stain
  8. Wood stain or paint
  9. Polyurethane or Waterlox


First you will need to measure your door opening and plan out the size of the door you want.  I would make the door at least 2 inches wider than your opening if there is no trim, or 2 inches wider than the trim.  This will give you an extra inch on each side.  Next put the tongue and groove boards together and measure them to the width you need. The end boards will most likely need to be cut to the right size.  For example, our door needed to be 45” total, and the boards were 5 ½”, so we needed to use 9 boards which equaled to 49 ½”.  This gave us an extra 4 1/2”, so we split the difference and cut 2 ¼” off both end boards. This will give you a nice symmetrical door.  Use a table saw or circular saw to rip the boards to the size you need.

Putting the door together

There are a couple options for your next step.  You can either cut the boards first and then glue them together or do what we did and glue them first.  If you choose to cut them first a chop saw will work best.  Cut the boards to the height you need, then glue the tongue and grooves together, and then clamp them.  We chose to glue them first because we thought it would be easier to get a nice clean edge.  If you chose our method, then glue the boards and wait for them to dry for a day before you cut them.  Once they are dry cut them to the right height using a circular saw.

While the glue is drying you can work on the frame.  This will be made using the 1x4s.  Cut your top and bottom pieces to fit the width of the door using a chop saw if you have one. If you don’t have a chop saw a circular saw will work. Then place them on the door and measure the distance between them to get the exact size of the long pieces and cut those.  Place the cut pieces on the door to make sure everything is the right size and make any necessary adjustments.  The next step is to put pocket holes in the long boards using a Kreg Jig.  Put 2 pocket holes in the boards and then screw them to the top and bottom boards using Kreg screws.  This will give you the outside frame.  You can choose whatever design you want for the inside.  We went with this.

Cut your boards for the inside of the frame, and then put pocket holes in them to screw to the outside frame.

The next step is to glue the frame onto the tongue and groove boards once they are dry.  Flip the door over and nail or screw the boards to the 1×4 frame.  This will give it extra support.  Use screws or nails that are no larger than 1 1/4″.  I would recommend screws because they will hold the door together better.


Once your door is built it’s time to sand it.  You can finish it any way you like.  We chose to stain ours.  If you stain it I would suggest using a Pre-Stain first, because it conditions the wood to prevent blotching and streaking.


Next your ready to hang your door.  Follow the directions on the barn door hardware you bought for this step.  Barn door hardware can be pretty pricey. We found this budget friendly one on Amazon and it worked great.

You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to build a barn door, and how much money you can save if you decide to do it yourself.  Plus, you get the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment knowing you did it yourself.  I hope this helps some of you out there and gives you the motivation to try this project out.


Other DIY posts: How to Update Your Kitchen Cabinets Without Spending a Fortune


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