How to Make Kitchen Cabinet Doors - The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management

How to Make Kitchen Cabinet Doors

The following is a post from Lana (like banana).

This post will show a you a few skills needed to make beautiful cabinet doors for the kitchen or any cabinet.

Most people might not need NEW doors but just need an updated look.  Look at how we glazed kitchen cabinets before we decided to expand our kitchen.  It was easy, fast, and cheap but without a “cheap” look. 

For the rest of us – who NEED to start from scratch,  here are some instructions.

Please note:  We are not professionals.  We do what works for us.  Please keep that in mind…thanks.


  •  3/4 inch cabinet grade pine plywood (For the Door)
  • 1 x 2 inch select pine (Trim)
  • Wood Glue (We use Elmers.)
  • 1 inch Brad Nails (To hold in place while drying.)
  • Table Saw, Power Saw, and Miter Saw (You can rent these for a day or buy them and remodel your whole house.)

Measure Measure and Measure again.

Measure your opening for your cabinet door.  We allowed an 1/8 inch gap (on all sides) between the door and the opening. If you are having trouble understanding – go look at a hardware store and look at their cabinets.  Studying other’s work will give insight and understanding.

Shop Around

For a totally frugal project call around and get prices for wood.  Cabinet wood varies from place to place.  Even when you do find an inexpensive price look at each piece of wood.  Some could be warped or split in shipping.  We had to really seek  good material on our last shopping trip.

Cutting the Wood

There are two ways to cut wood.

  1. With the grain (Ripping)
  2. Against the grain (Cross-cut)

Handy Tools

  • The clamp.  It can act like as an extra hand.


  • A chalk box that makes a blue chalk line.  It makes perfect lines with a pop of string.  I love playing with these things!

  •  A circular saw.  This tool can be used for so many other projects.  If you are a DIYer it would be worth the expense to add one to your collection.
  •  An extra 1 x 2 board.  It also serves as a guide or “fence” when cutting a straight line.Now it is time to cut.  You might want to measure one more time.  I mean it.  It is NOT wasting time to be sure.

Using your measurements start cutting the wood.  Plan ahead to get the most out of your wood.  It is like scrapbooking.  Use the sheets of wood to get the most doors possible.  You can use a sheet of paper to practice on if needed.

Sometimes we used our table saw and sometimes we used our circular saw depending on the size of the sheet of wood.

Are you still wanting to know more?  Stay with us.

Now your door needs some trim. There are different thoughts on trim.

  • Buy it pre-made.
  • Be adventurous and make your own.  (We are in this group.)  This is for the more experienced wood cutters.  Once you master this you are a star!

Make a notch in your wood to fit around the door.  That is an easy sentence to write but not so easy to make.  If you are unsure of this process, please, please, please ask questions at your local hardware store.  Mistakes can cost a lot of money.

To make trim for one door:

  •  Use a table saw blade to cut a 1 x 2 x 8 –  1 inch deep and 3/8 inch wide – cut 2 boards with the board being vertical.
  • Then set the table saw blade to cut 3/8 inch deep and 1/2 inch wide – cut the same 2 boards while they are laying flat.

Attaching the trim:

  • We use wood glue to fasten the trim and finishing nails to attach the trim to your naked door.

Our finished door.

Then you just need to paint or stain to your liking.

Are you going to try this?  Let me know how it goes!

See more of our Household DIY Projects:

Disclaimer:  This post is designed to use common sense.  Fingers do NOT grow back – so don’t cut them off.  Power tools have lots of power.  This author and website are not responsible for anything that might happen during a DIY project.  If you feel you need more explanation please ask in the comments or ask your local hardware store professionals.  By the way, we are not  professional builders – we do what works for us and it saves us MUCHO money by not hiring someone else.

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  1. We could do this! By “we” I mean my hubby can so do this! Ha ha ha!

    Our home is 110 years old and the kitchen, oh goodness the kitchen…it could use an update but one that DOESN’T break the bank! Great instructions. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Honey Rowland (@Mondorfment) says:

    Thought I’d share a tip…..A really great way to figure out how and what you want before building your own kitchen is to head over to Lowe’s and talk with the kitchen design team. Figure out style, shape, layout, etc and see what options are out there. Pull out drawers, fancy knife storage, pull out cutting board with a hole in the middle that you smoosh over into the attached beneath the cutting board compost or worm or chicken bin bucket (oh yeah…it’s out there!). Not only will you figure out how many cabinets you need to make, how wide, etc but you’ll get some hints and tips from someone that’s been doing it a while. Or they’ve a magic program that says, “Warning you can’t open the dishwasher and the fridge at the same time or else you’ll chop off someone’s legs so move something else where.”

    We made our own cabinets a LONG time ago. We’ll be doing it in this house as it has standard builder’s grade cabinets. They’ll go out to the garage for some “nice storage.”


  3. I need a update on mi kitchen its dark wood hate it I am going to av a go of doing my own or just paint them don’t know yet

  4. What hinges did you use to attach the doors?

  5. granadacoder says:

    Using a “12 inch speed square” to line up the long strip of wood (which serves as the guide for the circular saw) is another way to ensure straight cuts. I actually use a 4ft (or longer) level as my straight guide.
    12″ speed square, like this one.

    knape & vogt . This company still makes sliders and some hinges in the USA (at last check) (Grand Rapids Michigan). has some of their stuff at good prices. But HHH does not carry all knape and vogt products, so you gotta look around.

    This is a great idea. The other “frugal” option is using Kreg pocket door screws, if you like shaker style.
    Thanks for your post.

  6. Nope. Still looks cheap.

  7. Do your drawer fronts match the doors? Just wondering if you altered the trim measurements.

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