I have been dreaming of replacing our baby/dog gate that leads into the kitchen for a little while now. I finally convinced my husband to do this DIY dutch door project with me. He was not thrilled about working on a door, it is not easy. We have an older 70s house with a very closed off layout, the opposite of the open concept that everyone loves. When we first bought the house I was of course saying how I really want to get rid of a lot of these walls and open it up…well life happened and that is a) not in my budget and b) too much mess for me with little kids so opening up walls is not happening right now and may never, we will see. I am embracing the layout of this house and decided a half DIY Dutch door leading into our kitchen would be an interesting way to replace the gate.
We were able to do this for under $100 since we had a lot of the supplies on hand from past projects. If you already have a door and most of the tools this should be really budget friendly.
There used to be an entire door here when we moved it…talk about a closed off layout. We removed it and it has since disappeared so we had to buy a new door for this project. Dutch doors can be really expensive, around $1k and up. Solid doors are also pricey and were out of our budget. I searched locally for a used/antique solid wood door but could not find one wide enough since we needed ours to be 36″ wide. We went with a hollow core slab interior door, not pre-hung from Home Depot.
Let me show you how we did it!
Step 1: Cut the door
Typically, the bottom half of a Dutch door sits at around 4′. We decided to cut our door at 40″ because of where the old door knob used to sit. This is what worked for us.
We cut the door with our circular saw. We used a straight edge as our fence and clamps to hold the straight edge in place. We only have two saw horses so we put a heavy box on the right to keep the door from falling as it was being cut.
- Door (We used this 36×80″ Hollow Core Slab Interior Door (not pre-hung) )
- Circular saw
- Saw horses
- Straight edge
- Heavy box
Step 2: Pull out insert
Pull out the cardboard insert to make room for a wood filler. You will need a wood filler to attach the shelf.
Step 3: Wood Insert
We got a 1x6x6′ pine board because we only have a circular saw. If you have a table saw you can use piece of scrap wood. Measure the gap and cut your board so that it fits into the door gap. We tapped the board into the gap with our finger. Then, we used a brad nailer to secure the board from the top. We then spackled over the holes created from the nails. We used a scraper and didn’t need to sand.
- Pine board for insert (1×6 6′ long or scrap wood or something that will fit)
- Circular saw
- Brad nailer
- Spackle (we used drywall spackle, wood filler would work too)
Step 4: Prep the door to be hung
We purchased three templates to create the mortises/holes for the door knob, latches, and hinges. We followed all of the template instructions as we are not experts at hanging doors.
- Power drill
- Door lock template
- Hinge router template
- Door latch router template
Step 5: Shelf
Since we are only doing half a Dutch door we attached a shelf to the top of the door to cover up the inside. I have seen a shelf even when doing a full Dutch door and it looks nice. If your door is solid wood you could skip this part. Our shelf is 36″ to match the width of the door. We kept the depth of the shelf at 6″.
For our design we rounded the front two edges using a compass to draw an arc and then cut it with our jigsaw.
We then sanded with our orbital sander to square it off and make it smooth.
We then used a 1/8″ rounding over router bit to finish the shelf leaving the part that is glued to the door square.
- Pine board (1×6 6′ long)
- Orbital sander
- 1/8″ rounding over bit
Step 6: Add Trim
The door was a blank slate so design wise we decided to add trim to give it some appeal. I saw this door while scrolling on Pinterest and I was so inspired. And oh man that glass detailing on the top is incredible, wow. I loved how simple and modern this felt.
We decided to go with quarter round trim for the exterior rectangle. After taking lots of measurements with a straightedge we did 45 degree cuts on the exterior trim corners with our miter saw. For the interior trim we chose a flat rectangular molding. We used wood glue to glue everything on with some clamps and confirmed everything was square with a speed square.
Then we added a piece of thin birch plywood in a square shape turned to look somewhat like a diamond. We cut this with the miter saw as well.
We then added more flat rectangular trim as a border on top of the square and eight more pieces on either side of the interior trim tucked under the square. You could add this before gluing down the square but we were designing as we went.
- 3/8″ Basswood Quarter Round Trim
- 1/4″ x 1/2″ Oak Rectangle Molding
- Birch plywood
- Speed Square
- Miter saw
- Wood glue
Step 7: Attach the shelf
We pre drilled countersink holes for a #8 screw. Then, we screwed in 6 screws #8 1 1/2″ with our power drill. We then filled the holes with wood filler, waited 2-6 hours and then sanded with 220 grit.
- Power drill
- Pilot hole tool for countersink holes
- Screws #8 1 1/2″ (6)
- Wood filler
- Sandpaper 220 grit
Step 8: Attach corbels
We found these really affordable corbels and attached them with wood glue. This is attached for looks, not for sturdiness. You could also do this before attaching the shelf if you prefer.
- Wood Glue
Step 9: Paint
We used Backwoods by Benjamin Moore in a semi gloss finish as this is the paint we had on hand. I probably would have gone with a satin finish if I could do this again. The other side of the door was painted white to match our kitchen walls. We then did three coats with a semi-gloss poly to protect the door from children.
Step 10: Attach the door and doorknobs
We did dry fit the door earlier in the process to make sure it didn’t rub.
Having a DIY Dutch door to your kitchen isn’t for everyone! It worked for our unique situation and home layout. I do think this could also be really cute leading into a playroom!
Please let me know if you made your own DIY Dutch door and how it went! If you have any questions please comment below.
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