Our den has been a work-in-progress since we moved in to the 1820 seven years ago. I've written a few times about the trials and tribulations and this most recent gut and rebuild project has been no different. The door opening to the den was on the small side, and even someone short like me felt like they needed to duck when walking through. It had a pocket door that squeaked and pretty much argued whenever we wanted to open and close it. A sure sign of poor installation, and when we gutted the den, that door got the toss as well. We rebuilt the door casing to our modern-day-looks-good-to-me, leaving us with a size where a custom door needed to be fit.
A DIY Barn Door That's Easier Than You Think
Way back in 1820, I'm hard pressed to think that homes and buildings were built to "standard" anything. It was more like, place a stud wherever it looked best, and this looks like a good spot for a window. Still, with the unevenness and quirky placements, it's the all-cut-and-built-by-hand that we old house lovers embrace.
The idea of a barn door was swirling around in my head and I set out to find one. Over the summer I shopped numerous flea markets and tag sales. I drove around the countryside hoping I would find one up for grabs somewhere, coming up empty-handed every time. I went to the home improvement center and found a really nice one, but the price alone ruffled my feathers. The cost of over $500 was enough for me to set out and build one myself. Turns out, building a DIY barn door is budget friendly and much easier than you would think! Here is how to build a DIY barn door for less than $70!
We decided that 3 1/2 feet wide by 7 feet tall was the size we wanted for our barn door, and started with reclaimed wood. I had saved as many boards as I could when we took down the ceiling on the back porch. Tongue and groove beadboard was much too valuable to throw out, and with a good sanding of 80 grit and finishing with a 220, proved to be exactly what the wooden surfaces needed.
With the boards cut to size, I turned to 1"x 6" pine boards for the perimeter of the door, and 1" x 4" for the diagonal board. Cutting the angles for the corners of the diagonal board was going to be tricky, so rather than breaking out my protractor and compass, I simply placed the diagonal board where I wanted it to go, and used a ruler to follow and draw the lines of where I needed to cut. Easy peasy.
I glued the bead boards together, then glued on the pine boards and immediately followed up with screws. I placed clamps on all four corners of the door, and then let the glue set and dry overnight.
I wanted the door to have a warm wooden color, and I combined two stains together; Early American and Driftwood, using equal parts of each. I tested on a scrap piece of wood first and once I had the color tone I was after, I applied the stain to the door with a square piece of old T-shirt. Once the stain was completely dry, I applied four coats of satin finish polyurethane, letting each coat dry completely before applying the next.
The hardware can really throw a project like this out of whack, but not here. At the home improvement store, these kits run around $150, but I found this barn door hardware kit. It has the classic look and is a great, heavy weight. The kit came with impeccable instructions, making installation a breeze.
Using reclaimed wood certainly kept my costs down, so the money I shelled out was for the pine boards and the hardware kit. Still, even if you have to buy the pine boards to build the entire door, because you'll save so much on the hardware kit, makes this project very budget friendly. And, because building a DIY barn door is easier than you think, you may just want to build more than one!
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