Asked on May 22, 2016

What else can be used instead of glass in kitchen cabinet doors?

Lisa Korba
by Lisa Korba
I live in a 1994 mobile home with a ton of original cabinets, all oak, more than half the doors have the glass etched gold like inlaid crazy old design. We bought this place from our friend 5 years ago and 4 of the glass pieces were missing already and she uses some thicker frosted type of non sticky contact paper with thumbtacks. Which is a mess the thumbtacks fall out all the time (not good with 2 dogs, 3 cats, a diabetic husband, 2 teen aged boys, my pregnant daughter and my almost 1 year old grandson). We live off my hubby's SS disability, I'm a hot mess with my health issues, but I've almost got him talked into repainting the kitchen, cabinets, one day getting some kind of new counter top. But the issue is what to replace the glass with that's super cheap? I've seen the chicken wire (I LOVE) he hates, glass is a no-no, too much money and I'm tired of crap breaking. Those pie tin thing's wont work the way my cabinets are shaped and the 2 different sizes my cabinets are. I've talked to him about fabric, lace, I cant leave them open, 1 cat jumps in there to hide from the other 2. I need some super super cheap DIY ideas please please please. Oh, and my cabinet shape at the top is the kind of inlaid a bit cathedral but its not all rounded at the top, its rounded then it goes out straight on each side. I've never even seen this type before. I have like 36 kitchen doors and 6 are of the picture I am gonna post and 3 are a bit taller and a little bit wider. Size wise I mean, and those are the only ones that have glass or had glass in them, the rest are oak.
The glass is thin and barely held in there by like hot glue gun dots it looks like. And my hubby had kind of slammed one of the cabinet doors once and it shattered into all these tiny tiny shards, we were finding glass for weeks.
  30 answers
  • Melissa Hafner Sears Melissa Hafner Sears on May 22, 2016
    My father-in-law used ceiling tiles that look frosted. They were plastic and fit right in. He just cut to size and caulked them. They had put in new cupboards and he cut the middles and used the router to make this work. It looks really nice.
  • Stacey Stacey on May 22, 2016
    Following... I have similar cabinets and need ideas too. Sorry I don't have any great ideas to share. lol
  • Sherry Sherry on May 22, 2016
    Metal ceiling tiles, chicken wire, curtains, or wood are just a few thoughts. but I love your cabinets as they are.
    • Lisa Korba Lisa Korba on May 22, 2016
      @Sherry , Thank you, I wouldn't mind them so much if there weren't so many glass pieces gone out of them. It drives me crazy they arent all the same.
  • Zelda Jacobs Zelda Jacobs on May 22, 2016
    Chicken wire is nice. Fabric stretched over the hole works too. Stamped metal panels. Lattice work in wood or poly would work. Could be painted an accent color. The chicken wire could also be painted before inserting. Wood with the carved accent motifs in the center of the wood also would be very nice. Good luck. Sonny & Zelda
    • Lisa Korba Lisa Korba on May 22, 2016
      @Zelda Jacobs Thank you! I really LOVE the chicken wire idea myself, my husband put his foot down, he will not do it. and I think that would be the most inexpensive idea out of all of them too. I also like the fabric idea, but what do you think it would look like and how would it fit with the top of the cathedral type? Do you think it would lay funny or be hard to get it to fit nice and smooth? I am a once in a great while DIYer.
  • William William on May 22, 2016
    Those cabinets are really outdated! They tried to give them a classy look with art deco glass panels. I would paint them a more modern color ; light grey, taupe, blue grey, etc., (but not white) and replace the hardware. Check out these sites for inspiration.
  • Gypsy Witch Hunter Gypsy Witch Hunter on May 22, 2016
    I had a similar problem and found a solution I enjoy - just staple chicken wire on the inside frame for a farmhouse look!
    • Lisa Korba Lisa Korba on May 22, 2016
      @Thank You Gypsy Witch Hunter I too love that idea, but hubby put his foot down and said no. He isnt really as big on the farmhouse look as i am.
  • Linda Linda on May 22, 2016
    If the gold relief on the glass is smooth and not raised I would just get some paint that is made for plastics and glass and spray paint it. Also can the glass be removed easily from behind? If so, go to some place like Home Depot and check out what types of thin paneling they have. (I'm talking less than 1/16th of an inch) I am not sure what they are called, but I have seen white panels that are finished on one side. Cut them to size and replace the glass. Then paint it any color you like.
  • Bobbie Littlefield Bobbie Littlefield on May 22, 2016
    First things first. WHAT decor designs does hubby actually like? Find those-agree to agree, then tackle. I hear limited income. Several good ideas here but- look for thrift store finds you can reuse. One idea not presented here: hot glue on the inside of the frame to attach whatever (placemats, thin reed roll up blind that has been stained and sealed, etc). You could also replace the glass with tempered glass (think beautifully designed shower doors) from a glass shop-pricy but looks great. I used regular glass and covered them with a window static cling film I got at Lowes that looks like stained glass. I also used it on the horrible acrylic sheeting for my overhead kitchen light) or you could use thin acrylic sheets (for inspiration google peel and stick decals- and window film world). Good luck!
  • Lori Jackson Lori Jackson on May 22, 2016
    Paint the cabinets. Change the hardware. See how that changes things up.
    • See 2 previous
    • Lisa Korba Lisa Korba on Jun 11, 2016
      We could that is what my husband wants to do, but I don't want to spend that much on glass that won't turn into tiny shards thats impossible to clean up. I have 2 teenaged boys that don't quite get their own strength yet. Plus I prefer them to be more covered up than that. He agreed to look into hardware cloth with me, He wants to use it for making a charcoal box for his smoker, and I want to use a smaller form of that to make my own baskets to hang on the wall for his glucometer and supplies and one for mail and bills. I think it will all match well and look great!
  • You could add beadboard from the back. Or, if you like the glass look you could use a thin plexiglass. Plexiglass comes in tons of colors and thicknesses and is pretty easy to work with. It also doesn't shatter like glass. Good luck!👌
    • See 2 previous
    • Lisa Korba Lisa Korba on May 25, 2016
      I LOVE this idea, but with a little switch, on the pinterest page someone above mentioned, they showed someone fitting over the whole front of the cupboard door. I like that idea, just not too sure what to do with the inside yet. Thanks y'all!
  • Melody Warren Melody Warren on May 23, 2016
    We used corrugated tin and loved it!
  • Zelda Jacobs Zelda Jacobs on May 23, 2016
    Lisa: Type in "pinterest cupboards with chicken wire inserts" and you can see how they look. I think they look like a cottage style cupboard. I'm going to redo my kitchen cupboards in white and I think I might do the chicken wire.
  • Mary Lou Mary Lou on May 23, 2016
    I wouldn't add it to every cabinet door, but I replaced the ugly etched glass in one of my cabinets with mirrored glass. It hides what's inside, looks like a window, and reflects light back into my small kitchen. I just took the etched glass to the hardware store and had them cut me a piece of mirror the same size. Didn't cost much at all.
  • Susan Quinn Susan Quinn on May 23, 2016
    Measure the openings and go to flea market and buy tin signs, or go to Home Depot and get tin grating.
  • Amy Cleveland Amy Cleveland on May 23, 2016
    You could try faux stained glass ... Wax paper, crayons, maybe cardboard around the edges for stability
  • Maureen Blair Maureen Blair on May 24, 2016
    What about kor flute? It's cheap, easy to cut and looks good back lit. See photo. I was going to put it in some wardrobe doors.
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on May 24, 2016
    Hi Lisa! I had two thoughts about your dilemma. First, keep the intact glass inserts and group them together (matching doors, etc). For the rest, you could just get some thin plywood pieces cut to the right shape (they will do this for you at the big box stores) and then glue and tack into place, cover with beadboard wallpaper, then paint. They will look like expensive beadboard inlay cabinets. For a more decorative element, you could use radiator cover mesh-it is pretty cheap, cuts with tin snips and is actually quite attractive. It comes in different finishes, or you could paint it to match the cabinets.
  • Melissa Gellner Blake Melissa Gellner Blake on May 24, 2016
    How about faux embellished ceiling tiles. Look like metal.
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on May 24, 2016
    @Lisa Korba hardware cloth has a totally different look than chicken wire ,it is cheap can be cut to fit each door and simply screwed in from the backside hope this helps good luck xx
    • See 3 previous
    • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Apr 09, 2017

      sorry a little late with my your welcome lisa, hope it turns out xx

  • Samara S Samara S on May 24, 2016
    i would try foam core board cut to fit the glass shape (remove glass and replace with the foam core) and cover it with either wallpaper or fabric that suited the kitchen. if i used fabric, i would use polyurethane to seal it to be washable.
  • Lisa Korba Lisa Korba on May 25, 2016
    I havent fully decided yet, but I have a ton of ideas to show to my husband, so we can make the final decision! Thank you for all the ideas!
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on May 25, 2016
    @Lisa Korba you are welcome and staples would work too plus they have small shafted screws xx
  • Robin m Robin m on May 25, 2016
    Chicken wire is high appropriate these days. Since the industrial things and vintage is in!!!
  • Connie N Heitz Connie N Heitz on May 26, 2016
    Imitation bead board that you can get in 8'X4' sheets. Then just cut to size. It creates a beautiful look. I had old birch cabinets, flat and boring. So I took bead board and cut it to where it was an inch shorter than the top and bottom and the same on the sides. Glued them into place then took small thin trim and picture framed around them and painted them white. Most people thought they were custom made. A cheap fix that didn't cost a lot but looked expensive. And way way less then replacing cabinets or having someone reface them. I spent less than $100.00 on them.
  • CK CK on May 31, 2016
    There are plastic panels you can buy at big box stores (i.e. Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.) that are designed to cover florescent light fixtures in the ceiling. They're not too expensive and can be cut to your specific size. Also, another option would be to get metal 'grid' panels and install. They're also used often as ceiling light panels. They're a bit more 'upscale' and less country-looking than chicken wire...if hubby's not on board with that. Another wire option, sorta like chicken wire, is hardware cloth. Not truly 'cloth' but rather galvanized wire mesh about the same weight as chicken wire, but in a grid pattern. You could even use regular window screen material cut to your necessary size. Easy to work with, comes in a roll so you'd have lots of it. Of course fabric is a pretty option but with cats, they may just decide to claw it up to still get inside for 'escape' ;-)
    • See 1 previous
    • Donnajgreen Donnajgreen on May 02, 2017

      where do you get the metal grids ?

  • Tammy Hjermstad Vukonich Tammy Hjermstad Vukonich on Sep 24, 2016
    You can use punched tin or copper. Find some design ideas on google images. After you have punched your design into it, attach with staples or glazing corners, to the inside of the cupboard door....If you make it an oversized rectangle, then the "cathedral" shape shouldn't be a problem. You can leave it natural, or antique/distress it, or paint it the same color as you are repainting the cupboards. Looks great any of these ways.
  • Donna Donna on May 05, 2017

    Take the cabinet doors off selected cabinets. Plate cabinet, glass cabinet? Paint in trendy color. The cabinet over the stove could be left open and display iron skillets or cookbooks? Use your own life style to personalize your kitchen.

  • Kelly Kelly on May 05, 2017

    several could,get inexpensive chalk boards, i.e., dollar store or thrift stores, and use that plus you can write what is on the inside...snacks, cereal, etc. another idea is old canvas feed bags from a feed store or farm store. Just cut and staple behind the door. And, your husband doesn't like the chicken wire, but think about painting the chicken wire then installing it. This would be more farm house than industrial then.

  • Beatrice Tangeman Beatrice Tangeman on Aug 21, 2019

    I’m going to try window film in a stained glass or punched tin. It’s on my project to do list.

  • Kim Cherrix Kim Cherrix on Apr 05, 2021

    I painted my cabinets white. Painted bead board the same color as the accent color in my kitchen (teal) and replaced the etched glass with the painted bead board.