Removable Door Paneling

9 Materials
2 Hours

I don’t know about you but I love turning things that look on the boring side to high-end. For this project, I was able to do just that with a bedroom door, a little effort and a small budget. What’s even better with this project is that it didn’t involve nails or screws!

BEFORE: This is the guest room closet door in my pastor and his wife's house. It's plain and simple with not a lot of character.

SUPPLIES: -4 pieces of 3/8 in. x 1-1/4 in. x 8 ft. Basswood Panel Moulding -Behr Marquee Color Sample size of Ultra Pure White interior/exterior semi-gloss paint -1” Wooster Pro angled paint brush -measuring tape (Stanley Powerlock 16’) -fine grit sand paper -350” roll of Scotch Indoor Mounting Tape -180 grit (x-fine) 3M Pro Grade Dual Angle Sanding Sponge (optional) -DAP Plastic Wood-X All Purpose Wood Filler Not pictured: -DeWalt miter saw *NOTE: I ended up returning the Minwax Wood Filler as it's a two-part filler and I didn't need something so complex. I replaced it with something much less expensive and easy to use: DAP Plastic Wood-X All Purpose Wood Filler. This stuff dries quick and reminds me a lot of spackling.

STEP 1: Cut Moulding For this step, if you don’t have power tools, you can ask someone at the hardware department store (Lowe’s and Home Depot will do this as far as I know…not sure about any other place) to cut your moulding for you. Another option would be to purchase a miter box with a saw (here’s a link to one at Home Depot: Whether you're using a miter saw or miter box and saw, you'll want to cut the ends of your moulding at a 45* angle.

Something else to keep in mind is which way you're making your cuts. Make sure that you're paying attention to the design of the moulding and making your cuts so that they all are the same. For example, I made the mistake THREE TIMES of having the concave/divot side of the moulding being positioned on the outside edge of my final panel box rather than on the inner edge of the box. Basically, once I put my "boxes" together after all of my moulding was cut, three of my four sides didn't look continuous. Make sense?

Once I made my first 45* angle cut on the very end of my moulding, I flipped it over and measured from the pointy edge to where I needed the other end to be, then made my mark and cut.

Here are my cuts all laid out (again, a few of these had to be re-cut because of the design but you may not even be able to tell from the photo). For a 24"x80" door, I ended up with: (2) 34" pieces (2) 20" pieces (6) 16" pieces (2) 6" pieces

STEP 2: Paint moulding After all of my pieces were cut, I painted them white (if you want to get funky and do a different color, I'd love to see what you come up with!). I just did one coat on the front, back and edges.

STEP 3: Sand moulding Next, I lightly sanded the edges where I cut in order to get rid of splinters and make the edges smooth.

STEP 4: Measure center and adhere moulding Finally, it was time to do the fun part! I found the center of the door and measured down 4" (all measurements will vary based on the size door you're working with). If you want to go a step further, you can use painter's tape to get all of your moulding aligned but I just eyeballed everything.

After I made a tiny mark at 4", I used small strips of my double-sided tape and adhered them to the back of each strip of moulding. The tape I used gives a warning that it is permanent and may damage the surface if removed, but I was able to reposition the moulding even after I stuck them to the door. I would advise, however, not to completely press them down until you're happy with their positioning--this way you're less likely to mess up your door while you're working out alignment. Once you have your tape on the back of your moulding, adhere it to the door.

After I had my first "box" on the door, I measured down 4" and created my next box. I repeated this a third time, creating three panel boxes in total.

STEP 5: Fill cracks, sand and paint After my boxes were assembled on the door, I used my finger to wipe on wood filler in the joints of the moulding. I'm sure there's a tool for this but I found that I could get into the crevices and smooth out the wood filler easier by using my finger. Try not to get too messy with this step--maybe even keep a rag on you so you can quickly wipe off any excess wood filler as you work--this stuff dries quick! Once you've filled in the joints, take an angled sand sponge (or just a regular piece of extra fine sandpaper) and lightly sand away any dried excess wood filler.

Lastly, apply a second coat of paint over all of your moulding, paying attention to the joints. You want your panel boxes to look as if they are one completed piece.

I was so amazed at how easy this project was and the fact that it cost me roughly $60 to create this look versus going out and spending about $160 on a door that would look very similar in design. I figure for a bedroom door to go from plain to pizazz, that’s not half bad!

Here is a split screen shot so it's easier to see the before and after. I realize the alignment isn't PERFECT but for a quick facelift, I'm happy with it. :)

Resources for this project:
DAP Plastic Wood-X All Purpose Wood Filler
Behr Marquee Color Sample size of Ultra Pure White interior/exterior semi-gloss paint
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 10 questions
  • M.t9020186 M.t9020186 on Dec 29, 2016
    Did you pay $60 per door?
  • Sara Sara on Feb 03, 2017
    Would you this only to an outward facing door? Not the side that faces inside a room. Or could you do both sides?
  • Nana Nana on Aug 30, 2017

    I never had a clue that the tape would hold this. Does it leave a small gap between the trim and the door?

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2 of 222 comments
  • Kara Kara on Mar 24, 2018

    That's so easy and so cute!

  • Dsouther Dsouther on Feb 08, 2019

    Hello. I love this! I have always loved doors with the panel look. However,my husband is not going to let me replace perfectly good doors. This is the solution I have been looking for. I would make the strips permanent since I own my home.