How to Build a Custom Cabinet Door

- Dec 02, 2019-

Custom cabinet doors will take you one step closer to your dream kitchen.In addition, building new doors is a way to reuse your cabinet boxes and achieve a whole new look.


First, you need to figure out the dimensions of your new cabinet doors using the old doors as templates. Choose the material for your new doors (we used 3/4 x 3-inch poplar project boards) and your stile and rail width (we went with 2-1/4 inches). Then, subtract the width of two stiles from the width of your old door. This will equal the length of your rails.

The length of your stiles will be the full length of the door. The inset panel will be measured once the interior rectangle formed by the stiles and rails has been routed out and can accurately be measured.


Step 1: Make Cabinet Door Frame

Use a hand saw with a miter box or chop saw to cut stiles and rails to desired size; lightly sand all cut edges. Using a Kreg pocket hole jig with the micro attachment in place, drill two pocket holes on the back side of each end of each rail. Clamp two rails inside two stiles to create a door frame, then glue, and screw together. Repeat at all corners on the frame.


Step 2: Shape Back of Door Frame

Route out a 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch area along the inner back edge of the door frame. The corners of the routed area will be rounded; use a chisel and a hammer to create a nice sharp inside square corner on the routed area. Now you can accurately measure the 1/4-inch Lauan to fit snuggly into the frame as the door inset. Use a circular saw and rip-cut guide and cut the Lauan plywood.


Step 3: Install Dowels to Back of Door

With the back side of the door facing up, apply a bead of glue to the far edge of the routed area and insert the Lauan plywood board. Cut dowel pieces to the length of the Lauan board, then glue and pin-nail the dowel on top of the board along the inside edge of the routed area. Measure between the ends of the nailed dowels and cut two more dowels to glue and nail between the attached ones.

Next, fill holes using micro wood plugs. Apply a little glue inside the hole and slide a micro plug inside. Once the glue is dry, sand off any plug protruding beyond the board. Use wood filler to fill any spaces around the plug, let dry, and sand smooth.


Step 4: Attach Hinge

Prime and paint the cabinet door. With the back of the door facing up, measure up about 3 inches from the top and bottom of the door and clamp your hinge jig in place. There are two small holes on this jig to use as guides for screwing on the hinges. Using a Forstner bit, drill the holes and attach hinges to doors.


Step 5: Attach Cabinet Hardware

With the front side of the door facing up, use a cabinet hardware jig to attach door handles or pulls in a consistent location. Measure the distance between the screws on the door pull and set the jig to that distance. Then measure to the center of the stiles and set the jig to that measurement. Clamp the jig in place and drill the holes. Attach the hardware to the door.