This project is a continuation of the Turning an Attic into a Closet/Playroom build. We realized that the odd size of the closet opening created great opportunity to make some cool and unique closet doors.
During the closet build, we went to the home store to find some stock closet doors and quickly realized that most closets must be 80 inches tall. I thought about just cutting down some of the doors that were available, but most are hollow-core construction or PVC and wouldn’t scale cleanly. So we get to make our own!
Immediately after we realized that stock doors weren’t going to work, we went over a few aisles and found a Bifold Door Hardware Kit. I was surprised that this kit was quite inexpensive and started to realize that this project, besides being custom and fun, may also be cheaper than traditional closet doors.
The kit’s instructions spell out exactly how to build your doors to fit the opening with the addition of the hardware. The non-mortise hinges were very easy to install and using some self-centering drill bits helped get the fit right the first time.
Before we started on the door construction, I measured the opening at the top and the bottom because door jams are often not square. The door hardware kit gave measurements to subtract from this opening to account for the tracks, pivot brackets, and hinge spacing. With these final dimensions, I divided the space into four equal door panel widths.
Josh had a pretty awesome idea that the doors could have removable panels so people could change the look of their closet as the mood strikes. All in all, closet doors are pretty standard and boring, so what if you could make them fun and interesting? The actual doors would be made of a simple rectangular frame made of stacked 1x4s with a rabbet cut into the back to accept a 1/4″ sheet of customizable material.
We tossed around designs like super hero silhouettes, the kids’ names in funky fonts, a landscaped image that would span the four panels, marker board, chalkboard, colorful fabric, or vinyl decals. All of these options would have been amazing and this project allows for these changes by swapping out the panels really easily.
The door hinges were expecting a door between 1-1 3/8 inch thick, so we had to add thickness to the door frames. I built up the frame out of two layers of 1/4s cut to 2 1/2″ wide. This was simple enough, but to add strength to the glue joints, I cut the front and back frames with the rails longer on one and the styles longer on the other to create a half-lap joint when sandwiched together. After painting them white, I routed out a 1/4″ rabbet into the back of each frame to hold the decorative panel.
This was the fun part of the build…well…fun and wide open. We went down so many creative rabbit holes trying to decide what to put in the panels. All of the options we discussed would be awesome and unique and we couldn’t decide on any of them. Josh designed a really cool and modern geometric pattern that could visually connect all four panels. We had some left over marker board that was glossy white on the surface and a dark brown underneath. Josh used the CNC to cut the pattern into the white surface of the board revealing the brown material so the repeating pattern really came through without having to paint anything.
We set the panels inside the rabbet on the frames and secured them in place using glazier points just like you would use to hold glass in place in picture frames. The doors were light enough for kids to open easily, and durable enough for everyday use. The hardware kit made installation really easy and they fit the space perfectly.
Perfect Addition to the Closet!
I finished the closet and the door projects while my family was on vacation, so none of them have seen it in person. One perfect side effect of these customizable doors is that if my wife doesn’t like the pattern I won’t be emotionally crushed, I’ll just swap them out for something else! (Josh may cry though)
In conclusion, I really like the simple and modern look of the clean doors. It complements the rest of the work we’ve done in the room like the minimalistic Bunk Beds and the modern Cherry Dresser. We aren’t quite done with this room yet, so stay tuned to see what else gets added!
(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)
- SawStop cabinet saw
- Dewalt 20v drill driver combo
- Dewalt Miter Saw
- Orbital Sander
- Pancake compressor/nail gun combo
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector
- 1 Micron bag
- Speed square