DIY Bookshelf Door

Now that we’ve finished taking down the wall, the kitchen, downstairs floors and the baseboards, the downstairs doors really needed some attention.  I eventually plan on painting them white and adding Masonet MDF .   I have dreams of 5 paneled doors , I’d like to add masonite MDF myself instead of buying new doors.
However, for this particular closet door (pictured below).  We had other plans.  We decided to make it into a bookshelf door.  I’ve seen these around on pinterest, and was excited when we finally decided to replace this closet door with a bookshelf door.  This particular closet is really long and narrow, which is a good fit for a book shelf door, since the shelving takes away space in your actual closet.  Since this bookshelf is long and narrow it didn’t hurt to give up a little bit of that awkward length for a pretty bookshelf door.
-Solid core Door
-Door Knob
Tools: *Affiliate links included*
We thought about building the whole thing from scratch using plans from Ana-white/Killer B Designs.  But instead decided to go the easier route and just use a solid core door and build shelves off it.  We used this tutorial as a general guide.

Step 1:  Cutting the door out…

We used a circular saw and jig saw to cut the door out.

Next, we planned out the depth and height of the shelves.  We picked some hefty books to get an idea of how big we wanted the shelving to be.  We chose to make the top and bottom shelves slightly larger in order to have the option of keeping larger books (toys) on those particular shelves.

At one point we had talked about adding a little piece of trim on each shelf to keep stuff from potentially sliding off.  So when measuring we took the potential stopper into account.

We waited until after everything was installed to see if the stopper trim piece was necessary; in the end the bookshelf was so heavy it opens pretty slow and is pretty hard to knock stuff off.

We decided to make a depth of approximately 8″(this includes 3/4 plywood backing) and heights of 14″ and 11.4″ for the shelves Whatever you decide for your depth and heights of shelves be aware of how much space you have to work with in the closet and the closet frame, don’t forget about how thick the wood is.

Any The Fault In Our Stars fans?  I read that Infinite Jest is what John Green based An Imperial Affliction on..  So I went and borrowed it from the library…and never read it…

Anywho,  here are are plans we crafted up after measuring books and stoppers, and what not.

At this point I had nothing to do with this project.  JG built the shelves by himself,  I had absolutely nothing to do with the building.  I was seriously impressed with how he did this by himself.  He’s much better at using clamps than I am.

JG used glue and pocket holes to attach everything.

We used a Wood Door Lock Installation Kit to drill the door knob..

We used five 3-1/2″ (with 5/8″ thickness) hinges to mount this door.  We used our router to notch out the 5/8″ thickness on the door and door frame.

Quality Inspection via BH..

We attached the back with 2 pieces of 1/4″ plywood via nail gun (I didn’t take pictures of this).

Although the door has been fully functional for quite awhile I’ve been stuck in the painting phase for MONTHS and MONTHS…  I hate painting, especially white.  It’s been a slow process of painting many thin layers, sanding, painting, sanding, caulking, etc.  I used Behr pure white semi-gloss paint (to match the baseboards).

But it was all worth it.  This may be one of my new favorite projects.  It is such a functional pretty piece for out home.

We are talking about adding a roller on the bottom of the door to help with the added weight, mainly as a precautionary measure (we did read that it will leave a wear mark on our floor).  The door has been installed for around 9 months now and has been holding up great.

JG made that cutting board!

COMING SOON:  I’m working on a post to feature these little guys.  They’re wooden stacker elephants.  I made the pattern myself.  Just like the cat stackers  I made a little while back except elephants!

Linked to:
Outside The Box @ Pneumatic AddictCarissa MissBD DesignSplendid Design


    • huthbert says

      Working on it! planning on making a quick video to show the inside of the door and how it opens/closes.

  1. Anonymous says

    I am wondering how you access the shelves, to change the decor. I read the instructions but can’t figure it out. It looks like it is sealed. Does the back come off, using hinges? Love the look, and wish I had the talent and tools to do this!

  2. says

    I love this idea for one of the closets I have downstair but instead of wood shelves I would use thick plexiglass or just glass and add a light on top to highlight my trasures

  3. Peggy says

    Thinking of doing this to my pantry door and placing decorative jars full of healthy snacks for easy kid access. Will either put shallow baskets on back of door for storage, or perhaps cover with chalkboard paint or shower stall panel to use as wipe-off board. Great place to keep a shopping list.

  4. Christiane says

    I wonder if there’s a mistake in the sizes of the hinges. You are saying 3 1/2 inches with 5/8 inch thickness. This thickness seem a lot too much !

  5. Marsha says

    Ditto, to Barbara’s comment.
    What a fresh new idea.
    Love that you’re little guy can have access to his toys right there by the kitchen.
    Thank you.


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