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DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Week 4 of the One Room Challenge is here and I took a little bit of a detour this week. I was hoping to start on the DIY bed, but I was cutting it close on time and I tackled the sliding closet door makeover instead. This was a very affordable solution for these ugly closet doors and relatively easy as far as DIY projects go. Not to mention I love how the new doors turned out! Despite the fact there is no functioning bed in this guest room which is kind of a pre-requisite, I am calling this week a win! If you missed week one, week two, or week three, check those out first. A lot has happened in here so far, minus the whole bed thing, haha! But let me walk you through what did go down this week. Or should I say up? You will definitely want to try this DIY makeover for sliding closet doors on a budget.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

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To refresh your memory, this is what I was starting with. These are hollow core doors with a faux wood grain. Classic outdated 1970 slab doors. Once upon a time they were actually brown, but I painted them black years ago when I replaced all the door handles in the house

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

A few years back when I did the upstairs hallway makeover, we replaced the outdated doors to the bedrooms and the linen closet. But I decided to wait to get new closet doors in case I wanted to go another direction like French closet doors or bifold doors. Back when I did the bunk room I spruced up the doors to Barry’s closet rather than incurring extra cost on an entirely new door setup and it worked out really well. So naturally I went a similar direction only this time I decided to do shiplap doors!  

Closet Doors

Before we dive into this weeks makeover, let’s talk closet doors shall we? 

There are a lot of different types of closet doors. Lucky for me (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it, haha) all the bedroom closets in my house have the same type of plain closet doors. They are all sliding and hollow core except for the master bedroom which now has a barn door I did when the bathroom and my closet were renovated. The only place I have bi-fold doors is on the laundry room closet and I do not have any mirrored closet doors or French doors. But the best part about this closet door update is it could be applied to any of these common types of doors for a stylish update. 

DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Now let me walk you through the full tutorial on how I gave these dated closet doors a modern look for less than $100 with this easy DIY! 

Sliding Closet Door Makeover Supplies

Shiplap Paneling 
Circular Saw
Flush Cut Saw (optional)
Clamps
Brad Nailer
Primer
Paint 
Wood Filler
Door Track
Reciprocating Saw

Step 1 

The first thing you will need to do is measure your closet doors. If you have sliding closet doors like me you will need to measure each single door. My doors measure 79.5 x 29.5. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Step 2 

Pick up some shiplap paneling from your local Home Depot. This is the same shiplap paneling I used on my accent wall in week 2. The shiplap paneling is 48×96 so I used one panel per slab door. I was lucky enough to enlist the help of my amazing neighbors with a truck to transport these home, but last time I did this we strapped it to the roof of the car! I swear, if there was a medal for sketchy car rides from Home Depot, I would totally take the gold!  

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Step 3 

​Trim down the shiplap paneling. I found the panels to be difficult to line up well in full sheets. So I measured the length and width of my doors and trimmed the shiplap down to be closer to the size of the actual door. This is definitely an optional step but I think it was much easier to maneuver this way. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

I clamped the shiplap down to the door and cut the paneling with my mini circular saw. You can watch this entire process in my Instagram story highlights. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

You could also just cut the shiplap down to size here which is the simple way but I was worried the doors might not be perfectly square and then I could end up with a small gap in spots. 

Step 4 

Nail the shiplap paneling to the door. First, line up the factory cut corner of the paneling with one corner of the closet door and make sure the shiplap lines up with the door all the way down the side and along the top of the door. If you did not cut the shiplap down to size in step three, you will have a fair amount of overhang on one side of the door and the bottom. Once it is lined up, clamp the shiplap panel to the door so it doesn’t shift. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Then use a nail gun with 1 inch brad nails to attach the paneling to the closet door. If your door is hollow core like mine (most of them are) you can only nail along the edges 1 1/2 inches in. This is where the door is held together by wood. If you are curious what the inside of a hollow core door looks like, check out this project where I took one apart to make a table top. 

I nailed the shiplap in the center of each of the vertical strips on the top and bottom and along the sides of the door panel.

​If your door is very heavy you probably have a solid core door and can then nail anywhere. Regardless of the type of door you have, don’t go too crazy with the nails because you will need to fill them all later. 

Step 5 

Cut the shiplap paneling flush with the closet door. This part is a little tricky but I will explain a few options in case you do not have the same power tools. 

I cut my shiplap paneling flush with the closet door by flipping the door over so the back of the door was facing up. I then used my Dremel saw max with a flush cut blade to cut the paneling off flush with the door. I just ran the saw along the edge of the door, using it as a guide and cut. This is the easiest option in my opinion. You can watch this entire process in my Instagram story highlights. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

The other option is to cut it with a circular saw with the paneling facing up and using a 2×4 as a guide. But this method is definitely trickier to set up and involves a lot of measuring. Because of the housing and fence, most circular saws do not do flush cuts.  

The final option is to cut the paneling with a table saw or circular saw before attaching it to the door as I mentioned in step three. Just be aware that if your doors are not perfectly square, the panel may not line up exactly with the door edges. 

Step 6

Fill in all the nail holes from the brad nailer in step four. I used my favorite nail filler and a putty knife. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Pro tip: Fill all the nail holes and then come back 10-15 minutes later with a wet rag and wipe off the excess. No sanding required!  

Step 7 

Prime the shiplap paneling. The surface of the shiplap paneling has a unique texture and I felt like it would be wise to prime it before painting. Primer is less expensive than paint and helps the paint adhere to the surface better. You could potentially skip the primer but you will likely need more coats of paint. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

I primed these on my folding tables in the garage. AKA, the true MVPs of my shop, haha! 

Step 8 

Paint the shiplap paneling. The paint color is up to you but I chose to paint my doors to match the accent wall and used Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. I painted my doors in the garage on my folding tables so I didn’t have to worry about getting any paint on the door opening. Just don’t forget to paint all the edges of the doors too. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Like I did with the shiplap accent wall I applied three coats of paint to the panels. I rolled the first coat. Then I came back and painted the crevices with a brush and came back and rolled my last coat to smooth out any brush strokes. You can also use a paint sprayer for this part but mine is currently on the fritz. 

Step 9 

Install the new track and rollers. Like with the bunk room closet doors, I felt like a new track was a good idea. The old one was a little beat up and I think the new rollers also provide a little extra room to allow the doors to slide a little better with the extra width. 

Before removing the old track I used a pencil to trace the outline of the old track so I didn’t have to measure for the new one. Then I removed the old track with with a pry bar since it was was held in place with nails.  

Barry cut the new door track down to size with the reciprocating saw and a metal blade. If you don’t have one you can also use a hack saw and miter box. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

​I screwed in the new track with my driver and the screws provided. 

For the new rollers I tried to re-use the existing holes from the old rollers. However the rollers are a different size and the screws are not in the same place. I was able to use the inside hole for the first screw but had to drill a new hole for the outside screw. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Note: The rollers have numbers on them and have to be installed a certain way to allow enough space for doors this thick. Make sure you read the instructions carefully so you don’t miss this part. Otherwise your doors will not fit. Each roller has small numbers on them (1 & 2) and both of the ones need to go on the same door and both of the twos need to go on the same door. The depth of your door will dictate which set goes in the front and which one goes in the back. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Step 10 

Hang the closet doors. This works best with two people. I got on a stool in the closet to guide the rollers onto the track and Barry lifted the doors into place. 

Sit back and relax and enjoy your new closet doors! 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

I am still debating hardware for these doors but that’s a problem for future me 🙂

This was a great way to upgrade old and dated closet doors and it completely changed the look of the room. The vertical lines mimic the shiplap accent wall and make the room feel taller

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

This whole thing can be done in a weekend and the good news is it was less than $100! Now I am just disappointed I didn’t do this sooner! But if I were a betting woman I would put money on these panels making an appearance on the office closet too 😉 Coming soon! 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

Still to come in the next couple weeks for this guest room makeover….

– make a DIY bed frame and headboard
– address the TV wall and make it an accent wall?
– closet interior makeover 
– several small projects like decor and art 

This entire room has come so far but I still have a lot to do and only three more weeks to go before the big reveal! Stay tuned to see how it all unfolds 😉 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

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Don’t forget to stop by the One Room Challenge to check out all the other participants and give them some encouragement. I am sure they are feeling just as stressed as I am right now!

 Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget

This post, DIY Makeover for Sliding Closet Doors on a Budget appeared first on Garrison Street Design Studio.

2 Comments

  1. Love it! We did this to our master bedroom closet doors however the added thickness of the shiplap paneling to the doors is causing us issues with the old sliding door hardware. Our doors are now about 1-3/4″ thick. Any reccomendations on what sliding door hardware to use that has wheels that are 7/8″ OD?

    Thanks!

    1. My doors are 1 5/8 inches wide with the shiplap paneling. I did need to replace the track and the rollers for the doors to fit and they are linked. They also the rollers need to be installed a certain way or they will not fit (see step 9). Hope that helps 😉

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