Next up in Shut The Front Door DIY week: You've seen two different ways of adding molding to transform flat doors — now Jenna is here with two more gorgeous door updates! Two ways to make a hollow core door into a 5-panel door, one of which will only cost about $12. And we have more to come, so make sure that you've subscribed by RSS or email to get every update! And don't forget to come link up your door-related projects here, plus tell us a knock-knock joke for a chance to win $25!
How to Transform a Hollow Core Door into a Paneled Door
by Jenna from Jenna Sue Design
Hello Remodelaholics! My name is Jenna and I can't wait to share a couple of my favorite projects with you today. I run things over at Jenna Sue Design Co., and when I'm not designing personalized art, most of my free time is spent renovating our dated 1970's home in the Northern California foothills.
We've lived in our home just over a year and have since made some pretty huge progress, but it's the little projects that excite me the most—those “bang for your buck” transformations that make such a difference in your home.
Today I'm sharing how I gave two plain hollow core doors a vintage style upgrade with basic tools & materials and a small budget!
DIY Salvaged Wood Door from a Flat Door
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First up—the DIY salvaged door I transformed for our foyer.
Part of our foyer makeover was figuring out what to do with this closet, and I thought an old salvaged wood door would be the perfect touch.
The existing door was one of those cheap-o hollow core synthetic wood deals… and it was pretty beat up. You can really see the fake wood grain texture here…
If you have one of those old school plain wood doors it would be ideal for this project, assuming you could sand down the stain a bit. Because mine wasn't real wood, unfortunately I couldn't strip & sand the paint off. That left only one option… wood veneer.
I failed miserably my first wood veneer attempt a few months prior, but I was determined to make it work this time!
I bought these 2×8′ sheets (from Amazon) for a total of $70 (this project isn't exactly cheap if you don't have wood doors to start with, just to warn you!)
Fortunately, I only needed veneer in the centers of the door so there was minimal cutting involved. I just trimmed the length with a sharp utility knife (it didn't have to be exact at all since the edges would be covered by wood).
I used a LOT of contact cement to get it to stick. Two solid coats.
And I waited 20 minutes before applying the veneer.
And it worked.
I thought I was going to have to veneer the inside edge, but I started sanding and realized this piece was actually real wood (score!) So I just stripped & sanded the paint off.
After veneering both sides, I brought the door inside of the house to adjust to the climate. On my last attempt, my table had sat in the garage for 2 days and after I brought it inside it was ruined, so the temperature shift definitely had something to do with it. I thought if I brought it inside right away, it would have a chance.
That evening around midnight, I checked on it and was horrified to see that it had started bubbling! Not as bad as my console table, but still… I was so bummed. I smoothed it down as best as I could and called it a night, expecting to see the bubbles come back by morning. But surprisingly… I woke up and it was completely smooth (and almost a year later it's still perfect!)
Not sure what happened there, but I didn't want to take any more chances so I decided to finish this project inside…
Back in the garage, I had plywood strips cut to 4″. I bought a 4×8′ sheet of 1/4″ cabinet grade plywood at Lowe's ($30) and had them cut it for me. I would have done it myself, but the sheet was too big to fit in my car so I let them do it.
Let me tell you… those workers don't care about your project as much as you do, so they're just going to run your board through the cutter as fast as they can and you're going to end up with a lot of crooked pieces.
I only needed about 7-8 boards, so I set aside the straightest ones to use for this project.
I started with one of the vertical pieces that ran along the outside edge where the door handle would be. After cutting the length to size, I traced inside the door hole and used an arbor around the same size to cut it out:
Then I lined it back up on the door and used 1″ finishing nails every several inches to attach my piece (after doing this to three different doors, I can confirm that you can use liquid nails instead if you prefer).
And the first piece was on!
Up went the next one…
Then I measured and cut my horizontal strips. I went with 6 which appears to be standard for old doors.
Then I flipped it over and repeated the process:
And finally, it was time for stain.
I used a blend of Minwax's Dark Walnut combined with touches of Rustoleum's Driftwood and Weathered Gray. There was no real method to this… I just dipped my sponge in and spread it around however I thought looked best. I intended for it to look weathered so I wasn't aiming for perfection.
Then I took some 60 grit sandpaper and roughed it up until I was happy with the results.
Before rehanging it, we had to deal with this door casing. Because I made the door wider, these inside pieces of trim had to be pushed back so the door would latch properly.
We removed the strips…
It was pretty rough looking under there, so I sanded everything down while my husband (Brad) removed the old nails.
Before putting them back on, the door went back on the hinges…
Then I stepped inside the closet with my air compressor and flashlight, shut the door, lined the casing strips back up and nailed them in.
A bit of caulk & paint later, and this project is done!
I love the way it warms up the space.
Here's the view from the entrance to the kitchen:
And there you have it!
This next door makeover is my favorite—quite possibly the easiest and most inexpensive way to add a ton of character to your home.
Click here to go to the next page and see how to make a paneled door from a flat door for just $12!