DIY Screen Door Tutorial

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for #diyscreendoor #diydoor

Hello Remodelaholics!  I am Tasha and I blog over at Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body.  You may remember my first contributor post about how to transform an outdated, cultured marble vanity with concrete and my second post about how I painted and stenciled our damaged kitchen floors for a fresh new look.  Well, I am back again this month to share another DIY tutorial with you!

My blog focuses on thrifty DIY projects, easy crafts and happy household tips.  And sometimes I tackle a DIY project because I have no other choice.  The project I am sharing with you today is one of those projects.  You see, my husband and I wanted a high quality, stylish screen door for our contemporary home and we just could not find one that met our needs.  If we found one that we liked the look of, it was too flimsy.  And if it was sturdy, it was ugly.  So, we decided to make our own and we just love how it turned out.

Our quest for a new screen door started when we began sprucing up the front entry to our house.  Currently, our front porch is very dreary and run down.  It’s not hard to find inspiration for the look we want to achieve. We love the ideas shared in Top 10 Ideas for a Welcoming Porch and Home Sweet Home on a Budget: Porches Patios and Entryways.  So, we decided to get to work and our DIY screen door was the first project we tackled.

This is a project of intermediate difficulty and requires that you have some basic knowledge of woodworking terms and cuts.  But, if you have some basic DIY projects under your belt already, I am confident you can tackle this one.DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

How to Build a DIY Screen Door

Materials and Tools We Used:

  • (3) 2x6x8 {that means a 2×6 that is 8 feet long}
  • (1) 2x8x8
  • Screening
  • Screen molding
  • Wood putty or spackle
  • Sandpaper
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Table saw
  • Circular saw
  • Router {if rounded edges are desired}
  • Kreg Jig and screws
  • Kreg wood plugs
  • Utility Knife


1) First, rip 1/4 of an inch from the edges of all of your wood down using your table saw.  This is just to ensure that you have perfectly square and flat edges to work with.

2) Cut your wood pieces to length with a circular saw or miter saw.  Your dimensions will depend upon the dimensions of the doorway you are using the screen door in.  Our door was 35 1/4 x 80 3/4, which is pretty standard.  Below you can see a diagram of the door {NOT to scale}, which shows where we used the various sizes of wood.  In parentheses, I note the cut lengths.  The red lines mark where the wood pieces join together, so as you will see, all the cuts are straight.

* In order to reduce cut waste, after cutting our 24 3/4 inch length of 2 x 8 for the bottom of the door, we ripped the remaining 2 x 8 to the same width as the 2 x 6 pieces.  

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

3) After all of your pieces are cut, use your Kreg jig to join your pieces together.  Assemble the outer frame of the door first.  Once your outer frame is assembled, we recommend that you hold it up in the door frame to make sure that it fits.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

Ours was about a quarter inch too long, so we simply trimmed some off the bottom.  Since we were simply replacing an existing screen door, we also took this time to mark where the hinges needed to be attached.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

4) Once the frame is assembled, use your Kreg jig to attach the horizontal pieces to the door frame.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

5) We then used a small router bit to slightly round all the outer edges of the front of the door.   This is optional.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

6) Use wood putty or spackle to fill in any gaps between the joints.  Then use your Kreg wood plugs to fill the holes left by your screws.  After everything is dry, sand it down until it is smooth.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

7) Next, you will need to rabbet out a groove with your router on the back side of the door for the screening to attach to.  We use a 3/8 inch routing bit for to make our rabbet 1/2 inch deep.  However, if we had it to do over again, we would have routed it out to a depth of 1/4 inch so that we could use ready-made 1/4 x 3/4 inch screen molding that is sold at home improvement stores and could have skipped making our own.  We would highly recommend that you rabbet out a 1/4 inch depth to save yourselves some time.  Bear in mind that you will need to use a chisel to square the corners up after you route out the rabbet area.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

8)  Paint the front side of the door.  It’s easier to do this now so you don’t have to worry about the screening while you paint it.  We waited to paint the back of the door until after we attached the screen molding, as described in step 10.

9) Now you are ready to attach your screening to the back side of the door.  Simply lay your screening out on the area to be screened and attach it with your staple gun in the rabbet grove.  You want to pull the screen taut, but not too tight, or it may rip.  It’s best to have two people for this part of the project.  After you staple it in place, trim off the excess with a utility knife.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

10) After your screening is attached, you are ready to cut and attach the trim pieces to cover the ugly staples in the screening.  We made our own trim pieces to fit the area, but see my comments in step 7.  We aren’t going to even tell you how to do this because it’s not worth the extra work–trust us!  You should purchase ready-made screen molding at your home improvement store.  It is generally 1/4 x 3/4 inch and should work perfectly.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

11) Once your trim is attached, you are ready to paint the back side of the door.  Be sure to tape off your screening with painter’s tape, so that you do not inadvertently get paint on it.

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

12) Next, attach your door handle and address numbers, if desired.  We used a door knob installation kit that we already had–it makes installation so simple!

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

13) Now, you are ready to hang your screen door and admire your work!

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor

Time and Cost Involved:

We LOVE how our DIY screen door turned out.  This is not one of those DIY projects that I can tell you saved us a ton of money or time.  But we got EXACTLY what we wanted and this screen door is far superior quality to those screen doors that you can purchase for $75 to $100.  The lumber cost us around $32.00 and the screening cost $10.00.  The door knob/handle cost $35.00 and the address numbers cost $9.00, but you would need to purchase those for an off-the-shelf door, too, so that’s kind of a wash.  So, we did save some money–around $30 to $50–on the door itself.  We used leftover paint to paint it, so we did not have to buy paint, which helped.

It’s very difficult to estimate how much time this took us to build, because we were only able to work on it 30 minutes here and there {our twin girls came down with fevers the week we were working on it, so life was even busier than usual, LOL!}, but I would say it took around 5 hours to build it {excluding during time for the paint and spackle}.  Well worth it to get precisely the door we wanted!

I would love for you to head over to my blog, Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body, to explore some of our other thrifty renovation projects, like how we totally transformed our kitchen for less than $700, which features the DIY painted and stenciled kitchen floors that you saw in my last contributor post and our AWESOME DIY pipe table that we made for a fraction of the cost of the West Elm inspiration version.  You may also want to see our thrifty bathroom makeover, which includes the DIY concrete vanity that you saw in my first contributor post and a fabulous DIY industrial light fixture.  I hope to see you over in my corner of blog land soon!

Want to refer back to this later?  Pin it!

DIY Screen Door tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body for  #diyscreendoor #diydoor


A great door makes such a difference, whether it’s for an entry door or an interior door. I painted my doors black in my last house, and a dark gray in this house and I love the drama that it brings the room — but you could also try red or yellow or any color!

We added a barn style dutch door (baby gate!) that we love:

barn door inspired dutch door with baby gate, Remodelaholic

or you can also build a screen door for a pantry like this:

pantry screen door how-to

or try one of these DIY door ideas to give your home some extra character!

25+ Great DIY Door Ideas Remodelaholic #doors #DIY #decorating

Website | + posts

Hi! I'm Tasha author and creator of Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body, where I blog about thrifty DIY home renovations, simple crafts and tips for a happy household. Join me as my firefighter husband, 3 1/2 year old twin girls and I renovate our outdated home one room at a time. We are living proof that you can create your dream home on a budget even when you lead very busy lives!

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  1. Thank you for this tutorial. We need a new screen door and it looks like this will be one of our spring projects next year!

    1. I used metal screen in mine. It’s the outside main door that is in the kitchen, and we made to “2-sided” to make it more study. Basically made the door twice and put the screen between the doors like a sandwich.
      I had a problem with the wood expanding with the humidity, but I live in Minnesota and that’s my fault for not accounting for that. Plus my house isn’t super square as it is. The size of the door hole was 31-ish by 78-ish, which is why we made the door, verse buying one.
      I painted mine purple, and I love it! It’s nice to get a breeze through the house.

  2. Since this is an exterior door did you have to use pressure treated wood? If not, aren’t you concerned with the wood rotting away after a certain time?

    1. Hi Jim! No, we did not use pressure treated wood. Our front door is fairly well protected from the elements and if we maintain the paint job, we are not worried about rot.

  3. Hi Tasha,

    How did you attach the screen molding? Did you use tiny screws so you can replace the screen if needed, or did you staple or nail it to the door pieces?


  4. Thank you for a wonderful plan. We have also spent way too much time “shopping” for a door that evidently does not exist!! You have shown us the plan for an excellent, durable door in the exact style we were searching. We have front and back doors that almost align – creating a terrific wind flow during the spring and fall. This is an easy project that will provide lots of protection from bugs and backyard garden chickens!!! I am off to your blog to learn more….

  5. Tasha, great design and using Kreg to assemble. I bought a Kreg set but had no chance to use it and now I do. One question was why you used a 2×6 instead of 5/4 x 6. Isn’t the 1 1/2″ thickness beyond what normally is used for screen door? Thanks, Steve

    1. Hi Steve–thank you! We chose that thickness because it was the same thickness as the storm door that we were replacing so we were able to use the existing door jamb. I hope that helps!

  6. I was sure someone would ask in the comments what that gorgeous blue gray paint color is…?
    This is a seriously awesome tutorial, and making your own doors could save SO much $$!!!
    I am seriously considering this DIY! except my guys got me a router for Christmas and I exchanged it for a Kreg set (which I didn’t have either) because I thought the learning curve for using the router would take time, and the Kreg I could use a TON right away? So, guess I will wait for my b-day and ask for a router, LOL!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much Julie! The paint color is Phillipsburg Blue by Benjamin Moore. It’s one of my favorites 🙂 You will LOVE your Kreg jig!

  7. I don’t see instructions re: how much smaller to make the door than the frame? is 1/4″ smaller enough clearance for opening and closing? We’re making a screen-door style door for a home-made greenhouse in our back-yard.