How to make a Sliding Barn door was hands down the most requested tutorial from The Epic Room Makeover 2012, which I was SUPER excited about, cause it is one of my favorite projects too….
DIY Sliding Doors are fantastic. They can also be very not thrifty depending on the hardware that you use to hang them. But guess what? They don’t need to be expensive. Kelsey’s was done for under $75 my friends. How do you feel about that?
There are a few measurements you need to get right off the bat. You need the length of the pipe for the door to slide on (make sure you give it enough room to open!) and you need the width of your door opening.
Now that you have your measurements, you need a door. Measure the space you need to fill and add at least a 2” overhang to each side. We ended up at Restore and played Let’s Make A Deal with Randy, the Restore employee. I wish I could say he loved us like everyone else we had video taped that weekend, but notsomuch. Which is weird. Cause we are PRETTY dang loveable.
This is the door I fell in love with. It was solid wood and it may or may not have been covered in bird poop and feathers. We got it for $40.
Here is the problem. Though we THOUROUGHLY measured the door opening when we found this great door we were so excited that we accidentally forgot to measure the door. Whoopsie. But we totally fixed it, so its fine. (I know I had you worried for a second.)
The first item of business was to cut the length of the door down 6”. (The door was 8’ and so was the opening, we needed to make room for the casters and eyehooks.) You can determine the amount you may or may not need to cut the door down by adding the height of the casters, eyehooks, and where on the wall it will be mounted.
Did you know that if you have something huge like this door to cut that you can take it over to Lowes and they will cut it for you? Even if you didn’t buy it from them! Originally I was all for jigging it out, but to get a perfect line in about 2 minutes is a MUCH better option.
Once the door arrived back at Kelsey’s we needed to expand the width (remember the whole not measuring at the store thing? We used 2×2 premium pine slats to do this. (Premium means that they are not as warped. They are a little bit more expensive than the cheap pine but totally necessary in this type of project.)
Start by drilling your pilot holes through the 2x2s and into the door. If you don’t there is a great chance that the solid door will stop your screw in its tracks, and/or strip it. Strip it good. You will need screws that are long enough to get a good grip in your door. We used 2 1/2” wood screws.
When its time to attach your casters and eyehooks the biggest thing that you need to remember is that they need to be PERFECTLY centered/even especially the eyehooks.
I would recommend getting stationary casters that don’t swivel, we did not get them and its fine but when I do this project in Ivie’s room I will for sure be doing that. You will pre-drill your pilot holes and screw them on! We used metal casters from Lowes. If I remember right they were around $4 each.
We used the largest eyehook that Lowes had for the guides on the top of the door. If I were to do it over again, I would use larger hooks (you can probably find them at a specialty store) or a thinner piece of pipe. Though it will slide there is room for play, so if you eye hooks arent perfectly centered on each other then it will rub.
This is where we took a sleeping break.
And now its morning! Oh the power of the internet.
Use wood filler to fill your gaps. I would not use regular wall spackle especially if your door has a clear coat on it. It wont adhere the way that it needs to and will probably crack. So wood filler. Got it?
When its completely dry its time to sand.
Make sure that you are wearing a mask when you are sanding wood putty, because it is a lot harder than spackle you will be sanding a lot longer. Therefore breathing it in longer. And no one wants a black lung from wood putty. Just to be safe, next time you are at Lowes grab a pack of 3M masks for $5. They are SO important to have on hand.
Isnt Jilly cute?
Once your surface is smooth and gap free (hooray!!) its time to paint! Don’t forget to put your ScotchBlue down to get perfect edges and protect the parts you don’t want painted!
To get our bright blue edge I bought a sample pot from Lowes in a great cobalt color and used this technique.
Now lets get into the pipe aspect of the door. There are 2 types of conduit pipe that they sell at Lowes. They have electrical conduit and pluming conduit. You want the electrical. Its cheaper. Go into the store with the measurements that you need for the handle and for the length of the sliding rod. They will cut and thread the pipe for you for free, then all you have to do is screw it together!
To make your handle and your sliding rod you will need (4) floor flanges, (2) Connecting Nipples, (2) 1” Connecting Nipples, (4) 90 degree elbows, and the pieces of electrical conduit pipe in your preferred length. The pipe we used was 3/4”.
To make the rod that the door slides on you use the exact same set up and the handle pictured above. The only difference is that you use a 1” connector nipple between the flange and the elbow (it will give you a little more length from the wall.)
When you are mounting your flanges to the wall, do everything you can to get it into a stud. It will make it MUCH more secure. This door is heavy and you need to be safe.
Put the door on the pipe and determine where it needs to attach to the wall. (You obviously determined this before you had the door cut down but do a dry run before you start screwing things to the wall.)
Attach your first flange to your studs with the pipe on it. The put your door on.
Screw your other elbow flange combo on and mount it to the studs on the other end. You need to remember that the door is not hanging from the rod/eyehooks. They are simply a guide. All of the weight of the door should be on the casters at the bottom. If you have hardwood/tile it will glide MUCH easier than if you have carpet like Kels.
Pretty simple right?!
You may notice in the picture above the gaping hole in the door from its previous function as an actual door. Stupid previous function. When we were attaching the handle we had one of those “Shoot me now. No really, just do it.” moments. The plan was to cover the hole that was made for the door knob with our handle (the floor flange fits perfectly!) so that’s just what we did. Then we realized because we used the best side of the door for the front, we made it so that the handle was on the wrong side. Balls. This is where ingenuity and the DIY spirit comes in. We moved the handle to the other side and covered that entire center piece with a few scrap pieces of wood. Bam. Problem solved, character added, happy Mandi.
Can you believe what an easy project this is?
HUGE thank you to Lowes for sponsoring this project!
Make sure you check out the other posts in the Epic Room Makeover Giveaway 2012 series:
Love Your Guts, Mandi