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DIY Dutch Door

  • August 29, 2016


I’ve wanted an interior dutch door in my home for a long time, but it was a pretty low priority as far as “need” goes. As a result, it has remained in “project no-man’s land”; never really having a chance, but never really going away either. Turns out, all I needed was a new baby!

After having a surprise baby last spring, we needed a bedroom for said baby- which gave me the perfect excuse to build that dutch door. (It’s just a fancy baby gate, right?)

Instead of buying lumber to build this baby gate/dutch door, I needed to sacrifice something. Hmm… something that I already had on hand. Something I could literally, cut. in. half. (I’m looking at you, 1983 hollow core door.)

The finished project ended up even nicer than I’d hoped, and the featherweight hollow door is absolutely ideal in my particular situation.

***Older doors like the one I upcycled here, have personalities of their own. It’s a good idea to re-hang the door(s) multiple times as you go, to check for clearance and fit.

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  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      Measure your existing door and decide the height you want the bottom half to be. (My door was 79.75”.) I used painter’s tape to help me visualize, and settled on a height of 40.25”. (The 1” thick shelf that I added later, brought the overall height of the bottom door to 41.25”.)

    2. Step: 2

      Next, (before taking the door down) measure and mark where you want the new hinges to be on the door AND on the door jamb. This will ensure that things will line up. Before cutting the door in half, I used my router and the Ryobi door hinge template to route out the new hinges that I had marked. (The template made this step about the easiest thing I’ve ever done.)

    3. Step: 3

      Clamp a board or other straight edge to the door to use as a guide for a circular or jig saw. Make sure to secure both halves of the door to prevent them from shifting or falling while you make the cut. You’ll need to remove a section from the middle of the door, if you are adding a shelf like I did. (Meaning, you’ll need to make two cuts.) I removed an inch in order to use a one inch section of wood I had been saving for the shelf.

    4. Step: 4

      Next, measure the inside of the door halves and stabilize with a few pieces of scrap wood. Glue and nail the scrap pieces from both sides (front and back of door), spacing them out equally. I used three pieces of scrap on each half-door. The scrap pieces will help stabilize the center of the hollow door and give you something to secure the shelf to.

    5. Step: 5

      Measure, cut, and attach your shelf using a smaller strip to brace the underside/front. Add trim if desired, and caulk seams.

    6. Step: 6

      Next, prepare your door jamb to accommodate any new hinges you already added to the door. Using the markings you made while the door was still hanging, chisel out a section for the new hinge(s) in the jamb. (I was not very aggressive with my hammer/chisel action, so it took me at least 30 minutes notch out the spaces for two hinges. I think I drove everyone in the house, nuts with all the hesitant “tapping” on the chisel.) Ha. Chisels.

    7. Step: 7

      Remove a section of the door stop if your shelf is robust like mine.

    8. Step: 8

      At this point, it’s a good idea to hang both door halves and check the spacing. I had to smooth out the bottom of the upper door to get perfect clearance. I also temporarily installed the doorknob while the door was up to make sure it would function smoothly.

    9. Step: 9

      I used my electric planer to shave down some edges that had always stuck in the door jamb when opening/closing the door. (Why on earth didn’t I do THAT a long time ago?…)

    10. Step: 10

      Once you’ve checked for straight/smooth lines, remove the top half door and secure a thin strip of wood along the bottom edge. (Glue and nail the strip into the pieces of scrap wood you installed earlier to stabilize.)

    11. Step: 11

      Add another strip along the back if desired.

    12. Step: 12

      Prep, paint, and install your new dutch door when dry. Also install any additional hardware such as a latch or surface bolt for those times you want to keep the half doors secured together. And there you go. Not too bad for an old hollow core door. I will also be looking into installing some kind of safety feature doohickey to the top/rear of the upper half. I want to be able to secure it to the wall when I’m only using the bottom half of the door. (…because nobody wants to be caught in the middle of a dutch door scissor kick.) Thanks for reading!

Comments (10)



  • Brilliant, charming, beautiful, useful and completely creative! :) Love it!!! ~ Christina in FL
    By queenopearls_117536, on September 2, 2016

  • I love this for a baby's room!! It looks GREAT!!!
    By Terlis1221, on September 16, 2016

  • Great Job! I think I may do this for my cellar way. It can act as a gate for my dog, for when I have company over.
    By fEzZ, on September 18, 2016


  • Such a clever idea! I'll be checking out more of your projects!!
    By superreader, on September 27, 2016


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DIY Dutch Door

by My Altered State
Aug 29, 2016

I’ve wanted an interior dutch door in my home for a long time, but it was a pretty low priority as far as “need” goes. As a result, it has remained in “project no-man’s land”; never really having a chance, but never really going away either. Turns out, all I needed was a new baby! After having a surprise baby last spring, we needed a bedroom for said baby- which gave me the perfect excuse to build that dutch door. (It’s just a fancy baby gate, right?) Instead of buying lumber to build this baby gate/dutch door, I needed to sacrifice something. Hmm… something that I already had on hand. Something I could literally, cut. in. half. (I’m looking at you, 1983 hollow core door.) The finished project ended up even nicer than I’d hoped, and the featherweight hollow door is absolutely ideal in my particular situation. ***Older doors like the one I upcycled here, have personalities of their own. It’s a good idea to re-hang the door(s) multiple times as you go, to check for clearance and fit.

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1

    Measure your existing door and decide the height you want the bottom half to be. (My door was 79.75”.) I used painter’s tape to help me visualize, and settled on a height of 40.25”. (The 1” thick shelf that I added later, brought the overall height of the bottom door to 41.25”.)

  2. Step: 2

    Next, (before taking the door down) measure and mark where you want the new hinges to be on the door AND on the door jamb. This will ensure that things will line up. Before cutting the door in half, I used my router and the Ryobi door hinge template to route out the new hinges that I had marked. (The template made this step about the easiest thing I’ve ever done.)

  3. Step: 3

    Clamp a board or other straight edge to the door to use as a guide for a circular or jig saw. Make sure to secure both halves of the door to prevent them from shifting or falling while you make the cut. You’ll need to remove a section from the middle of the door, if you are adding a shelf like I did. (Meaning, you’ll need to make two cuts.) I removed an inch in order to use a one inch section of wood I had been saving for the shelf.

  4. Step: 4

    Next, measure the inside of the door halves and stabilize with a few pieces of scrap wood. Glue and nail the scrap pieces from both sides (front and back of door), spacing them out equally. I used three pieces of scrap on each half-door. The scrap pieces will help stabilize the center of the hollow door and give you something to secure the shelf to.

  5. Step: 5

    Measure, cut, and attach your shelf using a smaller strip to brace the underside/front. Add trim if desired, and caulk seams.

  6. Step: 6

    Next, prepare your door jamb to accommodate any new hinges you already added to the door. Using the markings you made while the door was still hanging, chisel out a section for the new hinge(s) in the jamb. (I was not very aggressive with my hammer/chisel action, so it took me at least 30 minutes notch out the spaces for two hinges. I think I drove everyone in the house, nuts with all the hesitant “tapping” on the chisel.) Ha. Chisels.

  7. Step: 7

    Remove a section of the door stop if your shelf is robust like mine.

  8. Step: 8

    At this point, it’s a good idea to hang both door halves and check the spacing. I had to smooth out the bottom of the upper door to get perfect clearance. I also temporarily installed the doorknob while the door was up to make sure it would function smoothly.

  9. Step: 9

    I used my electric planer to shave down some edges that had always stuck in the door jamb when opening/closing the door. (Why on earth didn’t I do THAT a long time ago?…)

  10. Step: 10

    Once you’ve checked for straight/smooth lines, remove the top half door and secure a thin strip of wood along the bottom edge. (Glue and nail the strip into the pieces of scrap wood you installed earlier to stabilize.)

  11. Step: 11

    Add another strip along the back if desired.

  12. Step: 12

    Prep, paint, and install your new dutch door when dry. Also install any additional hardware such as a latch or surface bolt for those times you want to keep the half doors secured together. And there you go. Not too bad for an old hollow core door. I will also be looking into installing some kind of safety feature doohickey to the top/rear of the upper half. I want to be able to secure it to the wall when I’m only using the bottom half of the door. (…because nobody wants to be caught in the middle of a dutch door scissor kick.) Thanks for reading!