DIY Sliding Barn Door on a budget

DIY Sliding Barn Door on a Budget

One of the first things most people say when they walk into our house for the first time is “WHERE did you get that door?”

Let me take you back two years ago to when we moved into our current home, gutted it and began the process of piecing it back together ourselves. During demo day, pretty much everything in the main living areas and kitchen were ripped out – flooring, doors, baseboards, cabinets, appliances, even walls.

We have a double entryway closet right behind the front door, which holds all of our coats, gloves, shoes, backpacks etc. The closet had old-fashioned accordion doors – very impractical, since you couldn’t really open the front door and have the closet doors open at the same time.

Which means a lot of opening and closing. With two little boys. All day long. And they were half broken to begin with.

So, yeah, the doors were one of the first things to go.

A sliding door was really the perfect solution for closing off the side of the closet that has all of our coats and shoes and basically looks like a trash heap most of the time. We’ve had it for a year now and it’s working out wonderfully.


DIY Sliding Barn Door on a Budget

First – let me preface this by saying my dad built this door, and wrote the instructions for this post. So, other than coming up with the design for the door, I take zero percent credit.

Okay, moving on.

Materials and Supplies

Shiplap Wood Pieces – 5″ wide (you can find these at Home Depot), or Tongue-and-Groove Wood Pieces

3″ Strips of Wood for Stabilizing

4 1/2″ x 3/4″ Wood for Front Side Trim (we used 1×6’s ripped lengthwise to size)

Construction Adhesive and Caulk Gun

C Clamps or Spring Loaded Clamps

Metal Right Angle Ruler

Circular Saw

Sliding Door Rails and Hardware – THIS is the one we have and we LOVE it. I don’t know why people spend hundreds of dollars on sliding door hardware!

Door Handle (Found mine at Hobby Lobby and spray painted it black)

Plastic Floor Guide

Paint, if desired, and Antiquing Wax


How to Build Your Barn Door

Step One

Determine the dimensions needed for your sliding door and cut shiplap pieces to height. Make sure you account for any trim you want the door to cover.

Step Two

Lay out shiplap pieces side-by-side and upside-down on top of saw horses or a work table to form a rectangle – this will be the base door. The pieces should be overlapping and face down at this point.

Use a metal right angle to get the four corners to a 90 degree angle. This was the hardest step, because shiplap pieces usually aren’t cut perfectly straight.

Step Three

Once the shiplap pieces are squared up, cut three thin 3″ strips of wood the same width as your base door, and screw into the top, middle and bottom of the back of the door (see photo). This will help to stabilize the shiplap pieces so they don’t wobble.


Be careful to keep the corners at right angles during this step.

Step Four

Carefully flip the door over to face up. At this point, it won’t be very sturdy and that’s okay.

Step Five

Make your trim using the circular saw. We used 4 1/2″ x 3/4″ wood pieces to create the trim on the door. We added a border around the edge and across the middle of the door width-wise. We also added an “X” on the bottom to give it a barn door look.

Step Six

Glue the four outside borders on the door using the construction adhesive, again making sure all four corners are at right angles. Clamp the corners down using c-clamps or spring loaded clamps and leave overnight. The next day, glue and clamp the middle piece and bottom X pieces and let sit overnight. At this point the door will be sturdy.


Step Seven

Paint door and let dry 48 hours. Apply antiquing wax and let dry.

Step Eight

Add handle and rail brackets to door, and install the rail to your door frame according to the rail’s instructions. At this point we also added a right angle plastic guide rail (similar to what’s used on sliding closet doors) to the floor in both the back and front of the door to keep the door from swaying during use. I’m so glad we added this piece!

sliding barn door DIY
Just ignore the dirty floor

Step Nine

Hang your door and admire your work!


Please let me know if you decide to try this tutorial and any troubleshooting questions you may have!





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