How to build cupboard doors

Updated February 21, 2017

One of the main focal points in a kitchen is the cupboard doors. They not only conceal what is inside the cupboards, but are uniquely designed to draw attention away from what lies behind them. With a little decorative moulding and a keen eye for detail, a little bit of work is all that stands between you and new cupboard doors.

Measure the door openings and add 2.5 cm (1 inch) in both directions. Set the table saw fence to the height of the doors.

Cut blocks for your cupboard doors. Allow for the blade width when cutting the doors to width. For example, one block is not enough to cut four 30 cm (12 inch) doors. When the table saw fence is set at 30 cm (12 inches), each cut takes about 30.3 cm (12 1/8 inches) out of the 60 cm (48 inch) wide block. Do not set the table saw blade any higher than necessary to make the cut.

Create a full overlay door that is 2.5 cm (1 inch) larger than its corresponding opening. Wrap the raw edge of the door's perimeter with iron-on, edge-band veneer strips and a hot iron. Allow plenty of time for the adhesive on the back of the edge band to activate and adhere to the edge of the door. Remove excess veneer with a sanding block.

Measure in from the edge of the door to the desired location for the decorative mould and mark the doors. Choose the moulding carefully; it must be a good fit for the smallest door as well as the largest. For example, if the smallest door is less than 25 cm (10 inches) wide, choose a mould that will look just as good on the largest door.

Place the framing square on the marks from Step 4 and draw lines lightly around the door to outline the frame of the mould. Cut the longest pieces first, followed by the shorter pieces. Apply glue to the back of the mould and secure it to the face of the door with the pin nailer. Clean up excess glue immediately with a damp cloth. Repeat this process for all the doors.

Apply painters caulk where the moulding meets the door if you are going to paint the doors. If not, fill the seams with wood putty and sand them after it dries. Apply finish before installing the hinges.


Take your time when measuring the decorative mould; bad cuts can be costly. Sand the wood putty with fine sandpaper to prevent scratching.


Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children. Do not raise the blade of the table saw any higher than needed to make the cut. Do not paint or stain doors without proper ventilation.

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) plywood
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch), iron-on veneer edge band
  • Iron
  • Sanding block
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Decorative mould
  • Framing square
  • Electric mitre saw
  • Wood glue
  • Pin nailer
  • Painter's caulk
  • Wood putty
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About the Author

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.