How to add bead board and moulding to cabinet doors

Bead board kitchen cabinets are a popular choice of cabinet finish that is available at most home and kitchen suppliers. Often this style will be antiqued or distressed to create a modern yet lived-in look designed to increase the sense of comfort, simplicity and warmth in a modern home. Traditionally the bead board was used to cover uneven surfaces and to utilise narrow slats of wood when wider boards were too expensive or hard to acquire. Bead board fits in with a traditional, rustic, cottage or country style.

Wash cabinet doors and drawers with dish soap and water. Scrub off any debris or grease using a nylon bristle brush. Dry the wood immediately with a towel. Remove handles and knobs with a screw driver. Remove the hinges on the cabinet doors. The best style of door for adding moulding and panels has a plain, flat surface.

Measure the outside of the cabinet from side to side. Cut two pieces of 9 mm by 5 cm (3/8 by 2 inch) moulding to this measurement. One piece will fit across the top of the door or drawer, one piece will fit across the bottom.

Measure the outside of the cabinet door or drawer from top to bottom. Subtract 10 cm (4 inches). Cut two pieces of the moulding to this measurement. One piece will fit on each side, between the top and bottom moulding.

Apply glue to the cabinet door or drawer and to the back side of the top and bottom moulding. Align the moulding to the edge of the door or drawer, and clamp the moulding and door together until the glue is dry. Apply glue along the sides, and fit the side mouldings into place. Clamp them in place.

Measure the inside of your frame of mouldings. Cut a piece of 6 mm (1/4 inch) bead board panel to fit inside your mouldings. Apply glue liberally to the front of the cabinet and the back of the bead board panel, and press the panel into place. Wipe off any excess glue. Weigh down the centre panel with something heavy, such as bricks wrepped in newspaper. Allow your door or drawer 24 hours to dry.

Sand the mouldings and sides of the cabinet door or drawer to smooth out the mouldings. If necessary, fill any small holes with wood fill.


This type of cabinet face lift can be finished by priming, painting and antiquing the cabinets. Often an undercoat of green, blue or red is painted on, and then an antique or yellowed white is applied over that coat. Then the cabinets can be antiqued by sanding through the white layer to reveal the undercoat colour to make the cabinets look older.

Things You'll Need

  • White nylon bristle brush
  • Towel
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • 9 mm by 5 cm (3/8 by 2 inch) moulding
  • 6 mm (1/4 inch) bead board
  • Table saw
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Wood clamps
  • Orbital sander
  • Medium and fine sandpaper
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.